Bacon Wrapped Maduros

A few weeks before Christmas, as I perused through various facebook recipe pages, plantain ptheperfectairs  across this amazing idea.

Bacon wrapped maduros.

It sounded like yummy awesomeness. It’s sweet plantain and bacon, perfectly deliciousness.

As I was discussing this amazing find with Mumika, she told me bacon was bad for me and would give a me a coronary.

Bacon is amazing. It’s the only thing I ate in the hospital that didn’t make me nauseous from the meds I was on. Turns out the antibiotics and fungal meds were wonking up my taste buds making everything taste horrible and nothing sounded good. Except fruit, bagels, bacon. No one in the hospital told me I couldn’t eat it and the nutritionist who always reminded me I could only have half a bagel every morning never told me I was eating too much of it. I think their thought process was, at least she’s eating.

I replied to Mumika’s statement by claiming, “I’m as healthy as a diabetic horse.”

Which cracked me up. A horse with diabetes.

With football playoff starting Sunday, this would be a great appetizer to chomp down on between bouts of screaming at the TV.

Maduros is plantain that is cooked when yellow or nearly black instead of when green. Pretty much it’s ripe plantain and the more yellow and black it is, the sweeter. It’s almost the same concept as using blackened bananas for banana nut bread, except, you’re slicing thick slices and frying the plantain.

When a plantain is green and fried twice, it becomes tostones. When plantain is green and fried once and then mashed with garlic and bacon or fried pork skin, it becomes mofongo.

This is why Puerto Ricans get mad when you call them Hispanic and ask them to make tortillas. We don’t know how to make tortillas, it’s not in our cuisine. But we do know how to cook plantain at least 5 different ways.

I heart maduros. Heart them. The thicker the slice, the better. But that will be for a different post.

bacon wrapped maduros

Bacon Wrapped Maduros

1 extremely ripe plantain
oil, for frying
4 slices of bacon, cut in half

Directions

Peel plantain and slice into thick slices. There should be 8 total.

Heat oil in frying pan.

Fry plantain until they become golden brown both sides.

Wrap half a bacon slice around the maduros.

Place bacon wrapped maduros on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until bacon is nice a crispy.Makes 8.

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG.

Most amazing thing every created.

Where has this been all my life? Why didn’t I think of this?

The sweetness of the plantain pairs perfectly with the saltiness of the bacon creating the perfect sweetly savored appetizer. Or snack.

Hell, I would add a fried egg and some slices of avocado and call it breakfast.

That’s how good it is.

So the next time you have the guys over, impress them with this little slice of carribean wrapped in bacon. Because people will eat anything if it is wrapped in bacon.

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Tembleque

This recipe called for a teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt. But I was busy making Bryan a drink at the same time and totally forgot it.

Did it need it? Fuck no!

It tasted OMG amazing.

How do I know? I was bad an pretty much licked not only the spoon but also the saucepan thinking the whole time, “Why didn’t Mumika make this when I was growing up?!?!” The woman pretty much denied me my delicious Puerto Rican heritage cuisine wise.

Tembleque, which I like to pronounce wrong, is typically made during Christmas time. There isn’t really much on the history of tembleque. However, is called tembleque because it “trembles” or jiggles. In reality, it is a hybrid of Jell-O and custard. It has the consistency of Jell-O but tastes more like a custard.

It’s pretty awesome.

tembleque

Tembleque

3 1/2 cups of coconut milk
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of coconut water
1/2 cup of cornstarch

Directions

Mix everything together on medium high heat .

Stir into you get a creamy consistency . It will also thicken a bit.

Pour into a glass mold.

Wait until it’s room temperature and refrigerate 6 to 24 hours.

Dust with cinnamon before serving.

Makes12.

This is amazing.

It’s like arroz con dulce but without the rice.

The texture might be weird for those with texture issues. Actually, they might not even touch it. It’s the whole jiggles like Jell-O but is actually custard thing.

Bryan was not happy about the texture.

It’s creamy, it’s coconut-y, it’s custardy. The perfect coconut custard.

Add the cinnamon on top and all the flavors elevate in Puerto Rican awesomeness creating a Christmas party with live music in my mouth. You know what I’m talking about – the three meal services, three bands and a DJ, and an open bar Christmas party in the mountains somewhere.

