Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bananas a la Rosario

This is a standard Puerto Rican dish and is very easy to prepare. I named the recipe after my friend Jesus Rosario because he taught me how to make it. This is an especially great recipe for those of you in tropical countries or living near banana plantations. For the rest of you, you can substitute potatoes.

• Green (raw) bananas (can substitute yucca/mandioca or potatoes)
• Bay leaves
• Oregano (fresh or dried)
• Salt
• Pepper
• Olive oil

Use a sharp knife to cut the peel off the bananas. Cut them into large chunks and then boil them until they’re soft like potatoes. Put them in a bowl and toss them with bay leaves, oregano, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature. They’re so delicious they’ll have you screaming “Thank you Jesus!”

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Panqueques Rancheros

This is a recipe for fruit & nut pancakes. My friend and I were attempting to cook pancakes on my awful, lopsided stove and my horrible pans and could not keep them in one piece. My friend suggested that we cook like scrambled eggs so they wouldn’t stick, but he mistook ranchero to the Spanish word for scrambled (the correct word is revuelto), hence the misnomer “Panqueques Rancheros.”

• 1 ½ cups flour
• 1 tspn salt
• 2 ½ tspns baking powder
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 2 spoons of oil or melted butter
• 1 ½ cups milk
• ¼ - ½ cups sugar
• ½ tspn baking soda
• 1 tspn vinegar
• Bananas or apples
• Nuts: peanuts, pecans, walnuts, etc.

Mix the dry ingredients together (except the baking soda). Add the eggs, butter, and milk. Blend the bananas or apples (or both separately for both apple and banana pancakes!). If you use apples, you can blend them with the milk. If the mixture is too runny with the apples, add another ½ cup of flour. The other option is to finely slice the bananas and dice the apples to avoid runny batter. Whip the batter until it becomes a homogenous mixture. Add the vinegar and baking soda. Cook in a frying pan with a little oil. Bon appetit!

Banana Topping

A common recipe among Peace Corps Volunteers here is banana topping for pancakes and French toast.

• Bananas
• Honey
• Peanuts (optional)

Mush several bananas. Add honey and crushed peanuts. You can serve as is or cook for a few minutes on low heat with a little oil.

Apple Sun Tea

Sun tea is a tea that requires no boiling and can later be served as iced tea. It is a refreshing drink to help you keep cool during the summer heat. This is an especially great recipe if you like to peel apples before eating them.

1. Put tea bags and apple cores and, if you have them, apple peels in a pitcher of water.
2. Leave outside in area that receives lots of sun for 3-4 hours.
3. Serve chilled with ice.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Succinct Argument for Sustainable Agriculture

“sustainable agriculture addresses a number of issues simultaneously: It reduces agricultural runoff, which is the main cause of eutrophication and dead zones in lakes, estuaries, and oceans; it reduces use of energy-intensive nitrogen-based fertilizers; it ameliorates climate change, because organic soil sequesters carbon, whereas industrial farming releases carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and is the second-greatest cause of climate change after fossil fuel combustion; it improves worker health because of the absence of toxic pesticides; it enables soil to retain more moisture and is thus les reliant on irrigation and outside sources of water; it is more productive than conventional agriculture; it is less susceptible to erosion; and it provides habitat for pollinators, birds, and beneficial insects, which promotes biodiversity. On top of all that, the resulting food commands a premium in the market, making small farms economically more viable.” – Paul Hawkens, Blessed Unrest, p. 178