So, after what seems like a long couple of months off, I met my goal of finding a job in a marketing department. And I really like this job and the company I work for. However, it’s been decades since I had a job that is east of where I live, so now I get to enjoy driving into the sun on the way too and from work. (Funny, not funny.) And on top of everything, it’s finally spring, but you couldn’t tell from the eight inches of snow we got yesterday. (Lame.)
|Seriously, these are amazing with Nutella, and I'm glad that I added more cinnamon than called for.|
The first thing I started off with were Fried Bakes (Floats). In a mixing bowl, I added in 4 c of flour, 4 tsp of baking powder, ¼ tsp of salt, 1 Tbsp of granulated sugar, and a little less than 1 tsp of cinnamon. After I whisked everything to mix it together, I rubbed 1 Tbsp of butter into the mix. I love this part; there’s something about squishing the butter with my hands into the flour that remind me of being a kid. Then I added just enough water to pull it together as a soft dough; for me, it was roughly about 2 cups, but I needed to add a bit of flour back into it to keep it from being so sticky. I kneaded it for a few minutes, rubbed it with a little oil and let it rest for about a half hour. Then I kneaded it again just a little and let it rest a minute before I divided the dough into ten balls. I flattened each dough ball with my hands until it was about a 4” disk. When the oil in my skillet was hot enough, I dropped a couple of the disks into the oil. They should puff up pretty quickly. Once it starts to puff up and turn brown, I flipped them so the other side could brown, too. When they were done, I took them out and let them drain on paper towels. I thought these were good; you can top it with whatever you want, but I preferred some Nutella, and it was glorious. The inside was fluffy, almost like a doughnut, but with a much larger crumb. However, the outside was a bit tougher than a doughnut, probably closer to a scone than a doughnut.
|Who would've thought these flavors blended as well as they did?|
Now comes the main dish: Green Fig & Saltfish Pie. It sounds like all of these flavors shouldn’t be put together, but I’m trusting them on this. Only because it’s practically the national dish, and it doesn’t get to that status if it’s horrid. First off, I must make a mention that when they say green figs, they’re actually referring to green bananas (fine by me, I’m not a huge fig fan). I tried to find the greenest bananas I could find, but by the time I was ready to cook, they weren’t all that green anymore. So, I just peeled and mashed them until they were soft, sprinkling them with some lime juice (to keep them from turning brown). As far as saltfish goes, I’m sticking with what I did the last time when saltfish was called for and using something else – this time I used tilapia. (Yes, I know it’s not what the recipe says. Yes, I’m ok with cheating on this one.) I lightly panfried the fish filets and flaked it when it was done. Now, I took out one of my pie pans, sprayed it down a little with some cooking spray and pressed in half of the mashed banana into the bottom. Then I spread half of the fish on top of that. The next layer consisted of sliced red bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, cheese, and black pepper. Then I layered the rest of the banana, added a layer of fish, and another layer of veggies, cheese and black pepper. To top this off, I poured in a ½ c of milk over the whole thing and sprinkled with breadcrumbs. Then I baked this for 40 minutes in a 350ºF oven until it was a nice golden color on top. As odd as this seemed to be, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I was somewhat surprised on this. The fish, cheese, and veggies gave it a savory flavor, but the baked bananas wasn’t as sweet as I imagined. It had the consistency of an eggless quiche. Definitely the surprise of the day.
|I think this was probably the best dish. The carnitas was a good idea.|
I picked a couple of side dishes to go with this. I picked a dish called Petit Piton (most likely named after the Piton mountains on the island, and it’s also the name of a local beer). In a large saucepan, I mixed together a little bit of diced potatoes, parsley, mirepoix mix (carrots, celery, onions), mixed vegetables, diced onions, minced garlic, celery salt, marjoram, and pulled pork (I used carnitas meat). I basically just heated everything up until it was warm and then poured a little lime juice on top of it. I was going to make some white rice to go with this, but I was tired and forgot. It didn’t need it anyway since it was fine the way it was. I thought I could’ve backed off the celery salt a little, but my husband told me it was perfect the way it was. Quick and easy – I like it!
|A little on the dry side, but otherwise not too bad.|
And finally, I made Baked Plantains. I know I’ve made baked plantains before, but this one is a little different of a recipe. The recipe wasn’t extremely descriptive, but I took two plantains, cut them in half and peeled them. I placed these in a glass baking dish and heated them for 15 minutes or so in a 350ºF oven. That was a terrible idea because it just made them hard. So, I threw them in a skillet with a ton of butter and half sautéed them and half steamed them to soften them. It worked a bit, but it blackened the outsides a bit. Then I mashed them as much as I could and added in an egg, some salt, a little bit of peanut butter, a little bit of minced onion and celery, some breadcrumbs, and a little bit of milk. Once everything is completely mixed together, I put it back in the oven for 25 minutes. Because I made this first, I had to put it back in the oven to heat it back up, and it dried it out a little too much. The flavor was ok; I liked it with the peanut butter flavor. It gave that West African taste to it, I think. But I think if the plantains were just a little bit softer, it would’ve almost had a dressing feel to it.
|Overall, not a bad meal. My husband and I really enjoyed it at least. The kids, not so much.|
As I started a new job and talked about this blog, I didn’t quite realize just how long I’ve been doing this. I’ve certainly still got quite a ways to go, but when I added it all up, I’ve been at this blog longer than I’ve ever held any job. I thought about all the people I worked with in the past who practically screamed, “Bread is terrible! It’s the devil! You’ll never lose weight if you eat bread!” And I’m sitting over here thinking, “I have a blog based on bread.” I guess I’d rather be a little chunky and happy than skinny and miserable knowing I couldn’t ever eat Julia Child’s French bread ever again. Life’s too short for that. Eat up!