Each Thursday, Emily Vikre (a.k.a fiveandspice) will be sharing a new way to love breakfast -- because breakfast isn't just the most important meal of the day. It's also the most awesome.
Today: Forget about bananas -- at least for today -- and eat their cousins for breakfast instead.
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For several years I worked with a children’s museum that ran community programs all around Boston. We worked with families who had come to Boston from all over the world, but many of them were from Central America and the Caribbean. Our programs always included dinner (the best kind of program!), and when I was always impressed by the diversity of the food -- but even more so by the many commonalities between the dishes that the families prepared. One of the universal favorites were plátanos, or fried plantains. The kids were always wild for them.
Plantains look like bananas, but they're starchier -- if you mash them, they get fluffy, a bit like potatoes do -- and less sweet. You have to let them get almost black before they’re really ripe. They can be prepared in many ways, but frying them caramelizes their edges to a deep gold and brings out their gentle sweetness in a way that is completely addictive.
Though the fried plantains we had in Boston were served as a side dish at supper, accompanying peas and rice, or chicken and beans, or slow-cooked pork, I always thought to myself, “These would make a delicious breakfast.” And these days, when I prepare plantains for myself, they generally are breakfast. They’re a fun alternative to something like pancakes, and they’re just as good -- if not better! -- with a tiny drizzle of maple syrup (though it’s not at all necessary) and a side of bacon.
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.