I’m planning my menu for my book launch, which has a Cuban theme because The Beggar’s Opera is set in Cuba. (Check out the book trailer –Penguin did an amazing job!)
I decided to try making fried plantain — or tostones — tonight, because plaintains are (a) inexpensive and (b) exotic. The way to cook tostones is to peel and slice green plantains (ones that look totally raw and inedible ) into rounds. You fry them until they’re brown, remove them and bash them to get the starch freed up (they flatten out like crackers), and refry them again briefly.
I put a dollop of cream cheese in the centre (a mild goat cheese or really thick Greek yoghurt would work just as well) and a dab of hot red pepper jelly on top. And were they ever good! (The little Penguin plates were on sale at Homesense last year; couldn’t resist– with Penguin Canada my publisher!)
The second recipe I tried was for Cuban picadillo.
This is a typical Cuban dish made from ground beef (or texturized soy more often these days, because of the chronic shortages). It has some unusual ingredients in it as well as onions and tomato paste — olives, capers and raisins!
And wow, is it ever good! The raisins and the capers add a sweet-salty taste that’s hard to describe. Definitely bringing a big batch of this to the launch. Not sure what I’ll try next but I can tell you this — I’m having as much fun planning this launch as I’ll have being there!