Culture

20 Plátano Recipes That Will Make You Rethink Tostones

Growing up Caribbean meant growing up with a pile of green plantains on your kitchen counter. Platanos are a staple in traditional Caribbean cooking. Keep them green and they make deliciously savory dishes. Let them get yellow/brown and soft and they are sweet and soft. They are one of the greatest foods from Latin America.

Here are some traditional and innovative ways to use our favorite starchy fruit.

Torta de Plátano Maduro (Plantain Cake)

CREDIT: “Recetas Colombianas” Digital Image. My Colombian Recipes. 14 August 2018.

Try mixing plantains with another exceptional fruit guava and queso fresco for the ultimate dessert or side dish. You literally just have to mix fried plantains with guava paste, a spoonful of sugar, eggs, milk and cinnamon and bake like a cake.

Arañitas

CREDIT: @jeanessapr / Instagram

This is what happens when you grate a green plantain and fry it into fritters. Boricua style involves all the garlic and pepper you can find.

Canoa de Plátano Maduro

CREDIT: “AC” Digital Image. Sazon Boricua. 14 August 2018.

Fun fact: The greener your plantain is, the more starchy it will be. Once it starts to brown, those starches start converting into sugars, which make them perfect for sweet tooths. This recipe is easy.

Preheat your oven, make some picadillo, slice a brown plantain lengthwise, stuff and bake. It’s sweet and salty.

Arepas de Plátano Verde

CREDIT: “Arepas de Plátano Verde (Green Plantain Arepas)” Digital Image. My Colombian Recipes. 14 August 2018.

Venezuelan arepas are usually made with masa. However, if you use some plátanos verdes you have a totally different feel and flavor palate. Totally worth it if you have some time.

Arroz de Pajarito (Rice with Ripe Plantain)

CREDIT: “Arroz de Pajarito (Rice with Ripe Plantain)” Digital Image. My Colombian Recipes. 14 August 2018.

Take this recipe with you to college. Anyone can make it, and it’s the ultimate comfort food, especially if you made your rice lime-cilantro style. You can thank us later for this suggestion. You’ll be the hit of any pot luck.

Aborrajados Colombianos

CREDIT: “Aborrajados Colombianos” Digital Image. My Colombian Recipes. 14 August 2018.
 OK, amigos, listen carefully. To make this traditional Colombian receta, you’re going to make a cheese tostone sandwich, and then dip the sandwiches into a batter of 2 eggs, 4 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons milk. Then fry otra vez and enjoy!

Mangú

CREDIT: @jacquelinchefrd / Instagram

You can always keep it simple. Mangú is puréed plátanos verdes, and is a traditional Dominican dish. Serve it up with some fried salami and fried queso and you are in business.

Mofongo

CREDIT: @picandord / Instagram

Puerto Ricans go loco for mofongo. It’s made of fried green plantains that are mashed with all the garlic and oil. Then you add chicharrón and drench it in a broth.

Boronia (Colombian Mashed Eggplant and Plantain)

CREDIT: “Boronia (Colombian Mashed Eggplant and Plantain) |mycolombianrecipes.com” Digital Image. My Colombian Recipes. 14 August 2018.

Similar to mangú or mofongo, boronia is made with mashed eggplant. Sure, eggplant might be a very divisive and misunderstood vegetable, but this might be the way you like it.

Tamales

CREDIT: “Envueltos de Plátano Maduro (Ripe Plantain Wraps)” Digital Image. My Colombian Recipes. 14 August 2018.

It’s a Caribbean tamal. You probably didn’t know that these existed but plantains can do anything. Mash it up and wrap in a banana leaf and it’s basically the same thing.

Empanadas

CREDIT: “Mature banana pies stuffed with cheese” Digital Image. Recetas Judias. 14 August 2018.

Oh yeah, you can also use plantinas as empanada dough. You can stuff anything you want inside a plantain and the result will be amazing. Name anything sweet or savory. Try me.

Plantain Pizza

CREDIT: @danimarzdesign / Instagram

Let it be known that I made this pizza. Screw cauliflower crust you guys. This is a grain-free work of art. Basically just make mangú, add a couple spoonfuls of coconut flour and you’ve got yourself a pizza dough.

Jibarito

CREDIT: “Jibarito Recipe: Puerto Rican sandwich with steak using plantains instead of bread!” Digital Image. Dominican Cooking. 14 August 2018.

