How to Cook: Green Plantains Three Ways

Hi Friends! Today we are going to learn how to cook the versatile green plantain, a staple of Dominican cooking, in three different ways.

Here in Miami, you may have seen green plantains at your local store. If you live elsewhere, you may have seen green plantains and done a double take thinking, why would anyone want to buy green bananas? Well, make sure you pick them up next time you are in the store and try these recipes. They are going to rock your world!

Green plantains have a firm and starchy texture when they are green and as they ripen their skin changes from green to yellow to black as their sugars concentrate and they become more sweet.

Plantains are considered a superfood due to their high vitamin content, including vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium (they actually have twice the amount of potassium than a regular banana).

I did a little research on the green plantain and found a couple of curious facts. Alexander the Great found plantains in Pakistan in 327 B.C. The Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder referred to them as “the fruit of the wise”. Plantains were first domesticated in Papua New Guinea from 5000 – 8000 B.C. As global trade expanded, plantains found themselves in China in 200 A.D and reached Africa by the 6th century. Native to India, plantains are now grown commercially in the Caribbean, Central Africa, West Africa and Florida.

For the first recipe of today, we are going to make Dominican Mangú, a dish of mashed plantains usually prepared for breakfast in the Dominincan Republic and served with fried eggs, salami, avocado, and even sardines. The next two recipes involve pressing and frying the plantains into crispy golden disks. Tostones are a heartier than mariquitas and are great served as a side dish to any cozy stew this fall. Mariquitas are totally addictive and great to serve when hosting or entertaining. Think of them as your Latin potato chip! You can serve them with your favorite green sauce (I have an avocado green sauce I shared on IG @latinfoodie), spinach dip or even tomato salsa. So yummy!

Pollo a la Dominicana

Hello friends! In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month which kicked off September 15, I will be cooking my favorite Dominican dishes. To start, I bring you Dominican Pollo Guisado which is in essence chicken fricassee, but with a Dominican twist, and one of the most beloved dishes in the D.R. I remember eating this growing up at least once a week and it always tasted so nourishing and flavorful, I loved having a big plate of it piled high on top of warm steamy white rice when I got home from school.

I try to make it often for my family and friends. And now I am excited to share it with you!

In a Paris State of Mind

My love affair with France started at 17, after spending a summer in Paris at the Cite Universitaire with L’Alliance Francaise de Saint Domingue. I lived in a French dorm with my sister chaperoned by my mom, and had to wake up at 7 am every day to make it to French lessons. It was the first time I experienced common bathrooms and still remember the thin light blue curtains in the showers, the worn tiles on the floor. Each room was charmingly spare, with two twin beds, floor to ceiling windows that opened up to a tiny balcony, a couple of Vienna chairs.  We would walk to class each day, and then sit in classrooms filled with students from all over the world.

I don’t remember learning anything. What I do remember was the incredible sense of wonder at being in such a romantic place where I could barely speak the language, and yet felt so connected to the culture and the beautiful way the words seemed to escape the mouth of locals, as if hidden with every breath.

Then I returned to Paris during college doing my Junior Year abroad and fell even more deeply in love with the culture. I taught English at a polytechnic school, toured the Languedoc-Roussillon region in a cherry fiat with some of my students who became my best friends. Heck, I even had a declaration of love by a French boy with deep blue eyes who showed up at my studio apartment one day with a single yellow rose. It was the first time that I saw hashish (at a party, though I didn’t try it). I met a mysterious Indian stranger at a bar who introduced me to jasmine tea and independent French cinema. I ate baguette, brie and marmalade for breakfast every morning that I bought at the market downstairs. I would run along the Seine weaving in and out of people passed out along the banks of the river. I lived with an older widowed lady in a flat in front of the Musee d’Orsay who had an apartment filled with art and sculpture. She would send me to buy her cigarettes. She had red velvet curtains in her boudoir. She made coq-au-vin for dinner that we would wash down with glasses of Beaujolais.

The year before I left New York, I made a conscious decision to brush up on my French and signed up for weekly language lessons at L’Alliance Francaise. It was wonderful, dreamy and energizing to be surrounded by francophiles left and right (even though most of them were retired and well into their 60’s). I felt an instant kinship with each and every one of them. I am now on the hunt for my next frenchie fix, this time in my new city by the sea. To tide me over, here is a good list I found to some of MIami’s best French spots. I am proud to say I have been to nearly all.

Happy Memorial Day: Peruvian Ceviche for The Tribe

Shellfish Ceviche


In New York, we seemed to have skipped spring altogether and been forced to dust off the cut-offs and tanks to survive the blistering temperatures. I’ve been counting on my neighborhood ice-cream trucks to keep me cool and definitely NOT complaining! So today I’m bringing back one of my favorite ceviche recipes perfect for a weekend that promises to be filled with sunshine and playtime.

