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Tag Archive: side dishes

Mango + Cucumber Salsa

May 20, 2015 Print this page

Fresh, simple, and sweet, this salsa makes for a fabulous summer accompaniment to anything grilled or simply on its own. Feel free to substitute basil or cilantro for the mint and lemon or orange juice for the lime.

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time
Total Time 5 min
Yield 6-8 servings

2 mangoes, fully ripe

1 small cucumber or 1/2 of a large cucumber

A handful of mint leaves, finely minced

The juice of 2 limes (about 3-4 tablespoons)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Peel, slice, and dice the mangoes into 1/2-inch cubes. Peel and de-seed the cucumber and dice it about the same size as the mango.

Mix the mango and cucumber in a bowl with the mint leaves, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Stir together and taste, then add more lime juice, salt, or pepper if necessary. For best results, let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before eating.


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Vegan Ricotta Cheese

July 7, 2014 Print this page

Creamy yet still maintaining some good texture, this vegan ricotta cheese is a delicious compliment to any Italian dish you make. It also tastes great on top of crackers for an afternoon snack! Inspired by this recipe.

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min (plus soaking overnight)
Cooking Time
Total Time 5 min
Yield Approximately 2 cups

1 3/4 cups of raw cashews, soaked overnight

1/2 cup of water

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

Directions

In the bowl of a food processor, blend the cashews with the water, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and salt. Pulse until everything is well-blended but NOT smooth, about 1 minute. It should be the texture of “real” ricotta cheese and there should be no big pieces of cashew. (That’s just gross.) 

Set aside until ready to use.


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Tostones (Crispy Plantain Chips)

March 31, 2014 Print this page

Plantains are completely under-appreciated in this country, and I think it’s time for a change. They may not be as gooey and sweet as their coveted yellow cousins, but with a little love, plantains are magical in their own special way.

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 15 min
Total Time 30 min
Yield 3-4 servings as a side dish

3 large green plantains

Coconut oil, for frying (or other heat-stable oil)

Salt

Freshly-squeezed lime juice

Directions

Using a small, sharp knife, cut slits all of the way down each plantain, taking care to NOT cut through the plantain’s flesh. Peel the slices of skin off of the plantain to reveal the starchy yellow interior.

Cut each plantain on the diagonal to make about 3/4-inch slices.

Meanwhile, heat enough coconut oil (or other heat-stable oil) to cover the bottom of a cast iron skillet with about 1/2-inch of oil. (When you put the plantain slices in, the oil should come up about half of the way up the side.) Once the oil sizzles, add in 1/3 of the plantain slices, and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned on the side facing down.

Flip the plantains over to the other side and cook for another 2 minutes, or until lightly browned on that side, too.

Remove the plantain slices from the oil to a thick layer of paper towels and repeat the same procedure with the rest of the plantains. You should have two more batches to go.

They may look tasty enough to eat at this point, but I wouldn’t recommend it! They’ll still be super tough on the inside and not very appetizing.

Now for the fun part. Rip off two large pieces of wax paper and put one slice of plantain between the two. Using a mallet (or your hand), squish the plantain as much as possible until it’s very thin, but thick enough that it’ll hold together. Peel the wax paper away and set the squished plantain slice aside; repeat with the rest of the plantains.

Reheat the oil until it sizzles, then add 1/4 of the plantain slices back into the oil. Cook until brown on one side (only about a minute), then flip over to the other side and fry again until brown. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with the rest of the squished plantain slices.

Immediately season the hot plantains with salt and freshly-squeezed lime juice. Serve right away for optimal crispiness!


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Tostones (Crispy Plantain Chips) (gluten-free, vegan)

March 31, 2014 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Plantains are completely under-appreciated in this country, and I think it’s time for a change. They may not be as gooey and sweet as their coveted yellow cousins, but with a little love, plantains are magical in their own special way.

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In my Oven-Fried Chicken post, I talked about some of the reasons why I don’t like frying. In this recipe, however, I do.

Why?

