Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cuban Dinner Date!

Total disclaimer: I know nothing about Cuban cuisine. As part of our project, I've been checking lots and lots of cookbooks out of the library, looking for inspiration. One Cuban-American cookbook had so many dishes that intrigued me and seemed like they could become toddler-friendly, so I just knew I had to do a Cuban night. Experimentation paid off - this was a yummy dinner!

Sweet Baked Pork and Beans
with Fried Plantains

Sweet Baked Pork and Beans
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes
1 Toddler Smile (2 Mommy smiles!)

1 Tbsp oil or butter
1 cup baby carrots, chopped
3 cups canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 c brown sugar
1 Tbsp molasses
1 tsp ground ginger
3 Tbsp cide vinegar
1 tsp dry mustard
1 lb pork chops (or pork tenderloin)

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a small pan, heat the oil or butter over medium heat. Add the chopped carrots and saute, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until carrots are crisp-tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a bowl, combine the beans, brown sugar, molasses, ginger, vinegar and dry mustard. Stir gently until well combined. Pour the beans into an 8x8" baking dish. Sprinkle the carrots over the top of the beans.

Cut the pork into bite-sized pieces and scatter on top of the carrots and beans. Bake for about 30 minutes, until pork is cooked through and the sauce is bubbly and thickened.

Fried Plantains
Total time: 15 minutes
2 Toddler Smiles!

2 large, ripe plantains
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
lemon juice

Slice the plantains diagonally into rounds. Melt the butter and olive oil together in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the plantains and fry, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until crispy on both sides. Sprinkle lemon juice and salt over the plantains and serve.

Papaya-Raisin Bread
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 55-60 minutes
2 Toddler smiles!

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk (or soy milk)
1 cup chopped ripe papaya
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease a loaf pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, oil, applesauce, eggs, and milk until well combined. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Gently stir in the papaya and raisins. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
* * *
Dinner went over pretty well! Abby would not try the sweet baked pork and beans, which hardly surprised me (beans are, after all, Abby's arch nemesis), but Neko and Celeste and I all really liked it. Both girls liked the fried plantains, though the plantains that I had were not quite ripe enough. Everyone enjoyed the papaya-raisin bread - I made up a coconut cream cheese frosting to make it more dessert-like, but although tasty, the frosting did not have the right consistency so I'm not listing it here. The bread would be an excellent snack and breakfast bread as well.


Celeste said...

I can't reccomend this meal enough--soup to nuts. It was fantastic! Seriously, make it for your family. Kudos to Chef Mommy Kara!

Lyndsay said...


What an awesome meal! I am so seeing a cookbook in your future :)