April 27, 2021

I Love My Job!

One of the wonderful things about working for Dharma Home Suites is that I get to visit their different properties and explore the surrounding area . This month I was asked to go to one of the new properties we just opened at Red Road Commons. The challenge: to demonstrate the effectiveness of our kitchen by cooking a full meal to feed the family. I grabbed a few friends, (including Jay, who is known in our circle for his awesome cooking skills) and went to Miami.

First, we stopped at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens for a lesson in Tea Mixology with Adrienne Edkin . Check out her classes along with many other events at the Fairchild here: https://fairchildgarden.org/events/ . She taught us all about how to brew teas for cocktails (or for those of us who do not imbibe, “mocktails”) and how to infuse liqueurs with different teas for flavor. After a fun time learning and sampling, we took an all too brief walk through some of the gardens at Fairchild’s beautiful grounds - here is a picture of just one of the places you can see there. I will definitely go back to see more and perhaps take another one of the classes offered.
Next we went to Dharma’s Red Road Commons property to check in. It was only ten minutes away from the Fairchild and checking in was a breeze - we just got our key from the lockbox and used the combo sent to us with our welcome email.

We decided that since we were in Miami, our recipe needed to have a Cuban flavor . Jay generously volunteered his Toston Complicado recipe to share with everyone and his cooking skills to share with us.

The only thing we needed to bring, besides the food, was the plantain press to make the tostones: everything else was already in the kitchen at Red Road Commons. We made Mojitos and Fauxitos (my “mocktail” version of Mojitos) while Jay prepared the Toston Complicado, which is a toston loaded with lime chicken, multiple sauces and served over cilantro rice with plantanos maduro. It wasn’t an easy recipe (hence the name) but we said we wanted a challenge to demonstrate how well the kitchens are stocked! It looks like this :
And tastes even better! Did I mention I love my job?


The Recipe -  Jay’s Toston Complicado
Ingredients

Spicy mayo:

● Mayo-1 Cup
● Sriracha-1 tbs

Garlic Pesto:

● Cilantro-1 Cup
● Mayo-2 tbs
● Sour Cream-1 tbs
● Lime Juice-1 whole lime
● Spinach-¼ cup
● Garlic-4 Cloves
● Salt-1 tsp
● Pepper-1 tsp

Rice:

● White Rice-1 Cup
● Garlic-1 clove
● Butter-½ tbsp
● Water-1 ½ cup
● Cilantro-¼ cup
● Salt-1 tsp
● Pepper-1 tsp
● Lime Juice-1 whole lime


Black Bean Spread:

● Black Beans-1 can
● Garlic-3 cloves
● Onion- ½ of an onion
● Red Bell Pepper= ¼ of a pepper
● Oregano-3 tsp
● Basil-3 tsp
● Chili Powder-2 tsp
● Cumin-3 tsp
● Salt-1 tsp
● Pepper-1 tsp

Chicken:

● Badia Mojo-4 cups
● Salt-1 tsp
● Pepper-1 tsp
● Lime Juice- half a lime
● Chicken breast-1 whole breast

Toston:

● Plantain-1 green
● Salt-1 tsp

Platano Maduro:

Plantain-1 ripe
Salt-1 tsp
Instructions

Spicy Mayo:

  • In a bowl, combine your mayo and sriracha until completely mixed. Adjust sriracha based on preference.

Garlic Pesto:

  • Combine ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend until creamy. Add salt and pepper as well as any other ingredients to adjust taste to preference.

Rice:

  • Finely chop the cilantro and garlic.
  • Bring water to a boil and pour the rice into the water. Add the butter and garlic. Cover, set heat to low and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until tender.
  • When the rice is finished, add the cilantro and lime juice and mix.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

Black Bean Spread:

  • Dice the onions, garlic, and red bell pepper.
  • Place peppers into a pot and cook on medium heat for about 1 minute.
  • Add onions to the peppers and cook until the onion is almost translucent.
  • Add the garlic to the pepper and onion and cook everything until fragrant. You’ve just made a basic cuban sofrito!
  • Add the can of beans and spices to the pot, making sure NOT to drain any of the liquid. Raise heat to medium-high.
  • Once boiling, bring heat to low and cover with a lid. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Once cooked, remove the pot from the heat and let the beans cool.
  • When cool, add beans to a food processor or blender and blend until a puree is formed.
  • Season to taste.

Chicken:

  • Cut your chicken breast in half.
  • Pound out the chicken until thin and flat. A quarter inch is desirable, try not to make it too thin.
  • Place chicken into a large ziploc bag and fill with the mojo. Place into the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Leave overnight for best results.
  • Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry. Add salt and pepper to season.
  • Heat the pan on medium high and add a tablespoon of oil, vegetable is preferable but olive oil is ok too.
  • Once the pan is hot, place chicken into the pan. Make sure the pan is very hot before placing the chicken or you wont get that nice brown crust.
  • Cook chicken for about 2 minutes on each side or until fully cooked.
  • Adjust seasoning if necessary.


Toston:

  • Make sure to have a GREEN plantain for the tostones. These should be completely green and very dense. Cut the plantain into 1 inch slices.
  • Heat oil to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Do NOT use olive oil for frying, it has a low heating point and will begin to burn. Use canola or vegetable oil for frying.
  • Once oil is heated place your cut plantains in and cook until golden, about 5 minutes.
  • Take out and place plantains on a paper towel lined plate to dry.
  • Once cool enough to handle, smash each plantain (either in a tostonera or under a pan) to form disks. If too small simply layer 2 or 3 smashed plantain onto one another and smash them together to form a larger toston.
  • Place the smashed plantain back into the fryer and cook until completely golden and crispy, about 2 minutes. Make sure to cook in batches, placing too many into the fryer will lower the temperature and cause the plantains to absorb the oil and cook unevenly.
  • Remove tostones from the fryer and place on a paper towel lined plate. Season with salt while still hot.

Platano Maduro :

  • Make sure to have a very ripe plantain for platano maduro. These should be almost completely black with some yellow spots. Slice the plantain into quarter inch thick slices, cutting diagonally. This way we have more surface area for caramelization.
  • Place sliced plantains onto pan with oil and cook on medium high heat.
  • Cook each side until brown and caramelized, about 3 minutes.
  • Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate.
  • Season with salt.

Plating

  • First, plate your rice in the center of the plate as your bedding.
  • Add a layer of the black bean spread on top of the rice, being careful not to spill over the edges of the rice.
  • Add spicy mayo onto the top of the beans.
  • Place the toston onto the beans.
  • Place the platano maduro onto the toston and cover with the garlic pesto.
  • Add chicken on top of the platano maduro
  • Streak some more spicy mayo and garlic pesto on top of the chicken for presentation.
  • Top with a squeeze of lime and a sprig of cilantro to finish off the dish.