 

Merry Christmas and Pernil

Merry Christmas from the Diabetic Kitchen. I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family and ate amazing meals. The holidays are more about the food than the gifts, at least for me it is.

Pernil – the definition of pork yumminess that can only be called Puerto Rican.

A traditional Puerto Rican Christmas meal always has pernil at the table. Always. And you never mess with traditions. NEVER.

Growing up as a half breed, Mumika chose the English traditions over the Puerto RIcan ones. I have always understood her reasons behind this – Dad died, and she was making sure his traditions were a permanent part of my life. However, in the process, I didn’t know these yummy Puerto Rican traditions until I accepted myself as a Boriqua and researched.

Ironically, Mumika did try to make pernil once. It was 2011. The very pork that sent me to the hospital and nearly killed me. And here I am, making it myself, 3 years later.

The major different is, I got my pork shoulder butt at HEB where I know there meat are prime.

A few things about this Pernil:

I didn’t get the picnic pork shoulder because the HEB where I live didn’t have it. If I had waited until the next day, when I was at a different HEB, I would have found it. So essentially, any pork butt or shoulder or whatever, will do.

Because I didn’t get the picnic pork, there’s wasn’t any fat at the top that melts down into the meat itself creating a crispy skin. So if you don’t want that, don’t get the picnic cut. Some may say, “But you’re missing the best part.” You’re not.

I ended up wrapping the pork in plastic wrap after I put the marinade on there and let it sit in my fridge overnight. So do that. Let the flavors penetrate into the meat.

Also, don’t listen to your Mumika about how long to cook the pernil. She always ends up drying her meat out. As time progressed and we kept sampling the meat to see where we were at, she was adamant about the temp and time. Make sure you have a meat thermometer to poke the pernil with. When it gets to 180, it’s pretty much done.

One of the biggest things to keep in mind is that you are using a mortar and pestle to crush the garlic and combining it with the other ingredients to pretty much make a paste. If you don’t have it, just crush the garlic with the wide end of your knife until you hear a pop and chop it. I ended up crushing the garlic in the roast pan to make sure the garlic was at the bottom of the butt.
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Pernil


6 pounds Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt
6 Cloves of Garlic, pressed
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 1/4 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/4 tablespoon White Vinegar
4 teaspoon Salt

Combine garlic, pepper, oregano, olive oil, vinegar and salt.

Rub pork with garlic mixture all over pork.

Stab pork repeatedly (my favorite part, it lets me relieve any murderous ideas) and stuff the knife openings with the garlic.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

TO COOK:

Put pork into a roasting pan.

Preheat oven at 400 and cook to pork at 400 for about 50 minutes.

After that, lower the temperature to 300 for the rest of the time.

This is where research gets tricky. Some people say cook for 20 minutes per pound, others say it’s 35 minutes per pound.

I say, check with a meat thermometer and cut a piece off every time you check it until its where you want it. When it gets all cooked and crispy like, it’s pretty much done.

Makes a lot.

It came out amazing. Tasted just like Puerto Rico.

I was actually quite impressed with the results. And it was nice and moist, and happiness.

And I have all sorts of ideas for it – Cuban sandwiches, pernil empanadas, pork buns.

It’s going to be amazing.

This is definitely going to be a new tradition in this house.
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Empanadas

I love empanadas. Love them. LOVE.THEM.

It must be a latina/Hispanic thing. I had a choice to have mini empanadas as an hor derve at my wedding but then I saw the beef wellingtons and fell in love. We decided ceviche would be a good way to incorporate Puerto Rico into the food.

Every time I think of empanadas, I think of Puerto Rico. They are everywhere in Puerto Rico. And come with a plethora of different filling. In Fajardo, there’s a little outdoor marketplace off the freeway next to a beach. Along this strip of outdoor shops, there’s food everywhere. All selling the same thing: Empanadas. On the way to El Yunque or coming back from El Yunque, we would stop at Fajardo, get some empanadas and walk around on the beach.

Doing this has always been my favorite part of the trip.

The only time I got empanadas were in Puerto Rico. However, there’s a Puerto Rican grocery store and guess what is near it, a little Puerto Rican café. It’s where I will get coffee at 3PM on a sweltering June day like it’s nothing. And what are they always selling: Empanadas. They taste just like Puerto Rico. They are big and a meal within itself – about half the size of a large plate. I love them.

Then I realized, I could make them myself.