Whether you’ll be at the beach, in a park, or staycationing at home, just remember to pop a little sparkling rosé and gather your friends around this cool, clean dish bursting with tender bits of shrimp, mussels, scallops, and baby clams. I serve this simple citrusy ceviche with chifles, plantain chips as they’re known in Peru, some crusty French bread, and avocado. Happy Summer!

more »

#TBT Margarita Recipe: Cheers to Friendship

The Perfect Margarita from Karina Taveras on Vimeo.

Just like a family recipe or a special perfume, a drink can take you to a place in time. For me, it’s the classic Margarita. The bright, zesty cocktail will always remind me of spring in upstate New York. It’ll bring back the Shawangunk Mountains jagged in the distance, and the clean invigorating air. The bright green pastures that pop neon to my city-stained eyes, the gentle sound of the creek nearby. Of the laughter and the good times, of the new friends and the old that always seem to get together around this time of year. To me, it’ll always remind me of my dear New York family.

To help you celebrate the power of friendship this weekend, here’s a #TBT recipe and video. Special thanks to my favorite Margarita-maker Cindy (and excuse the vertical shot) Cheers!

Simple Margarita Recipe

3 shots Tequila

1 shot Cointreau (orange liquor)

1 shot Rose’s Lime Juice

½ fresh lime

1 shot St. Germain (elderflower liquor)

Mix all ingredients in cocktail shaker and pour into salt-rimmed ice-filled glasses


Habichuelas con Dulce: Caribbean Sweetness That’s Here to Stay

Habichuelas con Dulce or sweet creamed beans

Served the traditional Dominican way, with casabe or yuca bread and milk cookies

Habichuelas con dulce was the dish that had my heart when I left home almost two decades ago. And then I found it — or rather it found me. Right smack in the middle of Washington Heights, from a street vendor who sold it in plastic containers for a dollar. It was an honest way to flee the hardness of the city, if only for a few spoonfuls, and travel to a place where breezes blew salty and flowers shone bright. Right around the beginning of Lent this year, I thought of it again. My Dominican tribe was ready to indulge and secretly fulfill my wish.

Within the tribe was Argentina Diaz, a self-taught cook who began tinkering with the stove by the time she was eight years old. Born in Santiago, Dominican Republic in the late 1950s, she was part of the Dominican exodus who left the island and made its way to New York City after Trujillo’s dictatorship fell in the early 1960s. Her mother ran restaurants in Queens and she learned the secrets of Caribbean creole cooking early on. Today, after a life-long career in finance and still in her 50s, she’s retired and living in a light-filled two-bedroom apartment she shares with a roommate on the second story of a single family home in Ozone Park, Queens.

more »

Cooking Up Something New

Hi friends! I’m working on a new food project to be released soon. In the meantime, stay in touch via @Latinfoodie

Criollo Tomato Sauce: From Vine to Table

New beginnings

more »

In a Fiesta State of Mind with Chef Roberto Santibañez

Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off on September 15, and this year we want to celebrate it right. We talked to Mexican Chef Roberto Santibañez of Fonda Restaurant about some of the ways he’ll be bringing the festivities to the kitchen.

For all of you who eagerly await the arrival of the seasonal Chiles en Nogada, Santibañez will be preparing the classic dish in his Park Slope and East Village restaurants during the first week in September. The eponymous dish which precedes independence day celebrations in Mexico fills poblano peppers with a picadillo stuffing and tops them with walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds — the Mexican flag on a plate! Santibañez prepares his picadillo by adding apples and peaches to shredded beef and creates the walnut sauce with nuts and goat cheese. more »

The Ever Versatile Aubergine

Eggplant, tomatoes, feta, and mint

Mom prepared a plate of pickled eggplant or berenjena a la vinagreta with her signature enthusiasm. She simmered the aubergine with a laurel leaf, a pinch of allspice, onion, garlic, and a bouillon cube. After it cooled, she dressed it in a vinaigrette spiked with Worcestershire sauce and oregano, storing it in the refrigerator in a round clear pyrex. My sister loved piling on the silky tangy stuff over crispy saltines, which she snacked on with pure abandon at any time of the day. I, on the other hand, had quite a different relationship to the pickled spread and was far from being a fan.

It’s been surprising to see how all of a sudden this summer, it’s the one vegetable I can’t live without. I’ve sliced and roasted it, layering it with tomatoes and sharp cheese like the Italians do with their melanzane. I’ve diced and tossed it over a high flame with snap peas and ginger to create a hearty and flavorful stir-fry.

more »

Let's Connect