Miss G. & I escaped to New York City for part of spring break last week to celebrate her 18th birthday and her upcoming high school graduation. I only discovered NYC as an adult and what a fabulous discovery it was. It made my nearest and dearest big city, Seattle, seem like a little frontier outpost and I wanted to share the experience with Miss G. It was glorious spending alone time with my oldest daughter. I have to cherish these days as she’ll be heading off to college at the end of summer….
We arrived at Newark Airport early Friday evening and hopped on the train to take us to Penn Station. From there we took the E train to our hotel, the Affinia 50 Hotel at 155 East 50th Street which is midtown Manhattan. This was my second time staying there and I love this hotel. The room was very large by New York standards, the bathroom very small, and we also had a kitchenette which was a little larger than the bathroom. The price was right, also!
We ended up taking impromptu, but important, trips Monday and Tuesday to visit colleges in New Jersey and Massachusetts so our trip was a little rushed as we really only had Saturday and Sunday to enjoy New York. We did not even make a little dent in the NYC tourist’s to-do list. However, we were able to ride a carriage in Central Park, eat dim sum at Jing Fong, lick almond cookie ice cream at the original Chinatown Icecream Factory, shop the teenager shops on Broadway south of Houston Street, watch “Anything Goes” on Broadway, visit the Malcom Shabazz market in Harlem, and my favorite – we did a food tour of Sunnyside, Queens. The highlights of my previous trips to NYC have been food tours with Naomi Schwarzbaum to Chinatown and to Astoria, Queens. I love exploring different neighborhoods and all the foods they have to offer. I wasn’t able to get a hold of Naomi for this trip, but instead found Myra Alperson of Noshwalks. On our fun three hour noshwalk we visited Nepali, Columbian, Armenian and Irish markets and sampled Turkish cheese pide from Mangal Kebab, Peruvian chicken and potatoes with avocado from Los Pollos, Columbian baked goods from MiraCali Bakery, Ecuadorian baked potatoes from a food cart, Super Choladas, a delicious Columbian beverage concoction of hand cut fresh fruit, ice, sweetened condensed milk, honey and coconut shavings, from Pecas Y Mas, a corn bread type of bread, a corn pudding, very strong Turkish coffee scented with cardamom and dessert at Habibi. And last, but not least, my favorite, baked ripe plantains with cheese from I don’t even remember where.
When I got home, I set out to recreate the baked ripe plantains with cheese dish for Mr. D. & Coco. It’s really quite a healthy snack when you think about it. I found a great South American cooking blog, Laylita’s Recipes, which told me how to make it. What it didn’t tell me was that there is a big difference in ripe and unripe plantains. Unwittingly, I bought unripened plantains and used them for this dish which calls for ripened plantains. Unripened plantains taste like a very unsweet starch. Not good. We all we all found this out. I’m going to try again next week with sweet, ripened plantains, for hopefully, better results!
Baked Ripe Plantains with Cheese
- ripe plantains
- a lttle butter
- mozzarella cheese
- Green Sauce
- 1/2 bunch cilantro
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 fresh lemon or lime, juiced
- 3 T chopped onion
- salt to taste
- 4 ajies/ hot peppers if you like them (I do not)
- Peel the plantains and drizzle on some melted butter.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 30 mnutes. Flip over and bake for 20 minutes more.
- Slit plantain lengthwise and place a thick strip of cheese in cut. Bake a little more until cheese melts.
- Toss all of the Green Sauce ingredients in a food processor and blend until a nice sauce is made.
- Serve the green sauce with the plantains.