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Tajaditas Dulces de Platano

As the voting for Shape.com’s Best Healthy Eating Blog competition winds down, I am now a “front-runner” (apparently 7th place out of 20 makes me a front-runner) and have been asked to submit a short essay about myself and my blog (thank you SO MUCH for your help, Jen!!) which I’ll post here as soon as they tell me what format to submit in.

Aw, to hell with it – they’re getting a Word document.  I just hope they can read it.

This week, I’m going to talk a bit about something called The 80/20 Rule.  Popularized by Mark Sisson (sorry, Beloved, I know you’re upset with him because he hasn’t mentioned the Shape.com contest), it’s the idea that if you eat “cleanly” 80% of the time, you can eat less desirable foods the remaining 20%.  For some people, that means not necessarily sticking to their diet when they go out to eat, for some it includes things like the occasional beer and pizza, and for a few it means potato chips, ice cream and candy bars.

Because I simply cannot tolerate gluten-bearing grains or cow’s dairy at all, for us it means things like using more natural sweeteners than we probably should and occasionally consuming legumes, white rice, corn and white potatoes.  The corn and potatoes are mostly seasonal additions to our diet – we eat them two or three times in the fall when they’re at their peak – and the white rice is almost exclusively an indulgence when eating at our favorite Japanese restaurant.  Legumes, mostly in the form of properly prepared dried beans, have become a recent occasional indulgence – but more on that in a couple of days.

Another part of the 20% in our household is indulging in the occasional non-local (but still organic and sustainably grown/sourced) food.  This weekend we visited a marvelous natural foods store in Akron and purchased squid, sea scallops and 3 large plantains.  The squid and scallops are on the menu for later this week, and the most ripe of the plantains became part of breakfast Sunday morning in the form of this delicious South American/Caribbean side dish.

Tajaditas Dulces de Plantano roughly translates into sauteed sweet plantains (tajaditas is the diminutive form of tajadas, which means “slice” or “slab”).  Rather than sauteed, these are fried in coconut oil but you can also use a combination of olive oil and butter if you prefer.   Make sure your plantains are very ripe, or the taste and texture of the dish will suffer.

Tajaditas Dulces de Platano

Tajaditas Dulces de Platano

serves 3

¼ cup coconut oil
1 large very ripe plantain, peeled and cut in 1-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
kosher or sea salt, to taste

Heat coconut oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Gently toss plantain slices with brown sugar, then place into hot oil. Fry until the plantains begin to turn golden brown and the sugar begins to caramelize, about 2 or 3 minutes per side.

Drain plantains on a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt before serving.

Nutrition (per serving): 161 calories, 9.3g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 2.4mg sodium, 297.7mg potassium, 21.4g carbohydrates, 1.4g fiber, 11.3g sugar, <1g protein.

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