Season Two 2013: Blank Plate Class Seven: Plátano

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This week's discussion looked at ingredients again with our special Latin filters.

The students hailed from countries as diverse as Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. The commonalities between all of these countries are the ingredients held dear, especially the plátano. If you don't know what a plátano or plantain is, they are the really large green banana looking fruits in the grocery store. In Latin-based and Latin-caribbean-based cuisine, they are any starchy banana that is used in cooking and a staple of diet. Plátanos are used in everything from breakfast to dinner to dessert in dishes like tostones, mofongo and plantain-based porridge. It's a versatile food and good prepared and pressed as chips, roasted, baked, or mashed like potatoes. In every case, they can be spiced differently based on the country of origin, but no matter what are delicious.

We also looked at plating with a special focus on the plátanos because they can be great finger foods as well as their leaves can become plates or wrap the food to be baked or grilled. We also worked on a variety of plating techniques form individual servings (mac and cheese), finger foods (chicken skewers), and family style (strawberry shortcake).

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Blank Plate

Design. Cook. Transform. Blank Plate Project is a creative culinary “design/cook” program, begun in Hunts Point, South Bronx that sparks community development through a combination of design-led imaginative activities and chef-led demonstrations for weekly community dinners, or culminating in a community event. By learning through a design sensibility, applied personal experiences, and industry-relevant culinary skills, students develop the creative capital, neighborhood stewardship, and food justice advocacy skills necessary for their own success and for the future of their community. Over the course of each Blank Plate workshop, students learn creative culinary skills and plan a final dinner event of their own imagination. Blank Plate is a different kind of cooking class. Together, we design, cook, and transform.