Fried Plantains: Sweet and Salty

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This time last year: Pudding Pops (2012)

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There was this perfect little Cuban restaurant just down the street from my apartment in Richmond.

I would run by it early in the morning and smell the freshly brewed Café con Leche. My friends and I would roll into it late at night- snag a booth and split some fresh warm cornbread, a beer, and fried plantains. It was perfect.

It was there, in that tiny neighborhood corner restaurant that I learned to love fried plantains.

I have had the privilege of enjoying fried plantains prior to that Cuban restaurant, however it was the many nights in those warm booths that caused me to appreciate fried plantains in a new way- as dessert, a salty appetizer, a warm crunchy salad topper, the perfect side dish, my snack craving on the go- the list goes on, and my appreciation runs deep!

Fast forward many moons, and I am missing those warm Richmond nights with the strong sweet smell of Cuban food floating through the neighborhood. Therefore, I did the only thing my nostalgia would let me do. I decided to try my hand at this classic recipe myself.

There are a few different ways to approach plantains- sweet and salty. I tried my hand at both, and have to say- you truly can’t go wrong! So, go ahead, try your hand at both, and let me know your favorite!

You have nothing to lose, and sweet new memories to gain.

Happy snacking!

Love, A Rented Kitchen

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil + more for frying as needed
  • Two large plantains
  • Freshly cracked Sea Salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Sugar

Directions:

1. Line a large plate with paper towels and set aside.
2. Peel the plantains and slice into 1/4-inch thick pieces.
3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the plantains to the oil, flipping occasionally, and frying 2-4 minutes- or until a golden brown color. (The longer you fry the plantains, the sweeter they are)
4. Remove the plantains from the frying pan with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towels.
For salty plantains– sprinkle the tops of each piece with a generous dose of sea salt.
For sweet plantains– combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Dredge the plantain slice through the bowl until coated with cinnamon sugar. Repeat with remaining slices.
For salty sweet plantains– dredge the plantain in the cinnamon sugar mix and then sprinkle with sea salt.
Enjoy!

 

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Notes and Tips!: 

  • Adapted from: The Food Network 
  • Ways to enjoy plantains:
    • The perfect crunchy and warm salad topping
    • Appetizer snack!
    • Serve them with whipped cream, ice cream, or drizzled with caramel sauce
    • Enjoy as a delicious side dish
    • Add them to your lunch box for a perfect office snack
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious snacks from A Rented Kitchen! (Recipe links found below photos)

Strawberry Balsamic Caprese Pasta Salad

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This time last year: Stuffed Breakfast Tomatoes (2013)

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This time of year, it seems as if every other week I have a potluck or a picnic to go to (because who wants to do school work when it’s so nice outside?!). I have absolutely zero complaints about this potluck schedule; however, casual group gatherings do involve some strategy regarding what dish to bring. Ie: something that might not need heating or isn’t too messy to enjoy while sitting on a picnic blanket. Choices, choices!

This recipe is one of those ideal dishes for a potluck or picnic. I introduce you to this scrumptious Strawberry Balsamic Caprese Pasta Salad! (you’re welcome).

This pasta salad is so easy to make. It only takes ten minutes, five ingredients, and two bowls max. In addition to preparation ease, this dish is also a win in flavor! This pasta salad is beautifully rich and light, with the beautiful smell of the fresh basil, sweet taste of the strawberries, and the delicious flavor of the balsamic glaze.

You can’t go wrong here folks!

Enjoy this pasta salad, and come back and see me!

Happy picnic season 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dry pasta
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 ball mozzarella, diced
  • ½ cup fresh basil, rinsed, dried, and roughly torn
  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic glaze

 Directions:

  1. In a large pot, cook the pasta according to packaging instructions.
  2. Once soft, remove the pasta from the heat, drain, and immediately rinse with cold water to stop the pasta from cooking any further.
  3. Transfer the pasta back to a serving bowl and toss with the strawberries, mozzarella, and basil.
  4. Drizzle the pasta with half of the balsamic glaze, and stir to incorporate. Once incorporated, drizzle the remaining half of the balsamic glaze over the top of the pasta, serve, and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 4-6 servings
  • Source: Gimme Some Oven
  • Gluten Free? Use gluten free pasta!
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious dishes form A Rented Kitchen (Recipe links found below!):
  • Parmesan Pesto Pasta with Roasted Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes
  • Strawberry and Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Mint and Caramelized Onion
  • Balsamic Mushroom and Fruit Summer Salad

Vegetarian Barbeque Baked Beans

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This time last year: Thai Veggie Burger with Peanut Sauce (2014)

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Well, in case you hadn’t noticed from my apparent absence the last several days, it is finals week. Woof.

The last week has been spent with more cups of coffee and paper writing in front of my computer than I would like to admit.

However, there is a God, and finals week is almost over, so I’m Back!

The next few weeks are going to bring you lots of yummy southern summer dishes, so get excited and come back soon!

