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When a Beet Meets a Plantain – and – A Challenge Announcement

February 20, 2012 by Joan Nova in 5 Star Foodie Makeover Cooking Group, Blogging, Food Challenge, Nuevo Latino, Party Food, Recipe Development, Vegetables | 32 Comments

I’ve been missing the challenge. Oh, sure, I challenge myself with most every meal I prepare, but it’s not the same as being given a category and told to run with it. That’s stoking the fire, revving the engine, jumping off a cliff. That’s exhilarating! Especially when it works. :)

I have more than 10 pages of food challenges on this blog. Most notably, Our Family Food Fights and 3-years running of A Culinary Tour Around the World. Then there were also a few Royal Food Jousts, Marx Foods contests and the 3 rounds I lasted in Project Food Blogger … loved the challenge, hated the vote-pandering! 

I gave up.

Enter 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group.

I’ve followed several of the members since I began blogging. I also admired the group’s monthly challenges from afar — on one hand, wishing to be a part of it — and on the other, somewhat intimidated by their consistent high levels of creativity. But, one day, I got my nerve up and boldly asked  ‘if there was ever an opening…“. I was thrilled with the immediate response and welcome from Natasha and Laz.

And you, dear readers, will be happy to know NO VOTING! It’s all about the personal challenge and showcasing the group’s creativity. According to Natasha, “the 5 Star Makeover was originally a contest … but it evolved to a cooking group because of my realization that blogging should be about sharing ideas and interacting, rather than competing.” (my emphasis)

hosted by 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro Cooks!

I can’t wait to see what everyone in the group did. Individual group members will be publishing their creations over the next couple of days and Natasha will post the round-up on February 23 on her blog.

•     •     •

Golden Beet + Plantain Empanadas with Smoky Rum Glaze …and Raw Red Beet Salad with Plantain + Roasted Golden Beet Dressing

Within an hour of learning the mystery ingredient (beets), I came up with about a dozen ideas. Some were really ‘crazy'; I wanted to knock it out of the box with my first entry. 

…but, the combination of beets and plantains came to me early on — and stuck — so I decided to embrace it two ways.

I chose golden beets for the empanada filling based purely on the fact they blended perfectly (visually) with the plantain and they don’t bleed (I’m a kitchen neatnik).

Balancing the Flavor. It could have been very ‘one note’ with just the beet and plantain. Bacon and scallion balanced it out beautifully. In fact, the combination worked so well, I saved a little as a base for the salad dressing.

The Glaze. I normally just egg wash empanadas when I bake them, but I wanted these to have some additional pizzaz so I made a glaze of rum, sugar and chipotle.

It created a sweet stickiness on the exterior with a hint of smoke from the chipotle. (I think I’ll be creating different glazes for empanadas from now on.)

With all due modesty :), I give this 5 stars. It hit all the notes I was hoping for … sweet, heat, salty, smokey, and spicy.

I also wanted to feature beet greens and made a red beet raw salad with a golden beet and plantain dressing (see recipe notes).

I had a great time with this challenge and can’t wait to do it again next month. I hope group members like my first contribution.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Beet and Plantain Empanada with Raw Beet Salad
 
Ingredients
  • 4 golden beets
  • 1 red beet (with greens attached)
  • 1 plantain (very ripe)
  • 1 scallion (green only) minced
  • 3 teaspoons crumbled bacon
  • 12 empanada shells (frozen)
  • salt + pepper
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup coconut flavored rum
  • ¼ cup powder sugar
  • 2 dashes chipotle powder
  • sprinkle of tarragon
  • ½ pat of butter
How To
  1. Roast golden beets at 375 with a drizzle of evoo + sprinkle of dry seasonings in aluminum foil packet till fork tender.
  2. Roast plantain in its skin and wrapped in foil at same time till softened and fork tender.
  3. Cool both (this can be done day ahead).
  4. Mince beets, quick pulse plantain, add crumbled bacon* and minced scallion*.
  5. Mix well and mash lightly.
  6. Lightly go over empanada shell with rolling pin and add 1 heaping teaspoon of filling***.
  7. Crimp edges with fork or by hand.
  8. Refrigerate on cookie sheet until ready to bake.
  9. Brush with egg wash made from yolk with a couple of drops of water.
  10. Bake at 400 degrees till golden brown (about 20-ish minutes).
  11. Reduce rum and sugar stove top.
  12. Add chipotle, tarragon and ½ pat of butter to round it out.
  13. Brush glaze over empanadas during last 5 minutes of baking.
  14. Grate red beet and julienne greens.
  15. Make dressing (see note below).
Notes

