Something Hot for a Cold Month

Earlier this month, I developed a serious case of The Dropsies. Things have been slipping through my fingers, sticking to my arms as I walk by, flying out of my hands. I've been bumbling through life this month leaving a trail of debris in my wake. Food, dishes, my iPhone, and (much to my chagrin) my favorite lens have all fallen victim to my increase gravitational force. While I am relieved that nothing was actually damaged, the dropping of the lens made me particularly skittish about things, and I decided I needed some time to find my internal balance, so I scaled back on things to give myself time to breathe. I still went to work, fed the cats, watched "Glee", but all non-essential activities were put on hold so that I could regain my grip, so to speak.

And now, ten days later, I have my center back.

Just in time for my counterpart to try his had at what we call Dominican Casserole. This is because the first time we had it was when a Dominican friend of ours invited us over when his family was in town. His mother made this amazing layered dish of plantains, ground beef, green beans, and egg. So when we got a cold and blustery winter-type Saturday instead of the 70-degree early spring the weatherman promised, it seemed like a fine opportunity to try it ourselves.

First, Gareth sliced the plantain and sauteed it in olive oil.

Plantains sauteed in olive oil

While the plantain was cooking, he made what can only be described as a pepper paste. He sliced up some jalapenos and green chilis and used the mighty Cuisinart Smart Stick food processor attachment to puree them with some garlic and white onion and leek. Then he cooked it for a few minutes on the stovetop. I tried some. It was hot.

Why my kitchen smells like mace

Brian Boru exhibits his superior olfactory senses

He replaced the ground beef with some finely chopped choice strip steak. 

Chopped steak

He then mixed the steak with the pepper paste.

Steak and pepper mixture

He transferred the plantains to a baking dish and then lightly cooked some green beans in the same pan with the remaining oil.

Green beans

He then layered the meat and green beans over the plantains.

Layers of plantain and steak with green beans in the background

For the egg layer, he used the immersion blender to combine a couple of eggs with some heavy cream, a spoonful of labne and some salt and pepper.

The egg mixture

He poured the egg over the other ingredients. 

Adding the egg

He then baked it all at 350 for about 45 minutes. It was served immediately and was delicious.

Golden and delicious

And, even though we spent twice as much on our ingredients as our Dominican friend's mother, we are still certain that hers is better, although our was still pretty darn good.