June 16, 2010Mid-Century Menu Redux – Ham Banana Casserole Updated!
Welcome to this week’s Mid-Century Menu! In this episode, I have finally decided to bow to the wishes of my stupid brain and itchy fingers, and finally revamp a disgusting recipe. Why am I doing this? Well, I am a glutton for punishment. And I want to see if it is possible, with just small tweaks, to save a horrible mid-century recipe. Maybe I will fail. Maybe everything will taste terrible. But at least I will have tried!
So, my goal in this is to preserve as many of the original ingredients in the recipe as possible. When I went to tweak the Ham Banana Nightmare, I identified a few quick changes immediately.
Ham – That can stay ham. Easy
Bananas – Plantains. A small switch that will make a big difference.
Cheese Sauce – Chihuahua Cheese, but not in a sauce. Just straight up.
Mustard – No. Way. The mustard was terrible in this. No mustard in the new one. Instead I am serving it with hot sauce on the side.
The old recipe:
The new recipe:
Ham and Cheese Plantains
4 ripe plantains
1/2 cup ham, chopped into small pieces
1 cup Chihuahua or Monterey Jack Cheese
2 T Melted Butter or Oil
Peel plantains and place in a baking dish. Brush plantains with half of the melted butter or oil. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 mins. Flip plantains, brush with reserved butter or oil and cook for another 15-20 mins. Meanwhile, brown ham in a pan, making sure it gets nice and crispy. Take cooked plantains and carefully cut a slit in one side, taking care not to cut all the way through. Stuff the plantain with cheese and crispy ham. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese and ham on the plantains. If they aren’t hot enough to melt the cheese, return to the oven for 5 mins. Serve immediately with hot sauce.
*Note: The inspiration for this was several Latin American recipes found online, especially this one at Laylita’s site. And her pictures look WAAAAAAAAAAAY better than mine!
So, here is the experiment!
I also remade the Flan, with evaporated milk and less eggs!
The peeled plantains. Mine didn’t get as ripe as I would have liked them, but oh well.
Finished. You know, this still doesn’t look very good. Good thing I am not a food stylist.
Tom, hesitantly taking a bite of the new creation.
“So, how is it?”
“Pretty good. Definitely better than the last one. But the plantains are a little dry.”
I took a bite. They were a little dry, but it was still a hundred times better than the bananas. Tom and I tried different combinations of seasonings and spices, but we both like the new recipe with just hot sauce, even though Tom missed the mustard.
“Where is the mustard? And the cheese sauce? Those MADE that casserole!”
I rolled my eyes. “Just eat your plantains.”
The Verdict: Good. Way better than the Ham Banana Nightmare, so this experiment is a success!!! Try and get your plantains as ripe as you can get them, otherwise they get a little dry. Next time, I might just leave the skins on if they aren’t ripe enough. Tom kept asking where the eggs were, and saying this reminded him of breakfast, so I would recommend serving them for breakfast with some eggs. 🙂
The Flan: Better than the other version, but still not perfect. Didn’t someone say that have an amazing Flan recipe?? Share it with us!
The only difference is that I reduced the number of eggs to three and used a can of evaporated milk instead of water!