- If you live on the East Coast, Midwest, or South, then I'm sure you've had it up to HERE with this soul-crushing winter weather we've had.
- If you have any family or friends in those regions, I'm sure you're sick of reading their Facebook status messages about the awful winter they're enduring.
- If you're in California, you desperately need some of the bad storms everyone else has been having and you kinda want them to quit their whining.
Our family is solidly in the first category. But we have ways of coping. One way is by declaring an evening "St. Martin Night." Why St. Martin? Because we've fallen in love with the island (I'll be making my third trip there next month), and we spend a good portion of the time we're not there wishing that we were.
What does one do on St. Martin Night? We crank up the heat A LOT (one of the joys of radiator heat - it doesn't cost us an arm and leg in electric bills) and put on our vacation outfits. We listen to lots of Marley and Gipsy Kings while making lip-smacking rum drinks (El Diablos and Dark and Stormys are both favorites). Then we usually watch a beach-themed movie as a family, like Mamma Mia, Weekend at Bernie's, or...Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights.
This last weekend, we were in desperate need of a pseudo beach getaway. So we made an imitation of the Plantain Nachos that we created while in St. Martin last November. Sadly, we did have to substitute bagged plantain chips for the fresh plantains we fried on the island, but we refused to be deterred. And, er, I did buy pre-made guacamole, albeit freshly made. The bacon in the recipe? A little odd, true, but I had some left over in the fridge and thought I might as well add it. Who cares, though? Island fever was the goal and we achieved it.
Is it the same as laying on a white sandy beach? Hardly. But we got to feel super warm while wearing swimsuits and sarongs, and it made us forget about winter, if just for one evening.
4 c. plantain chips, approximately
1 c. grated oaxaca cheese (or queso blanco)
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
6 slices of bacon, cut into 3/4-inch slices
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
1/2 tsp. chili powder, or to taste
1/2 tsp. cumin, or to taste
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp. cilantro, roughly chopped, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper
Guacamole, to taste
Salsa, freshly made or store-bought, to taste
Sour cream, to taste
Lime wedges or slices, for garnish
- Sauté bacon in a medium-high pan until just crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon on to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat. Add garlic over medium heat and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Add black beans and lime juice. Stir until warmed through. Remove from heat and add bacon, chili powder, cumin, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Taste to make sure the seasonings suit you.
SIDE DISH SUGGESTION: As a side dish, grilled fresh pineapple makes a great sunny weather addition. Core and peel a fresh pineapple, then cut into large slices. Brush with olive oil and grill until grill marks show and pineapple softens a bit. Remove from heat and sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy!
- Assemble desired amount of plantain chips on plate. Spoon desired amount of black bean-bacon mixture over the chips. Sprinkle cheese over the dish. Add desired amount of guacamole, salsa, and sour cream. Garnish with lime slices.
Eat, drink, and make the most of it.