Posts Tagged ‘plantains’

St. Augustine 2009

July 16th, 2009

Once again, we took our yearly trip to St. Augustine in search of sand and surf to wash away the daily doldrums of work and humdrum-ness, and once again we find ourselves in a place that’s not-so-veggie-friendly.  We always make our visit to The Spanish Bakery for gazpacho, fresh baked bread and lemon cookies, a cheap lunch and consistently good, however, this time we found some new places to grab something to eat.

Mango Mangos is a Caribbean-style restaurant with locations on US 1 and A1A.  After looking at their menu online that had a couple veggie selections including a message  stating they would create something for a vegetarian we decided to give them a try.  Our server was very helpful and suggested a Quesadilla Wrap, minus the cheese and chicken and adding avocado.  I had mine with fried plantains and my wife with sweet potato fries.  Both were perfect and delicious, more than we expected. Almost every item on the menu incorporates mango in some fashion.  Topped with, grilled, slathered in, melted in mango and their mango salsa is outstanding.

Mango Mangos - Vegan Quesadilla Wrap with Fried Plantains

I had spotted a place while search before we left called Stir It Up, a small lunch counter on  St. Augustine Beach, and conveniently located beside Mango Mangos.  Noted mostly by reviewers for smoothies there were also reports of good sandwiches to be had.  After driving by the location a couple times since they have short hours (10-5) we finally were nearby while they were open.   The smoothie selection is extensive and they do have a good selection of sandwiches, which are served as wraps, as well.  There isn’t alot of seating and what there is can only be found outside, but this is the beach and who wants to sit inside when you have a great atmosphere to enjoy outside?

St. Augustine - Stir It Up

We both had the Greenrito, a mix of avocado, spring mix, tomato and loads of hummus in a wrap and my daughter had a Natural Mystic smoothie with strawberry, peach, kiwi, pineapple and coconut.  The wraps are $6-7 and smoothies are $4 for a large.  The wraps were served with tortilla chips and were huge, plenty for that after-beach hunger.

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GardenBurger Hula GardenSteaks

May 16th, 2009

GardenBurger GardenSteaks Hula

I don’t do many product reviews here but thought it was time for one.  I have been eying GardenBurger’s Gourmet GardenSteaks for  awhile now and decided to give them a shot.  At $5.99 for two it wasn’t an easy choice but I thought maybe they’re worth it.  Now anyone who reads this blog or know me otherwise knows veggie burgers are my junk food.  I usually down two of them once, sometimes twice if I’m feeling edgy, a week.   Served up with a heaping side of tater tots or a couple baked potatoes they are quite pleasing.  I decided to go along with the tropical vibe the box said I would encounter with these particular patties I would have a fried plantain with them and since I had a fesh pineapple handy that was in need of being devoured I should cook up a couple slices of it along side as well.

These are pretty hefty patties and I thought twice about having both but decided to not go hungry and threw both in the pan along with a slice of pineapple for each.  I am not a directions follower, that “cook 6 minutes each side and serve” crap is worthless.   Good things come to those who wait and I cook a veggie burger for no less than 45 minutes, on low, flipping about every 5 minutes.  I know you may think that’s burning them but no, that’s getting some amazing flavor from a patty.  I would be changing nothing in my cooking regiment with these.  I brought them to a good sizzle, turned down the heat to low and checked back every few minutes.  I served them up with the aforementioned plantain and on two fresh, homemade buns with lettuce and tomato.  They have a good texture and aren’t very mushy.  I could taste the chunks of ginger and noticed large flakes of coconut.  I did, however, find them to be a bit on the sweet side and decided to forgo the sliced pineapple since it lent only more sweetness.  Still, a bit sweet for me as a veggie burger.  If I did try these again I would add a bit of heat with some peppers instead of the pineapple slices and use mustard instead of the Vegenaise I typically use.

GardenBurger GardenSteaks Hula

Two of these at a time are a bit much but I toughed my way through them both, and the fried plantain, which is always a tasty treat.  Next time I’ll be spreading the box over a couple nights.

I saw two other varieties when I bought these, a black bean and a Tuscan flavor.  The Tuscan is not vegan, the Hula is.  I am unsure about the veganess of the Black Bean variety but if it is it will be tried next.

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Perfect Plantains

August 2nd, 2008

You may have looked at the giant green banana in the produce section and wondered what to do with it.   Plantains are one of my favorite munchies.   Usually served with tropical dishes, plantains are starchy and sweet only when they have black spots or are completely black, a state you would not should not eat a typical banana in, at least I wouldn’t because eating a black spotted banana is improper and should only be done in secrecy as it will bring shame to your family.

You can prepare fried or baked plantains, crisp and salty or soft and sweet which I prefer and will discuss here.  Start with a semi-ripe plantain with black spots, not completely black.  The plantain should give lightly to a soft squeeze.  Peeling a plantain is not as easy as peeling a banana.  To start cut the ends off of the plantain and cut 4-5 vertical incisions down the length of the plantain only cutting through the peel.  Next, pull each strip of peel off until you have a peeled plantain.   Cut the plantain in half and then slice each half lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Arrange the slices in a shallow pan with a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-low heat.   Don’t cook them over very high heat as the sugar content can cause the plantain to burn quickly.  About 8 minutes per side until dark brown flipping each slice as needed should do.   Occasionally, I’ll add a dash of allspice or cinnamon to the slices but most often I add nothing to them as they are perfect unseasoned.   When finished cooking move each slice to a plate with a paper towel to remove and excess oil then munch!

Plantain

Start with a semi-ripe plantain with black spots.   Yes, a Shun knife works best.

Plantain Ends

Cut each end off of the plantain before peeling.

Peeling Plantain

Cut the peel lengthwise 4-5 times down the entire length.

Peeling a plantain

Pull each strip of peel off individually to peel the plantain.

Plantain

Cut the plantain in half

plantain sliced

Slice each half into 1/4″ thick slices.

Cooking Plantains

Arrange slices in a pan over medium-low heat with 2 TBS of vegetable oil.

Cooking Plantains

Flip the slices when they become dark brown, about 8 minutes each side.

Plate of Plantains!

Yummy!

Veggie Burgers

Great served with my favorite junk-food, veggie burgers!

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