Say bye to bread forever. Unless we’re talking about Cuban bread because I can’t leave that behind. Tbh, plantains have so much more flavor than any other white bread could even pretend to have. Go with it.

Plantain Lasagna

CREDIT: “Pillon of ripe bananas or Tropical Lasagna” Digital Image. Sazon Boricua. 14 August 2018.

Just fry your plátanos verdes in strips, assemble your lasagna and bake. This will throw everyone for a loop with all of the amazing flavors and textures rolled into one.

Piononos

CREDIT: “how-to-cook-plantains-recipes-piononos-CG18880” Digital Image. Dominican Cooking. 14 August 2018.

The cutest plantains have ever looked. All you do is slice a plantain very thinly, roll it with a slice of ham and cheese and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Done and delicious.

Plantain Cups

CREDIT: @tropicaltastenj / Instagram

If you don’t want to dip them, you can make tostones in a cupcake sheet and fill them with your favorite things. You can stuff these with rice, beans, gaucamole, etc. How delicious does this sound?

Aguají

CREDIT: @chevreculinaire / Instagram

Fry your plantains as usual and then enjoy it in the most garlicky, green oniony broth you can find. Golden spoons mandatory.

Coconut Plantain Mini Cakes

CREDIT: “Simple Ripe Plantain and Coconut Mini Cakes” Digital Image. My Colombian Recipes. 14 August 2018.

You don’t need to add any sugar to this naturally sweet tropical fruit based cupcake. Más o menos, you make magú, add a good amount of coconut flour, baking powder and shredded coconut along with some coconut milk to make this grain-free muffin made entirely of fruit.

That’s health right there.

Torta de Maduro

CREDIT: “Torta de Maduro (Ripe Plantain and Cheese Cake)” Digital Image. My Colombian Recipes. 14 August 2018.

We’re talking more queso y maduro combos here. Your maduros should be almost black they’re so ripe. While this looks like a fresh take on plátanos, it actually hails from El Valle de Colombia. Go get yourself 5 ripe, mashed plantains, 2 cups grated mozzarella, 3 beaten eggs, 1/4 cup milk, a few tablespoons of brown sugar, melted butter and a dash of cinnamon, vanilla and baking powder.

Mix it all together and bake for 50 minutes at 350.

Mala Rabia

CREDIT: “how-to-cook-plantains-recipes-malarabia-2” Digital Image. Dominican Cooking. 14 August 2018.

This is not naturally sweetened. Your terrible rage will either settle or spark after eating this sweet potato, plantain, guava dessert, all served in a light syrup.


READ: Tamales And Conchas And Platanos. Here’s The Most Delicious Gift List

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Glass Gem Corn Is Getting A Lot Of Love After A Man Tweeted His First Harvest Of The Season

Culture

Glass Gem Corn Is Getting A Lot Of Love After A Man Tweeted His First Harvest Of The Season

While the Internet might call it “Ghey Corn,” this rainbow-colored corn variety is officially dubbed Glass Gem corn. Not only are there a rainbow of colorful kernels, but they’re also shiny, prompting the ‘Glass’ description. The person responsible for our new favorite, gay-friendly corn is a man by the name of Carl Barnes, who passed in 2016. Barnes enjoyed his life in Oklahoma and cultivated his own personal seed bank passed down from his Cherokee ancestors. Barnes chose to save and replant the seeds from the cobs with the most color, and eventually developed strains of vibrant corn.

One day, Barnes decided to move and asked his friend, Greg Schoen, to protect the seeds. Schoen grew a small handful of the seeds and was shocked when he peeled back the corn stalk to reveal rows and rows of shiny, rainbow-colored corn. Schoen was so excited, he posted the image to his Facebook, and it promptly went viral. Soon, the two cultivated enough seeds to sell online, and people around the country have grown gorgeous varieties.

Green thumbs around the world bought satchels of the precious seed and the following season, were “blown away.”

Credit: @watermicrobe / Twitter

While Schoen may have initiated the first viral sensation over Glass Gem corn in 2012, Ameet Pinto’s viral post has become Mother Nature’s best queer bait yet. With over 7k likes, “I STAN GAY CORN” is the most liked comment. Then, “Taste the rainbow.” 

Some people literally cannot believe this is corn, accusing Pinto of creating a jelly bean cob.