When I told Mumika I was going to make empanadas, she was surprised.

“You’re going to make empanadas…from scratch?”
“Well, if I can’t find the Goya discos, I’ll have to.”
“I’ve never made empanadas.”
“You’ve never made empanadas?!?!?”
“Nope.”
“What kind of Puerto Rican are you? I’m white and I’m more Puerto Rican than you are!”
“I’m an Americanized one.”

I set out looking for Goya discos. These discos are essentially frozen empanada dough that is already rolled out to the proper size. This way all you have to do is put the meat filling in, fold, and fry. But I’m in Central Texas and didn’t feel like driving 30 minutes to the Puerto Rican grocery store. I swear, they need more Goya products up here. Drives me crazy.

After some research, I found a recipe with ingredients I already had. It seemed tedious and frustrating, but I want empanadas. And I’ll be damned if a stupid recipe and a lack of product because supply and demand is low for Goya products in the country is going to stop me.

I did have to buy a rolling pin though. But I was going to need one sooner or later anyway and didn’t feel like going to the inlaws to borrow one of there’s.

These are homemade empanadas. The filling is picadillo and the dough is made from scratch. That’s dedication.
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Empanadas

Empanada Dough:
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 1/2 tablespoon butter, cold
1 egg – well beaten
3/4 cup cold water

Filling:
Picadillo

Oil for frying.

Directions

Mix flour, salt, and baking powder.

Cut butter into the flour mixture.

Mix egg and water well.

Add liquid mixture to flour and mix well using a fork.

Divide the dough into 15 pieces.

Work each piece at a time with a rolling pin until it is the size of a small plate.

Add about a tablespoon of stuffing in the middle, fold in half.

Secure edges by pressing with a fork.

Make sure to use plenty of oil to fry them in so that they expand. Fry in batches.

Place on paper towels to absorb extra oil.

Makes 15. PER EMPANADA. Calories: 277, Carbohydrates: 21 grams, Sugar: 1 gram, Fiber: 1 gram, Protein: 9 grams.

Oh.My.God.

I’m on the beach, the air blowing through my hair, the sand in between my toes, Reggaeton playing in the background.

This tastes just like Puerto Rico. I feel like I’m in Puerto Rico.

I did roll the dough out a little thick, so next time I’ll roll it out thinner. But in my defense, I don’t have countertops and ended up rolling the dough on the floor using a plastic lid for a mixing bowl as a board. Sometimes you just have to work with what you got.

At first I wasn’t so sure about the dough but it came together quite quickly. It’s flaky. It’s perfect and compliments the filling. I’m actually happy that I took the time to figure out how to make this homemade. I can make these for parties as a side, or in mini form as an appetizer.

Just don’t burn the empanada while frying it. The first batch was a little too brown. A nice golden brown makes the empanadas taste better.

And what’s great is that if you make too many, you can always freeze them before frying.

 

Picadillo

In Puerto Rico, Picadillo is used more as a stuffing/filler. This basic recipe can be used as a filler for empanadas, alcapurrias, tostones rellenos, and my favorite, rellenos de papa.

It’s a rich flavorful filler that makes everything taste amazing. The true essence of Puerto Rican cuisine is in picadillo. One bite of it, and you know exactly where you are. Of course everyone makes it differently, so this is a basic recipe to use.

Please keep in mind that the picadillo will have more of a moist look due to using less tomato sauce.

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Picadillo

1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon sofrito
2 packets Sazon
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
8 large stuffed olives, diced

Directions

In a skillet on medium heat, heat oil.

Brown beef.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.

Makes a lot. Per 2 Tablespoons. Calories: 117, Carbohydrates: 2 grams, Sugar: 1 gram, Protein: 7 grams.

You can find sofrito in the Goya section at your local grocery store. It’s tomato based. And usually right below it is the sazon. When you get the sazon, makes sure that it says with coriander and annatto. The sazon is what really brings out the flavor.

Well, that and the sofrito. The sofrito binds all the flavors together creating this amazing richness only found in Puerto Rican cooking.

When I made empanadas (next post), the first thing Bryan recognized was the filling.

“This is the same stuff that was in that tasty cigar thing your mom had me try.”
“Babe, that was like 5 years ago.”

And that’s the thing about Puerto Rican cooking, years go by, but you always remember the flavor, what it was in, and where you first tasted it.