*Bacon and scallions added balance to the sugary beets and sweet plantain with a touch of spice and a little salt. **Similarly, a dash of chipotle was added to glaze so it would not be overly sweet. ***Save 1 teaspoon of filling for dressing. Add ¼ cup evoo and the juice of one lemon. Pulse and serve over raw beets and greens.

Note: FOODalogue suggests this recipe as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with…in your own kitchen…to your own spice and taste levels…and to your preferred portion sizes.

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!

32 Comments

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  1. I love the glaze!! It not only makes your empanadas gleam but the flavor sounds outstanding. I really wish we lived closer to one another since I have a feeling that cooking with you would be crazy fun!!
    the wicked noodle recently posted..creamy goat cheese bruschetta with roasted red peppers and fried capersMy Profile

  2. I’ll give it 5 stars too. I have never made empanadas, and now you’ve inspired me in that direction too. Great take on the beet.
    angela@spinachtiger recently posted..Bacon Roasted Cauliflower.My Profile

  3. bellini says:

    Good for you for challenging yourself Joan. That is a creative group of high caliber that you have joined up with. And yes I am sure you have knocked their socks off with this entry.

  4. Christy says:

    This sounds sublime! I am making these tonight!! Thanks, great blog too!

  5. Ben says:

    I gave up on food blog challenges because keeping with Mexican food in Mexico is enough of a challenge, hehe. I love what you did with the beets and plantains. Two of my favorite vegetables/fruits/roots…

  6. Boy Joan, you jumped in with guns ah-blazing. Everything looks amazing.
    Sam
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Join me for Sunday Supper at Providence Ltd. featuring southern Pickled ShrimpMy Profile

  7. Katie says:

    Beets and plantains…I never would have imagined that combination in an empanada (I wonder what the Argentines would think!). The glaze sounds like it really complements the flavors too. Admittedly, I’m not much of a fan of beets, but I admire your creativity. This is definitely not your everyday empanada.
    Katie recently posted..Adventure and Extreme Sports in Necochea and QuequénMy Profile

  8. Faith says:

    What a beautiful contribution! I love that you paired beets with plaintain, it sounds like a delicious, very unique combo. Can’t wait to see your creation next month!

  9. Lori Lynn says:

    I’m so glad that you joined the group Joan. Stellar first project! Very creative, love that you use both red and golden beets and made two different dishes that pair so well. Brava Amiga!
    LL
    Lori Lynn recently posted..Mashed Potato. Chestnut. Nutmeg. Butter.My Profile

  10. This is one killah flavor combo and give yourself 5 stars by all means Joan. You only have to look at it to know the earthy, sweet and salty flavors from the bacon would be nothing short of spectacular. LOVE IT!

    chow :) Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
    Devaki @ weavethousandflavors recently posted..A Prayer, Answered : Rustic Butternut Squash & Spinach QuicheMy Profile

  11. Laz says:

    Don’t be modest you hit all the right notes in this first Act. Welcome again. The fun is just beginning.

    Bravo!

