Happy Hump Day everyone! I love me a 4-day week … we get to Wednesday, and then the weekend, so much quicker. Although this week I’m buried in reading applications and doing admissions interviews and could use another day in the week … and I have to work this weekend, so I’m not even sure what I’m talking about. #losingit
The chaos of a week like this, where I am literally on an interview every hour, makes me grateful for a well stocked pantry, fruit basket, and spice cabinet, so that dinner is quick to pull together. Plantains have become a key part of our well stocked pantry. They used to scare me because you’re expecting a sweet banana and then you end up with a thing that you can’t peel, and depending on the ripeness, can be pretty bland, and you have to cook. Buuuut, our nutritional therapist put me on a super strict eating plan as part of our mold detox and my fibromyalgia treatment. Basically, I’m allowed to eat grassfed/pastured/free-range meat, arugula, and low fiber/low carb veggies (winter squashes, carrots, and plantains). It’s not the most exciting eating in the world, but I’m still on a mission to make it taste good.
We buy plantains in bulk. Two bags, from Costco, once a month. When you’re only allowed squash and plantains as your starch, you need a serious supply. Usually we eat green plantains because they’re lower in sugar, but sometimes they get away from me on the ripeness (I’m acting as though I don’t let them, which I do, because they’re so much better sweet) and we just have to indulge in a sweet treat.
Spices are totally your friend when it comes to creating tasty paleo meals. I’ve always had a decently stocked spice cabinet, but it now gets some serious use. I love love love smoked paprika and was including that in every spice blend, but I’m also on a nightshade-restricted diet right now (no tomatoes or peppers (which is where paprika comes from)), so no paprika (or spicy food, which really puts a cork in my snorkel). Instead, I add ginger and turmeric to every spice blend I make for their anti-inflammatory properties, and because they taste good.
These Caribbean spiced plantains are an awesome side dish and super quick and easy to pull together. To get the best flavor, it’s good to grind some of the spices fresh. I use my dad’s coffee grinder circa 1992 – notice the yellowed plastic? I remember when my grandpa gave this to my dad when I was little. My dad probably doesn’t even know I have this #nowhedoes #hidad. If you don’t own a spice grinder, just use ground cinnamon, allspice, and pepper.
This recipe is this easy: grind up your spices, peel and slice your plantains, toss the plantains in the spice mixture, melt some butter, sear the plantains, and throw them in the oven until soft. The whole process takes about 17 minutes. Best part? They totally taste like bananas foster, except without the ice cream and booze, and you get to eat them for dinner. #awesomesauce #excepttheresnosauce
Also, you should know that cooking (or any other activity in our household) involves refereeing the dog wrestling.
Yep. You do spy the easy salmon burgers in the background. Last night was totally a Paleo Pantry kind of night. And, someone should remind the cook that we all learned in third grade not to have the pan handles hanging off the stove. #danger
If you haven’t eaten many (or any) plantains, these a great gateway plantain. Make sure you’re using ripe plantains (yellowy-brownish) and here’s a good tutorial for peeling plantains (both green and ripe).
- 4 ripe plantains
- 2 cinnamon sticks (or 2 tsp ground cinnamon)
- 1 tsp whole allspice (1 tsp ground allspice)
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 10 whole peppercorns (or 1/2 tsp pepper)
- 2 tbsp butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Grind all spices in spice grinder/coffee grinder (or mix ground spices together)
- Peel plantains and slice into 1 inch slices on the bias
- In a medium bowl, toss the plantains in the spice mixture
- Heat butter in large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat
- Add plantains to skillet and cook until almost blackened
- Flip plantains and cook again other side until almost blackened
- Move skillet to oven and cook until plantains are fork tender/soft, about 5-8 minutes.