Because of their starchiness (and absence of fat), plantains don’t splatter and spew as soon as they hit the pan. They always brown beautifully and don’t need cups and cups of oil, and best of all, they come out salty, crispy, and absolutely satisfying every. Time.

That’s if you fry them twice, of course.

What?!

The trick to Tostones–a classic Latin American and Caribbean side dish–is to fry the plantains not once, but TWICE. In between the two rounds of frying, you pound the still-warm plantains with a mallet (or your hands) so they become big and flat, then back into the oil they go for a final crunchy finish.

If you’re nervous about all of the oil you’re using, don’t worry! By using coconut oil–which has a high smoke point–you avoid the high Omega-6 content of the traditional seed oils for frying. The plantains also won’t absorb all of the oil: using three long green plantains, I still had well over half a cup left. In any case, these are a special treat…and I guarantee there will be no leftovers after you put these on the table.

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Are you ready to make these insanely-awesome bites of heaven? I sure am! You’ll only need four ingredients to get started.

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Using a small, sharp knife, cut slits all of the way down each plantain, taking care to NOT cut through the plantain’s flesh. Peel the slices of skin off of the plantain to reveal the starchy yellow interior.

005

Cut each plantain on the diagonal to make about 3/4-inch slices.

010

Meanwhile, heat enough coconut oil (or other heat-stable oil) to cover the bottom of a cast iron skillet with about 1/2-inch of oil. (When you put the plantain slices in, the oil should come up about half of the way up the side.) Once the oil sizzles, add in 1/3 of the plantain slices, and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned on the side facing down.

011

Flip the plantains over to the other side and cook for another 2 minutes, or until lightly browned on that side, too.

Remove the plantain slices from the oil to a thick layer of paper towels and repeat the same procedure with the rest of the plantains. You should have two more batches to go.

017

They may look tasty enough to eat at this point, but I wouldn’t recommend it! They’ll still be super tough on the inside and not very appetizing.

Now for the fun part. Rip off two large pieces of wax paper and put one slice of plantain between the two. Using a mallet (or your hand), squish the plantain as much as possible until it’s very thin, but thick enough that it’ll hold together. Peel the wax paper away and set the squished plantain slice aside; repeat with the rest of the plantains.

Reheat the oil until it sizzles, then add 1/4 of the plantain slices back into the oil. Cook until brown on one side (only about a minute), then flip over to the other side and fry again until brown. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with the rest of the squished plantain slices.

Immediately season the hot plantains with salt and freshly-squeezed lime juice. Serve right away for optimal crispiness!

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What is your favorite kind of chip? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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French Fries

March 22, 2014 Print this page

Want crispy-yet-tender French fries without wasting a ton of oil? These oven fries are your dream-come-true!

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 25 min
Total Time 40 min
Yield 4 servings

2 tablespoons of olive oil or other cooking fat, divided

1-2 lb potatoes (preferably Yukon Gold)

Salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and grease two large baking sheets with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or other cooking fat) each. Set aside.

You are first going to need…potatoes! I got mine at the farmers’ market, so I don’t remember what variety they were. If you’re shopping at the supermarket, I’d recommend Yukon Gold over Russet for a final product with a bit more personality.

Make sure you wash your potatoes and scrub ‘em well. Dry them off with a dish towel or paper towels, then slice them into medium-sized matchsticks, or use your 16 cup food processor’s convenient French fry blade.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of cold water to a boil. Once it vigorously bubbles, add in the French fries and reduce the heat slightly so the water just slightly bubbles. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost tender to the touch.

Carefully drain the French fries into a colander, then give them a quick rinse in cold water to wash off some of the accumulated starch and stop the cooking process. Dry the fries off well with some paper towels.

Once no longer wet, divide the fries evenly between the two baking sheets and sprinkle vigorously with salt. Toss a few times to cook, then bake until golden brown and soft in the center, about 20 to 25 minutes. Shake the pan every 5 to 10 minutes to prevent sticking and ensure even browning.

Serve immediately with some homemade mayonnaise on the side, or dip into your favorite sauce or broth to have a delicious bite of flavor-infused potato.


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