Welcome to a special weekend edition of Cooking with Cloris at Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers. Today we welcome romance author Caridad Pineiro. Caridad is a transplanted Long Island girl who has fallen in love with the Jersey Shore. A NY Times and USA Today bestselling author with over a million romance novels sold worldwide, Caridad is passionate about writing and helping others explore and develop their skills as writers. She is a founding member of the Liberty States Fiction Writers and has presented workshops at national and regional writing organizations throughout the country. Learn more about Caridad and her books at her website.
I love to cook and to share my recipes with family and friends and in stories like my upcoming releases, Never a Bride (January 2020) and South Beach Love (June 2020). Both of these stories feature chefs in one way or another, and I guarantee that both stories will not only leave you fulfilled emotionally, but hungry for something tasty as well.
In Never a Bride, the hero, Carlo da Costa, is a caterer and in love with a wedding planner who doesn’t believe that she can ever have her own happily-ever-after. Carlo is an amazing chef and it was fun to show off some of his creations as well as his family’s Portuguese food traditions. My Spanish grandparents grew up not far from Portugal and many of the foods are quite similar and often include fish since the two countries have lots of coast along the Atlantic.
In South Beach Love, the hero, Tony Sanchez, is a celebrity Cuban chef who returns home to Miami to help his niece have the most epic quinceañera, the Cuban equivalent of a Sweet Sixteen. What Tony doesn’t know is that he’s going to run into an old family friend, Sara Kelly, who has also become a chef and is helping out with her niece’s big event. Soon Sara and Tony find themselves competing to create the most amazing food for the two competing events. It was a blast to play around with the different recipes that each of the chefs prepare to outdo each other. I also found out a lot about the new field of molecular gastronomy and how you can do something like turn oil into a powder!
But for now, I want to leave you with an easy recipe for a vegetable you might not have tried before: plantains. Many people find plantains confusing because they are often referred to as bananas and look like very big bananas, but they are actually a vegetable and you cannot eat them raw. Cubans and other Latins eat plantains in various forms. When the plantains are green, you can make them like potato chips by slicing them thinly and frying them. You can also make a double-friend and flattened plantain known as a tostone or boil and mash them and top with bacon and fried onions.
As tasty as plantains are when green, they’re even better ripe because they get incredibly sweet. How can you tell when a plantain is ripe? It gets yellow and soft. I even let it go further until it starts getting some black spots, making it even sweeter.
What can you do with a ripe plantain? For many Latinos ripe plantains are usually fried or baked, but you can also make them like they do in Mexico, and today I’m sharing that recipe with you, and you may find it in South Beach Love.
Baked Plantains with Crema and Cotija Cheese
1 ripe plantain*
1 cup Mexican crema**
1 cup grated cotija cheese***
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Peel the plantain and slice on the diagonal into1/4” slices. If using the frozen ripe plantains, follow oven directions on the box.
Toss plantain slices with vegetable oil. Grease a baking tray and lay out the plantain slices.
Cook for about 15 minutes, then turn the slices. Cook for another 10 minutes until brown.
Drizzle with the crema and cotija and heat for another 5 minutes.
Serve next to a nice steak or roast pork.
* If you can’t find plantains, look in the GOYA frozen food section for ripe plantains (also known as maduros)
** Or thin some sour cream with half-and-half
*** Or substitute grated feta cheese
I hope you’ll try out this recipe and also check out my new releases, especially if you love stories with chefs like I do!
For more of my recipes, please visit http://bit.ly/CooksTreat.
Never a Bride
At the Shore Series, Book 3
But as her two best friends find love, Emma worries about what her future will bring. She has seen all too often what happens once husbands and children arrive. She puts on a brave face because she wants her buddies to be happy, but as a wedding planner, she has seen one too many marriages go south. Not to mention her parents' bitter divorce which has soured her on the idea of marriage for herself. She can't imagine ever finding a man who can bring her a forever kind of romance.
Carlo da Costa knows why Emma avoids relationships and yet he can't help but wonder how someone who puts such love and care into others' dreams can't allow herself to believe in the fairy tale. He sees the yearning on her face when she spends time with him and his big boisterous family and knows that deep inside, she wants the same thing. Carlo hopes that one day he can provide her with that because he's sure Emma holds the key to his heart in her hands.