Tostones/patacones (twice-fried green plantains) paired with garlic cilantro mayonnaise (salsa de ajo), from the “Latin American Paleo Cooking” cookbook, make a satisfying paleo appetizer or snack. You will find my “Latin American Paleo Cooking” book review below. Take a sneak peek inside with 2 amazing recipes, and enter for a chance to win your own copy by November 30, 2017.
I loved Latin-American cuisine from the trips I took to Cuba and Costa Rica in my younger days, but I can’t say I have a clue about how to cook Latin-American foods. The closest to Latin cuisine I have ever made on this blog is this fermented tomato salsa, but I don’t even know if it’s really authentic. So when I found out my friend Amanda Torres, from the curious coconut, has a new cookbook on Latin American Paleo Cooking, I was super excited to try my hands on the recipes in her new book.
Latin American Paleo Cooking Book Review
“Latin American Paleo Cooking” is written by Amanda Torres, with her Puerto Rican mother-in-law Milagros Torres. This book showcases their love for Latin American traditional and heritage foods, while made suitable for the Paleo community. Not only all recipes are completely dairy and gluten free, most are AIP-friendly or AIP-adaptable. If you are not familiar with AIP, it stands for Autoimmune Protocol, which is a stricter version of the Paleo diet that many have used to heal and improve their gut and immune system.
It’s no secret that I don’t preach a particular diet, rather I focus on nutrient-dense and healing foods, and encourage you to follow the rhythm of your own body to find what diet works best for you. With that said, my body often craves foods that naturally fall within the paleo framework; and I value the importance of avoiding allergens in the process of gut and immune healing.
Here is why I love the book
- There are many nutrient-dense and allergy-friendly recipes in the book, for Paleo or not.
- The book took me into a Latin American world of foods, I have learned so much traditions about Latin cuisine.
- The section at the end of the book explaining “Special Latin American Ingredients” is particularly helpful to me to understand how to shop for Latin American ingredients.
- The instructions are easy to follow, even for someone who has no previous experience cooking Latin foods.
- Many dishes in the book include food paring and serving suggestions, which are very helpful for putting together a whole meal.
- Many dishes in the book include an AIP alternative, so you can choose whichever version you want to make.
Highlights of the book
- Over 80 traditional recipes made Paleo, with over 90% being AIP or easily adaptable
- All recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free; all but 1 are egg-free. 2 recipes use white rice (in order to include authentic Arroz con Pollo and Puerto Rican Yellow Rice) BUT there are grain-free options for both of those.
- The countries represented include: Puerto Rico, Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, and Brazil, each marked with that country’s flag for easy reference. Some recipes are so ubiquitous that they cannot be attributed to a single country, and are designated as pan-Latin.
- Of the 8 recipes that are not AIP, only 2 are due to non-negotiable nightshades, 1 for eggs, 3 for the seed spice cumin, and 2 for white rice.
- While over 80 recipes are written, this book comes with numerous suggestions and options to create dozens of other recipes using different combinations of meats/fillings/breads/pastry shells/condiments/marinades. It is written to empower the reader to try new combinations!
The Recipes are Grouped into 6 sections
- Platos de la Familia (Family Dinners) includes recipes meant to feed a crowd, and many of these recipes are great for batch cooking.
- Comida Fiesta! (Party Food!) includes Paleo versions of Latin recipes that people get ridiculously excited about, like pupusas, pandebono (“cheese” buns), empanadas, arepas, plantain sandwiches, and more.
- Rapido y Facil (Quick and Easy Meals) includes recipes that are, like the name says, quick and easy to prepare. Some are still great for batch cooking too, extra bonus!
- Accompañantes (Sides) includes many ways to enjoy tropical starches like yuca, malanga, boniato, and plantains PLUS both a starchy and non-starchy rice replacement AND starchy and non-starchy BEANS replacement!
- Un Poco Dulce (A Little Sweet) is a short but delicious desserts chapter.
- Los Esenciales (The Essentials) includes cooking bases, sauces, marinades, condiments, broths, and more, which are used throughout the book and can be the launching point for readers to get creative with numerous uses! Of note is the QUESO BLANCO recipe that is unlike any other “cheese” recipe I have seen in the Paleo/AIP community. It melts and stretches like mozzarella!
Now let’s take a look inside!
Enter to Win: Latin American Paleo Cooking
I am excited to give away 1 copy of the “Latin American Paleo Cooking” cookbook. Thank you Amanda Torres and Page Street Publishing Co. for providing a copy to my readers!