Credit: @mr_plantgeek / Twitter

“Those are just jellybeans ur not foolin me!!!!!” commented one unbeliever. Someone else seems to think that a profitable venture would be to sell the kernels as jelly beans as a scam. Still, others are bringing the negativity to this rainbow party, assuming that because the cob looks different from the mono-crop, that it must be a GMO frankencorn. “Glad to see people trying to live in Chernobyl,” tweets one disbelieving Shane. 

Glass Gem corn is not a GMO crop.

Credit: @Rainmaker1973 / Twitter

In fact, this variety likely healthier than the corn you might buy at a store, which may have been genetically modified rather than artificially selected. Barnes artificially selected the prettiest corn from his crop and decided to grow from those seeds the following year.

When folks hear the story of Carl Barnes, it just adds a whole new depth to the color.

Credit: @CwdickD / Twitter

“Fun fact about these is that they were discovered by a dude who was half-Cherokee and he started growing a sh**load of different corn types to reconnect with his heritage,” tweeted one person. As Barnes was artificially selecting which corn kernels he’d store as seeds for the next year, he grew closer with his Cherokee heritage.

For those of you expecting rainbow colored popcorn, don’t.

Credit: Glass Gem Corn / Facebook

All that’s left of the kernel when you pop the corn is usually that brown kernel skin that gets stuck in your teeth. In the case of Glass Gem corn, you can sort of make out the varying colors of popped kernels, but the popcorn itself is the same color as regular Joe Schmoe popcorn.

The Glass Gem corn isn’t that sweet.

Credit: @SlowFoodUSA / Twitter

According to Pinto, the corn isn’t sweet like yellow corn, so it doesn’t make for good fresh esquites or elotes. All popcorn comes from different varieties of corn that you have to dehydrate to turn into cornmeal or popcorn. “We’ll be eating some colorful popcorn this winter,” Ameet tweeted.

There’s even a Facebook group for Glass Gem growers to share their growing tips and cooking tips.

Credit: Glass Gem Corn / Facebook

In case you were wondering, the Facebook group “Glass Gem Corn” says you can prepare creamy Glass Gem polenta by following these instructions: “Pour into a shallow pan to cool. Cut into squares and lightly brown in a sauté pan.” We don’t know how you do it but keep on making gay polenta, please.

All in all, the Internet is pretty a-maize-d by the gay corn.

Credit: @DonConklin5 / Twitter

“Corn says lgbtq rights,” tweeted one stan. We’re with them. This is one of those moments that we’re allowed to be in wonder over how indigenous folks cultivate the land.

READ: Oaxaca Is Mexico’s Cultural Capital And Home To Its Largest Indigenous Communities, Here’s What You Need To Know

PSA: Here Is How You Can Pit An Avocado And Not Give Yourself Avocado Hand

Culture

PSA: Here Is How You Can Pit An Avocado And Not Give Yourself Avocado Hand

candypandawax / _sylviecouture_ / Instagram

So yes, there have been multiple reports of people injuring their hands while trying to cut and remove the pits of avocados. But this should not keep us away from one of the Latin American fruits par excellence. The avocado tree probably has its origin in South Central Mexico. In strict terms, the avocado is a berry with a very large pit in the middle. 

Avocado is one of the great gifts of the Americas to the world, as commercial production has expanded all throughout the world. The tree benefits from war, Mediterranean climates and thrives in semiarid landscapes. In Australia, for example, avocado, locally known as simply “avo” is perhaps the most popular fruit. Avo on toast is a staple in cafes and homes all through the country. 

However, the expansion of avocado has also brought some minor tragedies with it due to the lack of experience that some home cooks have in the arts of fruit chopping.

Credit: animationblock / Giphy

Yes, we are actually not kidding: avocado slicing has spilled more blood than a serial killer in a slasher film!

A nicely sliced avocado has got to be one of the most beautiful sights on planet Earth! We understand why people want to get it just right. 

Credit: the_chopping_block / Instagram

Seriously. This fleshy fruit gives us beautiful hues of green when opened and its firm meat allows us to shape in in all kinds of interesting ways. Close your eyed and imagine a bowl of perfect avocado cubes… you will smell a fresh tortilla heating on the comal. Taquito de aguacate, anyone?

So first things first: the infamous “Avocado Hand.”

Credit: @gabbytakesnaps / Twitter

This seems to be a sort of accidental outbreak of lack of common sense among gringos worldwide (and by gringos we also mean British, Canadian, Australian and European folk). According to Food & Wine, “approximately 8,900 emergency room visits in 2018 could be directly tied to avocados”. That is like a small town of people running around the kitchen like headless chickens holding a paper towel to their hands and screaming “Oh-My-God” while shedding a tear. 

