As I write this its about 19-F outside, and I find myself listening more and more to the Very Best’s Warm Heart of Africa the colder it gets. The Afro-pop is a nice salve after having to deal with a morning that involved scraping ice from the windshield with a credit card and digging the car out of the snow with a pair of mis-matched gloves. There’s something incredibly satisfying and twisted , about listening to warm global beats while being able to see the steam of my breath as I zip by on the highway.
I’m at home in the ‘burbs now, taking a quick break from the restaurant space on strict orders from Vicki and Jen to stay away for a couple days and work on a few recipes. This is the fun part, the part where we take the conceptual ideas we have, and I attempt to make them functional and tasty. So the first thing I decided to work on was something with a bit of green to brighten up the day:
Those are some tasty tomatillos from the local Super Mercado, with a few red onions and a couple garlic cloves to keep them company so that they don’t get too lonely in the roasting pan.
So after they roast I blend them up to create a nice bright sauce, and now I’m trying to balance off the tang and sour. I’m thinking salty-sweet, so I grab a couple black plantains that are just north of going soft. I hit them with a little brown sugar so they get that nice stick on the grooves of your teeth feel, a hint of clove to give it some character, and a quick shallow bath of brown butter to soften the plantain starches.
To finish this I want something smooth and creamy. Cotija is too grainy and dry, and the fresh Mexican cheeses generally don’t have the kick I’m looking for, so I’m thinking a little out-of-the-box and reach for my trans-Atlantic friend queso Athenio (feta cheese). Here’s a pic from my phone, it dulled out the colors, and you can’t see it pop with the red and purple from the shallots, but I think you get the gist, and at least it gives me an excuse to show-off Charlie: