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)

Chocolate Dipped Clementines With Sea Salt

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I don’t know a single person who does not like the combination of sweet and salty. I mean seriously, it’s both of America’s cravings wrapped in one! What could be better?

I do know some people who are not big fans of orange and chocolate, as well as people who have never tried this glorious pairing, and to those people, all I can say is WHUT?!

Every year growing up, “Santa” put a chocolate orange in my stocking. If you have not heard of chocolate oranges, they are my most favorite candy, and you are missing out. You can identify a chocolate orange as the baseball-sized pieces of chocolate.  The instructions say to whack the chocolate orange against the counter, which will cause the orange  to split into orange shaped chocolate segments for your bite-sized enjoyment. My mouth as watering as I think about it.

I have not had a chocolate orange in several years, so when I stumbled upon this recipe, blending three of my favorite flavors together (citrus, chocolate, and sea salt), I knew it was a must.

Prepare these chocolate dipped clementines for friends, car treats, a light dessert, a healthy snack, or for a dinner party. They are certain to be a crowd favorite.

Enjoy!

Love, a rented kitchen

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Ingredients:

  • 7-8 medium clementines
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 oz. of milk chocolate or butterscotch chips, finely chopped
  • A few dashes of sea salt

Directions:

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Rinse, peel, and separate the clementines into segmented pieces.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, combine and melt the chocolate in increments of 20 seconds, stirring regularly.
  4. Dip the clementine segments into the chocolate, lay on the baking sheet, and immediately sprinkle with a dash of sea salt (you don’t want the chocolate to set without the salt!)
  5. Refrigerate the clementine segments for 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to harden (OR, if you do not have room in your refrigerator, you can allow the chocolate to set on the counter, but be aware it is likely to take longer than 10 minutes).
  6. Enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: The Comfort of Cooking
  • I believe these treats are best the day of, however they can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • The most tedious part of this recipe is removing the flesh from the clementine. Give yourself a few minutes for each clementine to clean off the white flesh once the clementine is peeled.
  • If you like this recipe, try these other delicious dishes from ‘a rented kitchen’! (Recipe links below!)

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

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Well, this is the final post in my holiday hot chocolate series. I am not going to lie, I’ve kind of gotten used to my daily afternoon dose of homemade hot chocolate.  I have had so much fun making these delicious recipes- each time serving up just enough for each member of my family that was home at the time.

Something about a warm drink in the winter exudes a sense of comfort and safety.  You can wrap your fingers around that mug and feel some of the day’s stresses slip away.

I’m a firm believer in chasing what brings you joy, in slowing down for the little things that matter, and in taking at least a minute for yourself. I hope these recipes give you a sense of enjoyment, a chance to try something new, and a little bit of that comfort and safety that we all long for- especially around the holidays.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, from my rented kitchen to yours!

Also, don’t miss the other hot chocolate flavors of the week- links found below!

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‘Tis The Season’: Hot Chocolate Series Review:

Day One: Pumpkin Hot Chocolate

Day Two: Ginger Hot Chocolate

Day Three: Coconut Hot Chocolate

Day Four: Mexican Hot Chocolate

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups milk
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 Caramel Hershey Kisses
  • Optional topping: Whipped Cream, caramel syrup, sea salt, marshmallows

Directions:

  1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Once warm, whisk in the sugar, cocoa powder and salt until completely blended.
  3. Finally, stir in the Hershey kisses just until melted, and remove from heat.
  4. Suggested topping: Whipped cream with a caramel drizzle and a dash of sea salt! An alternate to this would be to drizzle caramel sauce along the inside walls of your mug before pouring in the cocoa! Have fun with it.

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: A Rented kitchen
  • Don’t miss the other delicious hot chocolate recipes, posted above!

 

 

Ginger Hot Chocolate

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To say I’m a hot chocolate fan would be an understatement. I am such a chocolate addict, that no matter the season, you can find me sipping on some hot chocolate. It’s embarrassing really.

Despite my huge love of this delicious beverage, I have never tried my hand at making homemade hot chocolate.  I’m on a mission to change that.

Thus, for the next few days, I am going to be posting several new and delicious homemade hot chocolate recipes. Yesterday I posted Pumpkin Hot Chocolate (AKA Christmas in a Cup!), and tomorrow I’ve got some delicious Coconut Hot Chocolate coming your way!