And no, it is not an urban legend, Avocado Hand actually exists.

Credit: @mrsfergusonxoxo / Twitter

So contrary to, say, apples, avocados have a soft skin and soft flesh. And contrary to, say, watermelon, they do not have a hard bit to get through. Some people underestimate how easily the knife will cut through the flesh and end up putting too much pressure on the knife while keeping their palms or fingers directly opposite. The result: blades penetrate through human flesh, savaging skin and painting a symphony of crimson pain. But avocado is soft and cuts easily, and everyone should know that. In Mexico, the government once financed a campaign to promote avocado consumption, and called the fruit “the butter of vegetables”. 

Some people are just displaying their injuries like war wounds to be proud of

Credit: candypandawax / Instagram

In this day and age of selfies and a sometimes unhealthy obsession with self-branding, some are actually publishing photos of their avocado hands as if they were a badge of honor. Seriously, ladies and dudes, no one wants to see those stitches and gooey stuff coming out of your fingers, especially not on a closeup. Please just don’t! 

And even get tattoos to celebrate the accident.

Credit: _sylviecouture_ / Instagram

Well, we actually have to admit this one is pretty funny and kinda cool. We love the minimalist outline and the dramatic nature of this skin art piece. It is Shakespearean and hipster in equal measures. 

So avocado hand pins are a thing, apparently.

Credit: toucantango / Instagram

Do you know how Boy and Girl Scouts wear all sorts of badges on their uniforms to celebrate their achievements? Well, if you had an avocado hand incident and for some reason, you are proud of it, you can wear this pin. Alternatively, you could also wear it as a reminder of your encounter with the cuchillo, so you remember to be very careful when cutting and pitting a delicious avocado. 

Use a spoon, people.

Credit: @qvh / Twitter

So here’s the deal. Using a knife to take the seed out might look cool, but it is not for everyone. Do it safely and please use a spoon and just scoop the seed out. You might lose some of the flesh, but that’s OK (better than losing a finger). 

This technique is for expert knife-handlers only, so don’t attempt at home. Frankly, this is a show off technique for mamones.

Credit: mashable / Giphy

Seriously, this technique is a bit silly even for experienced cooks. 

If you are feeling creative, pixelate your avocado.

Credit: Anonymous / Giphy

One of the newest hipster trends in the cafe industry is to serve pixelated avocados, which basically look like this. Just use an extremely thin and sharp knife, place the avocado on board, get your fingers away from the bottom of the fruit and cut it in cubes, little by little, stopping just before you hit the skin. The results are fun and give us una onda de los ochentas

And some people take their carving obsession to the extreme: introducing avocado art.

Credit: theavocadoshow / Instagram

Just wow. This is already an Instagram trend and features some pretty dedicated avocado lovers. The fruit gets all-black quickly after being cut open when exposed to room temperature, so the most experiences avocado carvers perfect their skills in walk-in fridges. Yes, it is pretty, but with all due respect, it is also a little pointless. 

But if you think you just can’t slice an avocado without injuring yourself, you can get one of these contraptions.

Credit: takemymoney / Instagram

If you have to trust or faith in your abilities, you can buy one of these plastic utensils that cut, slice and pit avocados in a safe, child-friendly way. No blades or pointy ends to be scared of! No one if judging if you get one! This is actually a good tool to get the chamaquitos to help in the kitchen. Guacamole para todos!

But always remember avocados are not to blame.

As they say, don’t shoot the messenger. The humble avocado is just the conduit through which an entire generation of foodies has come to the realization that they suck at handling knives. We also have to be aware of the fact that thousands of farmers and workers depend on avocado crops. In the state of Michoacan, in central Mexico, many families survive working in big avocado plantations. This state has been ravaged by cartel-related violence and the avocado industry is one of the few stable sectors in the industry. So think twice before affecting the industry. 

By the way, the word avocado comes from aguacate, which comes from an indigenous word that means testicles… you are welcome.

Credit: makeitmove / Giphy

Yes, the English word avocado comes from the Spanish aguacate, which in turn comes from the Nahuatl word āhuacatl. This word, you guessed it, means “testicle”. This is probably due to the likeness of the fruit and the male body part. We dare you to eat your next avocado and not think about this. Smashed avocado, compadres? Ouch!

READ: Avocado Hand Is Sending People To The ER In Record Numbers And Abuelas Everywhere Are Left Asking Why