  12. Nuria says:

    Awesome presentation, I love the pics! And I would love to share the table with you… I bring the Rioja, deal?
    Nuria recently posted..Winter’s favorite SoupMy Profile

  13. Hot damn, you conquered these babies. What a clever idea with the smoky glaze and bacon addition. Can you mail me a dozen?
    banana wonder recently posted..Horseradish-Jack Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted TomatoesMy Profile

  14. Rosa says:

    Delicious looking! Both the salad and empanada look amazing.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  15. Your empanadas sound terrific with an amazing flavor profile, love the pairing of golden beets and plaintains, and the glaze of rum, sugar and chipotle.
    5 Star Foodie recently posted..Duo of Beet Sorbets and Goat Cheese Beet Fritters with Honey FoamMy Profile

  16. I would never have thought to mix plaintain and beets – in empanadas…, so you can tell how 5-star I am (not)! I think the glaze is to die for and the plaintain dressing for the salad is something I need to try for myself, it looks so good! Welcome to 5-star makeover, Joan, you definitely set the bar here :).

  17. I could not wait for this post to appear as I was so looking forward to your presentation. You rocked it as you usually do everything you set your mind to do.
    Platanos, Mangoes and Me! recently posted..Arroz con Gandules y Chorizo – Rice with Pigeon Peas + Spanish SausageMy Profile

  18. Wow, Joan, I love this post. First of all I love and so relate to the way you think out your recipes. Secondly, I am completely taken with the idea of a chipotle-rum glaze. I am doing guava empanadas tomorrow in class and was going to just give them a simple-syrup glaze, but now I may have to rethink it. I like the idea, too, of sharing and creating together rather than competing.
    Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Cauliflower Steaks with Olive Relish and Tomato SauceMy Profile

  19. Joan says:

    Thank you everyone for the very nice comments. I really enjoyed this challenge and the results…I’m glad you did too!

  20. Buela says:

    You go get em girl !

    You always loved a challenge and you still do…..

    Beautiful combination of both color and flavors.

  21. Natalie says:

    The empanada looks so good! I can eat about 10 right now LOL.

  22. What a delightful combination of flavors! Both the empanadas and salad are just delightful!
    Welcome again to the group :)

  23. Robin Sue says:

    You are so good at this! I think having a challenge to do is right up your alley. The glaze sounds wonderful and such a good idea to add another layer of flavor. The beet salad with beet greens is fantastic, great way to use the entire beet! Everything is so colorful and full of flavor- I would give it a 5 as well.
    Robin Sue recently posted..Roasted Marshmallow Crispy TreatsMy Profile

  24. Jessica says:

    Welcome to the group! You definitely made a five star dish here! Love the empanadas idea and every component that went into you dish. It’s gorgeous too.

    I’m not able to participate this month but looking forward to sharing in March! So glad to have you :)

    • Joan says:

      Thank you. I’m loving the group more and more with each post I see. I’m already looking forward to the next one and the round-up hasn’t even been posted yet.

  25. Welcome and you are a wonderful addition to the group. Very impressed with your creation and the Smoky Rum Glaze…very cool.

  26. Tanantha says:

    Welcome to the group Joan! Your dish sounds delicious. A combination of beet and plantain sounds very interesting. I’m bummed to miss this month challenge.

  27. cinzia says:

    too late for me to participate but will try next month, I like these monthly events sharoing different recipes with one theme/ingredient for all!
    and totally agree with your words about blogging & sharing (& enjoying), let’s leave competitions to the sport’s world! :-)

  28. deana sidney says:

    I agree with you so much. Why does everything have to be a contest? Instead of pleasure in doing something you love it’s all about winning … and bad feelings when you don’t. To me, this is good fun and the group is supportive and creative. The very best combination if you ask me.

    Beautiful dish with great flavors and the pictures are spectacular.

  29. Bren says:

    welcome to the group, Joan! I love what you came up with! I somehow that a Latin influence would play a role in this challenge. You know I gotta love the plantain empanada. And that dressing– Imma try it. And yay you for all the challenges you’re a part of! Makes food blogging far more interesting.

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