Peppered Seitan with Beans and Maduros

I mentioned in a previous recipe post that I had Jamaican heritage. I also have Puerto Rican heritage, and am a big fan of Latin cuisine as well. It occurred to me that I hadn’t made any dishes truly inspired by this cuisine, and all of a sudden I kind of went on a bit of a Latin Food kick because I was craving it. I bought a family size pack of sazon seasoning packets and started making dish after dish of delicious, flavorful Spanish food. The Caribbean is full of vegan cuisine — of course there are tons of fresh fruits and vegetables that grow in abundance in the tropical climates, but many dishes are rice based and often have other elements such as beans and plantains that accompany them, all of which are vegan and delicious. This particular dish has elements that you would find in all Caribbean islands, but as mentioned previously, is slightly inspired more so by the Spanish-speaking islands. The best part has to be the maduros, or fried sweet plantains. Plantains go through different stages. When they are green (not ripe) and fried, they are called tostones. Once they are yellow (ripe or over-ripe) they become sweet and when fried, they are called maduros. They are at their sweetest when they’re black and that’s a great time to use them for desserts. A fruit that can go from unsweet to sweet and be used in both savory and sweet dishes? Mother nature really put her foot into this one.

Seitan and Plantains

 

 

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 block of  one 12 oz. package of organic seitan (I used Pacific foods brand), sliced
  • 1 16 oz. can of pinto beans, water drained with about 1/4 can of liquid*
  • 1 yellow plantain
  • A couple of jarred roasted red peppers
  • About 1 1/2 teaspoons Himalayan Pink sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 packet of Goya sazon seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

 

What to Do:

  1. Slice the whole yellow plantain on the diagonal into about 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  3. Once oil is hot, place plantain slices in skillet (be careful of oil splatter!).
  4. Fry slices on each side for approximately 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Make sure to watch them and turn accordingly so that they do not burn. You want the pieces to be golden brown as in the picture, not very dark or burnt (unless that is what you’re trying to achieve).
  5. Once they are golden brown, remove the plantains from the oil and place on a dish covered with paper towels to drain the excess oil. Sprinkle them with about 1/2 teaspoon of the Himalayan pink sea salt.
  6. Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once oil is hot, add seitan slices to skillet and sprinkle with Himalayan sea salt and black pepper on either side. Pan-fry slices on either side until golden brown, approximately 3-5 minutes. Remove seitan slices from skillet and set aside.
  7. Wipe the skillet clean and return to stove-top burner, this time over low heat. Add water drained pinto beans to skillet along with sazon seasoning. Mix seasoning into beans well and allow beans to heat up. Once they are warmed, remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish.
  8. Place seitan slices over beans and surround beans with plantain slices.
  9. Garnish with roasted red peppers. Serve as is or with rice to make the dish heartier.

 

* I often use a “water draining” technique with canned beans that involves draining them of the thick, viscose liquid that is already in the can, but not entirely. I open the can and use my hand to cover the top (so the beans don’t fall out) while I run water in and out of the can. you can used another method to cover the top but I find that using your hand works best. As the liquid already in the can is drained and you replace it with water, you create a thinner liquid that still has some of the “bean juice” flavor. I rinse then this way about 2-3 times, filling the can with as much water as I can until the beans start to overflow. Finally, I empty the water that is in the can but leave about an inch or two of water still in the can so that when I add them to a pan, there is some liquid available that is now a mixture of the thicker liquid originally in the can along with regular water — to help with the cooking process.

 

Date Posted on Instagram: 9/10/18

 

Dinosaur Kale Fiesta Rice Wraps

This is the first time I’ve purchased a food solely based on the name. Once I discovered that the nickname for cremini mushrooms was “baby bellas”, I refused to call them anything else. But at that point, I had already used them in a ton of recipes. Curly kale is my right hand veggie. I’ve sauteed it from here to the moon. But never dinosaur kale*. I found dino kale at the farmer’s market. As soon as I saw it I understood the name — it has chunky leaves with bumps and ripples, reminiscent of some ancient, pre-historic plant. That made me even more excited to make something with it. I picked some up immediately. This recipe just came to me. I was originally going to make something else (which I will still make down the road), but then I thought, “why not make dino kale wraps??” I wasn’t sure where I was going with it, but it all came together so beautifully — in fact, personally speaking, this is one of my favorite dishes aesthetic-wise. Thanks to dino kale; nature kills it again.

Dino Kale wraps closeup

 

 

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups of cooked white rice
  • 3 full leaves of dinosaur kale
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 orange pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 yellow onion
  • 1/8 cup pickled jalapenos, some whole and some diced** (set aside diced jalapenos)
  • 1 medium avocado, cut into slices
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves (removed from stems)
  • 1 packet of Goya sazon seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

 

 

What to Do:

  1. Wash dino kale leaves and set aside to dry.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Prepare rice (boil water, add rice, stir and bring to a boil again, turn heat to a low simmer, cover and let simmer for approximately 20 minutes or so– use approximately 1 3/4 cup of water for every one cup of rice). Set aside.
  4. Heat a skillet on low to medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  5. Once hot, add carrots and saute for approximately 2 minutes, stirring once.
  6. Add peppers and onion and continue to saute until carrots and pepper are slightly tender and onions are translucent. Remove from heat.
  7. Once dry, place dino kale leaves flat out on a large cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper under them.
  8. Brush leaves evenly with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (I used a basting brush).
  9. Place dino kale leaves in oven and bake for approximately 5 minutes, until they are very lightly firm and look just a little crisped but not too much (they should still have some stretch to them and not be hardened).
  10. While leaves are in the oven, mix 1/2 of sazon packet into rice (use full packet for richer flavor).
  11. Add sauteed peppers, onions and carrots along with diced jalapeno slices to rice and mix well.
  12. Remove dino kale leaves and set aside to cool, approximately 2-3 minutes.
  13. You can serve the wraps open faced (not wrapped up), in which case transfer the leaves to a serving dish, spoon about 1/2 cup of rice into each leaf, and garnish with cilantro, whole jalapeno slices and avocado slices.

    dino kale wraps wrapped up
    Dino kale fiesta rice wraps
  14. If you want to serve them wrapped up, while the leaves are still on the parchment, carefully slice a portion of the stem running up the middle out of the leaf, but not too much or the rice will fall out (the leaves on dino kale are hearty and so are the stems. I left the stem in and just tortured myself eating the wraps.). After you do everything in step 12, removing the stem will make it easier to eat the wraps once they are rolled up. Bon appetit!

 

 

 

 

* Also known as Tuscan kale or Lacinto kale.

** Try pickling your own jalapenos! I made my own by slicing fresh jalapenos and placing them in a glass jar (it was a small jar, about 1/2 cup in size since this was just an experimental batch) with about 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder. I covered them to the top in white vinegar and put the lid on. I left them in the fridge for approximately 3 months before using them for the first time in this recipe!

 

 

Date Posted on Instagram: 6/22/18