To kick that summer cooking off, here is a scrumptious baked beans recipe. Also, check the bottom for some other good summer cook-out and potluck worthy dishes in the Notes and Tips section below!

Got a favorite southern/ summer recipe? Leave a comment- I’d love to hear it!

Happy cooking 🙂

Love, a rented kitchen

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Ingredients: 

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¾ cup barbecue sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons honey (substitute with agave if vegan)
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard
  • 3 cups canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • Optional: Sea salt, to taste*

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the ketchup, barbecue sauce, water, Worcestershire sauce, honey and mustard together.
  3. Bring the liquid to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for five minutes.
  4. Stir the beans into the pot and transfer to a baking dish. Bake uncovered for an hour and twenty minutes, or until the beans are soft.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • I did not add any salt to this dish, I thought it was plenty flavorful enough. However, feel free to season as you desire!
  • Source: Whole Foods Market 
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious dishes from ‘A Rented Kitchen’!:

 

Chipotle Orange Black Beans

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This time last year: Homemade Fresh Tomato Sauce with Basil, Mushrooms, and Balsamic Vinegar (2013)

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I stumbled upon this recipe while looking for a good side dish to take to a potluck, and was immediately sold. Without taking up too much of you’re time, I’ll go ahead and get to the point- it was delicious!

Here are three reasons you should try this dish:

  1. FLAVA FLAVE! This dish is jam-packed with flavor. Between the tangy orange zest, the flavor punch in the chipotle peppers, and the refreshing cilantro, your taste buds will be in heaven.
  2. Time is of the Essence! I was able to whip this recipe together in the 15 minutes I had between a class and a meeting. Yes, it is to possible to make a side dish in the time it might take you to wait in line for your drink at Starbucks. All you need is a cutting board and a frying pan and you are good to go!
  3. All-Inclusive! Sharing a meal with others? This recipe is a great dish to make because it is accessible to most everyone- vegetarian, gluten free, low fat, high protein, low cholesterol, low sugar, etc. Want to make it vegan? Simply leave the cheese on the side and let people sprinkle that on themselves.

Not convinced yet? Stop wasting time and get cooking. In fifteen minutes you will be glad you did!

More recipes heading your way soon, so come back and see me 🙂

Lots of love,

This rented kitchen

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Ingredients: 

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chipotle peppers in adobo (plus more to taste)
  • 1 orange, Juice and zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons crumbled Queso Fresco

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and garlic, and sauté until soft- about four minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse and drain the beans.
  3. Once onions are cooked, add the beans to the pan and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  4. Stir in the chipotle peppers and orange zest and cook for one minute longer.
  5. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and top with cilantro and queso fresco. Serve and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: Whole Foods Market
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious dishes from A Rented Kitchen (Recipe links found below):

Curry Summer Vegetable Salad

 

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This time last year: Baked Sesame Tofu Sticks with a Peanut Ginger Dipping Sauce (2014)

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Summer will be here before we know it, which always makes me crave new fresh delicious salad combos. Does that happen to you? Something about the change in weather just pulls me outside. Spring comes and all of the sudden I have a renewed interest to go play- exercising, gardening, and swiftly forgetting all of my responsibilities.

I love those nights of the year where the weather is good enough to eat outside, encouraging the meals to linger, and the pace to move slower. This meal is perfect for those spring and summer nights, and it is also perfect for your lunchbox, for leftovers, and for vegetarians and omnivore alike!

So, if you are looking for a delicious healthy meal, full of flavor, and full of nutrients, look no further! This dish pairs fresh vegetables, Italian dressing, and a little bit of curry, to make those lovely spring and summer nights taste even better.

I hope you like it as much as my family did 🙂

Happy Cooking!

With love,

A Rented Kitchen

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Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups brown rice
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ – 1 large can black olives (depending on how much you like black olives!), quartered
  • ½ bunch (about 8) asparagus
  • ½ cup Edamame beans
  • 1 large can artichoke hearts (water packed)
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 1 Yellow pepper
  • Sugar snap peas
  • ½ cup Italian dressing
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 Avocado

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat the water and rice until boiling. Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook until the rice has absorbed all the water- about 40 minutes.
  2. Cut asparagus into one-inch pieces, and half the snap peas. Fill a medium sized pot with two inches of water, place a steaming basket over the water and steam the asparagus and snap peas over medium-high heat for three minutes. Immediately remove the vegetables from the heat and run cool water over them (This softens the vegetables, but keeps them crispy!)
  3. Prepare the remaining vegetables, omitting the avocado, by shelling the edamame beans, and chopping the artichoke hearts, green onions, and peppers. Combine said ingredients in large bowl.
  4. In a separate small dish, combine the Italian dressing and curry powder, and whisk until completely combined.
  5. Assemble: Add the rice to the vegetables, drizzle with the dressing, and top with avocado. Serve room temperature or warm, and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Like this dish? Check out these other delicious dishes from ‘A Rented Kitchen’ (Recipe links found below!):