Childhood snacks that still hit the spot
Fruit, yogurt, and peanut butter feature prominently in my summer snack repertoire.
By Ruth Ogden
When it’s hot out, sometimes it feels like way too much work to cook. Instead of heating up the entire house with the oven, consider revisiting some classic childhood snacks that don’t involve much cooking at all.
Ants on a Log
Ingredients: Celery (washed!), peanut butter (I prefer crunchy), raisins or craisins
Instructions: Lay out a couple stalks of celery and fill the inside ridge with peanut butter, probably a couple tablespoons or so. Top with as many raisins as you can fit on the celery stalk. I like this one because it’s got both fiber and protein, so it actually makes you feel full.
Ingredients: Skewers (wooden or metal) and fruit you like! I prefer grapes, watermelon, strawberries and pineapple, but literally any fruit will work.
Instructions: Wash the fruit and cut it up so that they are all roughly the same size, and then slide them onto the skewer. These are great because you can eat this one-handed while reclining in a hammock.
Ingredients: Yogurt of your choice (I like the Honey Vanilla flavor from the Greek Gods brand), chocolate chips, strawberries and blueberries.
Instructions: Take a baking sheet and cover it with waxed paper. Using a spoon, spread out a generous layer of the yogurt and then top with your fruit and chocolate chips. Freeze for about four hours or until it’s hard. Then, break it up into shards and transfer to a freezer safe bag for a sweet, cold treat.
Bootleg Apple Pie
Ingredients: An apple, cinnamon, lemon juice, granola and brown sugar.
Instructions: Dice up the apple into tiny pieces – the more surface area, the better! Put the diced apple in a bowl along with a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon, a dash of lemon juice and a couple tablespoons of brown sugar. Mix it together and let it sit for about five minutes so that the brown sugar can soak in. Finally, top it with some crunchy granola. This can be eaten with a spoon and is so satisfying.
Summer is the best time to get back to your childhood roots. Try some of these easy snacks and take a little vacation from adulthood.
Add a little Puerto Rican flavor to your cooking
Sharing a bit of my culture, one plate at a time.
By Heidi Ortiz Candelaria
Plantains are a staple in any Puerto Rican kitchen. They might look like bananas, but they are quite different. Depending on the color of their peel and maturity state, it will either taste starchy or sweet-sour. It’s crucial to know at what stage your plantains are before making this dish.
Mofongo is perhaps Puerto Rico’s most well-known traditional dish, as it dates back to the tainos (our indigenous ancestors) who used mortar and pestles to mash the plantains and make a variety of filling meals. For this dish, make sure your plantain is unripe (green on the outside and white on the inside). Peel and slice your plantain and dump the slices into a bowl of salted water to rest. Fill a pot with oil and heat over medium-low heat. Wait for the oil to warm and dump in your well-dried slices. Wait twelve minutes, or until the plantain slices are light brown. Once they’ve reached the desired point, remove them from the pot carefully with tongs and blot the excess oil. There are two options for the next part. Most Puerto Ricans have wooden mortar and pestles that we use for mashing. If you don’t have one, it’s recommended you use the plate method, or your fists if you don’t mind getting a bit messy. Make sure to mash them enough that they can be molded, but not enough that they fall apart. Finally, it’s time to season. Add adobo (or garlic powder), minced garlic, and crushed pork rinds. Finely chopped, toasted bacon also works. Lastly, mix everything together into the mofongo. Mold into a half sphere with your hands and serve alongside your favorite proteins. You can also make a chicken broth to pour over or dip each bite in mayo-ketchup (like I do).
You can thank my mami for filling in the blanks for the process and for making these dishes with lots of love. We season con el corazon, letting our ancestors tell us when to stop shaking the bottles of sazon into our pollo guisado. You’ll certainly feel that love when trying them yourself, I guarantee it.
Destiny’s Chicken Tacos
By Destiny Valencia
4-6 chicken thighs
A jar of chipotle adobo peppers (preferably the kind blended up)
1 can of pinto beans, or black beans or whatever beans you like
Oil (I use coconut, its pretty neutral)
Seasonings for taste: salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper
1 cup of rice
Same seasonings used for beans
2-3 ripe avocados depending on size
Salt for taste
Alright, we will be making one of my favorite dishes, chicken tacos. I make this dish at least once a week and it always makes me happy. It’s easy, and while there are a decent amount of steps, the time will fly by as you cook. Put on a podcast, get your rice cooker ready and let’s begin.
You will start off by getting your chicken cooking. Get those birds in a pot and you will dump about half your jar of chipotle peppers and drizzle a good amount of honey on those thighs. A lot of this recipe is to taste, so go off my instructions but work with the recipe and put in however much you’d like or to your own taste. Let those thighs cook on medium to low medium heat until thighs are shreddable.
While the thighs are cooking, get your rice rinsed and pour the rice into a pan of hot oil. Cook for a few minutes, then squeeze a tablespoon of tomato paste on rice, mix and let cook for a minute or two. Add your spices and let cook a few minutes more. Afterwards, pour rice into a rice cooker or pot. Add chicken stock. If using 1 cup of rice, use 2 cups of stock.
While the rice is cooking alongside your chicken, get your beans ready. Start by emptying the can of beans into a pan of hot oil. Cook for a few minutes and then season the beans and stir. You will then mash these beans to a paste, adding chicken stock to smooth them out. Let them cook to your thickness and liking.
Last will be to make your guac. I think you know how this step goes. The hardest part is selecting avocados. Pro tip, if you’re at the grocery store and all they have is hard avocados, place them in a paper bag. They will ripen quickly over a couple days.
Once all of these items are ready, you can heat up your tortillas and assemble. Enjoy!