- This giveaway will be open from November 14th and will close on November 30, 2017, at 12:00 am EST.
- This giveaway is open to Canadian and US residents.
- One winner will be selected via Rafflecopter and contacted via email so please provide a valid email address below and record your entries in Rafflecopter. It’s recommended that you add email@example.com to your email address book to ensure that you will receive the announcement in your inbox should you win.
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Can’t wait for the give away? Buy the book here.
Sneak Peek: 2 Amazing Recipes
Amanda has so graciously given me the permission to share with you not only 1, but 2 recipes from her book. I paired these 2 recipes together for a hearty and delicious afternoon snack. You can also find tostones with herbed mayo in some Latin American restaurants on the appetizer menu.
- Tostones/Patacones (twice-fried green plantains) on page 115: This recipe is fully AIP compliant, so no adjustments necessary for someone who is currently on the autoimmune protocol. Amanda recommends a tostone press for this recipe.
- Garlic Cilantro Mayonnaise (salsa de ajo) on page 157: On the same page of the book, you will also find a pink sauce (salsa rosada) option, which I didn’t include here. The recipe on page 157 explains how to make plain mayonnaise first, then provides 2 flavour options to turn the plain mayo into “salsa de ajo” and “salsa rosada”. Note that the garlic cilantro mayo (salsa de ajo) I shared below is not AIP compliant as it contains eggs. You will find a wonderful AIP compliant (egg-free) salsa de ajo also on page 157 of the book. This is really a 4-in-1 recipe in the book!
Tostones/patacones (twice-fried green plantains) paired with garlic cilantro mayonnaise (salsa de ajo), from the “Latin American Paleo Cooking” cookbook, make a satisfying paleo appetizer or snack.
Reprinted with permission from Latin American Paleo Cooking by Amanda Torres with Milagros Torres, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017.
- 2 green plantains
- 4 to 6 tbsp fat of choice (coconut oil, lard or avocado oil), 56 to 84 g
- Coarse sea salt
- 1 to 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, 1 to 2 g, for garnish
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/4 tsp fine Himalayan salt
- 1 cup avocado oil (recommended) or extra-virgin olive oil, 235 ml
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, 15 ml
- 1 batch plain mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro, 2g
- 3 to 5 small cloves garlic, peeled
Slice the tips off the plantains with a knife, then cut 1 or 2 slits in the skin down the length of the plantain. If the peel does not lift off easily you can loosen it by soaking the plantains in a bowl of water with about 1 tablespoon (6g) of salt for 10 to 15 minutes.
Slice the peeled plantain crosswise into disks 3/4 to 1 inch (2 to 2.5 cm) wide.
In a large skillet, heat your fat of choice over medium heat until shimmering, 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully add the disks to the heated fat, cooking on each side for 2 to 4 minutes, or until they have turned a darker, more golden colour. Do not allow to brown.
Return the flattened plantain disks to the hot oil and fry for an additional 2 to 3 minutes or each side, or until crispy and browned. You will likely need to work in batches to fry the flattened disks.
Add extra cooking fat as needed, because these will absorb quite a bit of fat as they cook. Top with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt and a garnish of cilantro and serve immediately; tostones do not reheat well.
For plain mayonnaise, in a food processor, pulse the egg and salt to blend. With the motor running, pour in the oil in a thin stream. (Some food processors have a small hole in the feed tube specifically designed for making mayonnaise. Pour the oil into the tube and it will drip slowly, repeat until all oil has been added.) Add the lime juice and pulse to combine. Taste and add extra salt, if necessary.
For salsa de ajo, in a food processor, puree all the sauce ingredients until creamy. Taste and add extra salt, if necessary. Adjust the garlic level to your preferred taste.
- This recipe contains raw eggs. Use fresh eggs with clean shells and do not allow contact between the yolk or white and the shell. You can now purchase pasteurized eggs at many grocery stores, if you would like to eliminate the concern of salmonella or other food-borne illness. Also, studies have shown that eggs from pasture-raised birds are extremely unlikely to be contaminated with salmonella, so if local farms are raising birds on pasture, talk to them about their eggs. I buy mine from a farmer who uses his own eggs to make his own mayonnaise.
- Note that the garlic cilantro mayo (salsa de ajo) is not AIP compliant as it contains eggs. You will find a wonderful AIP compliant (egg-free) salsa de ajo on page 157 of "Latin American Paleo Cooking".
I can’t wait to learn more about Latin American foods. What’s your favourite Latin American dish? Share in the comment below, because I genuinely want to know.