However today, I present to you, Ginger Hot Chocolate. I am not one of those people that loves to chew on candied ginger, so I was a little concerned I would not like this recipe, but it was delicious! By using cocoa powder at the chocolate source, this recipe has a slightly darker and more bitter taste than the Pumpkin Hot Chocolate, which used melted chocolate chips.  The ginger taste was there, but it was not overwhelming. Instead, there’s a little salty kick in every delicious sip.

If you love dark chocolate, ginger, and/or sea salt- this drink is for you.

Enjoy, and make sure you check back tomorrow for the next scrumptious hot chocolate recipe!

Love, A Rented Kitchen

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups milk (soy, almond, dairy- your choice!)
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger (more if you really love ginger!)
  • ¼ cup cocoa or cacao powder
  • Generous pinch of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 ginger candies (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the milk until warm.
  2. Whisk in the cocoa powder, sea salt and ginger until smooth and fully incorporated.
  3. Once the milk is hot enough, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  4. Rub a ginger candy along the rims and inside of your mugs and then fill with the cocoa. (I do not advise leaving the candy in the mug, as it will get mushy and weird).
  5. Optional: top with whipped cream or marshmallows! Enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 2 Servings
  • Source: Minimalist Baker
  • The original recipe called for  2 cups milk and one cup water. I used 3 cups of milk and no water, just because I read it hastily and measured it out incorrectly. However, it tasted fine that way! Thus, do whatever you prefer!

Therapy Cookies (AKA Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Sea Salt Bites)

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Sometimes, the world can be really lousy.  We all have those days where getting out of bed is a struggle, or when everything that could go wrong does go wrong. Or days when you get a parking ticket, it conveniently rains every time you step outside, and your accidentally lock your self in your bedroom- all hypothetical of course.

On days like that, some people exercise. Rumor has it that sports are a good way to relieve stress. Others drink.  Rumor has it that also has stress relieving potential- that and increased rates of stupidity, the giggles, and nausea.

Others of us pull every ingredient with baking potential out of the kitchen cupboards, haphazardly mix them up in a bowl, add extra chocolate, and make these therapy cookies.

Can you guess which scenario I am?

I don’t always bake when I’m low, but when I am down, I tend to forget recipes for the trial and error game; always resulting in an enormous batch of baked goods, an excess of chocolate chips, and happy roommates.

These cookies are the perfect example of the above scenario.

I swore to myself that I wasn’t going to post this recipe.  The cookies themselves taste delicious, but because I came up with the recipe all by myself in the late hours of the night, they don’t fit the stereotypical texture or appearance of a ‘normal’ cookie, if there is such a thing.

However as the week went along (and by week I mean days), and I continued to munch on these therapy cookies, I realized that I actually liked these little guys too much not to post! The combination of chocolate, peanut butter, and sea salt satisfies every normal person’s craving of sweet and/or salty, so I had no good excuse to hold back.

Therefore, I present to you my favorite therapy cookies, for those no good, very bad, horrible days. Hang in there. The sun will come out, of this I must believe.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cup oats
  • 2 Tablespoon ground flax seed
  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ½ cup white flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon agave
  • 2/3 cup melted peanut butter*
  • ½ cup melted chocolate chips* + ½ cup un-melted chocolate chips for mixing
  • Sea salt for topping*

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line a 13 x 9 inch cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the first seven ingredients in a large bowl, whisking together until thoroughly combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, coconut oil, and agave.
  4. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring as needed.
  5. Add the melted peanut butter and ½ cup melted chocolate chips to the mixture, stirring until completely mixed in.  Once mixed, fold in the room temperature chocolate chips.
  6. Using a spoon, drop small balls of cookie batter onto the lined baking sheet, and press each ball into a flatter circle using the back of the spoon.
  7. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt and bake for 7 minutes. (The cookies will be soft, but are much better slightly gooey than too firm! They will hold up and continue to firm as they cool, however if you hate soft cookies [who are you?!], allow them to cook for a few minutes longer. I do not strongly advise this however.)

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Notes and Tips!:

  • To melt the peanut butter and chocolate chips, I simply microwaved them in microwave safe bowls for 20-second intervals, stirring in between each 20 seconds, until melted to satisfaction.  You may also melt the chips and peanut butter in a saucepot on the stove- whatever you prefer!
  • Do not replace the sea salt with normal table salt, it will not have the same affect. True sea salt has a stronger taste and comes in larger size granules, which positively affects both the image of the cookie as well as the taste!
  • Source: A Rented Kitchen
  • If you like this recipe, check out these other yummy treats by ‘a rented kitchen! (Click the links below for the recipes!)