Macho, Macho Bananas! {Roasted Plantains}

Platano Macho Asado

I know everyone is probably busy getting things ready for the big day tomorrow.  I know I am, and Thanksgiving isn't even a holiday in Mexico.  (Although, I think it should be a worldwide holiday celebration.)

Just because Thanksgiving isn't an official holiday here in Mexico, doesn't mean that I won't be celebrating with my family.  Every year, I prepare a traditional American feast with mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade bread rolls, green bean casserole and pumpkin and Pecan Pies.  The only difference its that I bake a chicken instead of a turkey.  (You can read why here.)

This year, I'll be adding two new desserts to the menu, one of which is an old family favorite...Roasted Plantains.  Here in Mexico, we call plantains, Platanos Macho which literally translated means Macho Bananas.   I guess it's because they're bigger and manlier than regular bananas.

Platanos Machos can be served in a variety of ways: battered and fried, sauteed in butter and/or  roasted in an oven or on the grill.  In the winter, there are carts roaming the streets, with a distinct high-pitched whistle to announce their arrival, that sell the most delicious, piping hot, roasted plantains and camotes (sweet potatoes).  They are then topped with your choice of sweetened condensed milk or cajeta (caramel sauce).  Absolutely swoonworthy!

While the photos for this recipe show how to grill plantains, I'm also including directions on how to roast them in the oven.

Platano Macho Prep 2

Platano Macho Asado 
Grilled (or Roasted) Plantains


  • 4 to 6 ripe plantains (about one plantain per serving)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk

On the grill:  Roast the plantains whole (unpeeled) over a low flame until the peel has charred completely and the plantains have burst open.

In the oven:  Preheat oven to 350F.  Wrap each plantain in aluminum foil.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the plantains have burst open.

Plantains on the grill

Peel the charred skin from the plantains.  To serve, drizzle with sweetened condensed milk.  Enjoy!!!

Roasted Plantains


Criadillas a la Mexicana (Mexican Style Bull Testicles)

I don't consider myself an adventurous person, especially when it comes to food.  But when I think of all of the different foods I have tried during my 11 years of living in Mexico, I realize that I've become more like Andrew Zimmern than I ever thought possible.

Case in point, yesterday's mystery ingredient on Name That Food...Criadillas (bull testicles).  Yes, you read correctly.   I think you'll agree with me that it sounds so much nicer in Spanish.


This weekend was my second time eating Criadillas and I just have to say that it was a much more pleasant experience than my first time.

My first time (eating Criadillas) was during my first year of living in Mexico.  My sister-in-law had prepared them (as a treat) for a late Saturday morning breakfast with the entire family.  Back then, I was still a skeptical young Gringa, afraid to try anything new, mostly out of fear that I was going to eat some icky, gross, exotic animal part.  (Nothing like the fearless food blogger that I am today.)  I took one bite and decided that I didn't like them.  Yes, the flavor was a bit on the strong side, but my decision had more to do with me freaking out just thinking about what I was eating than the actual flavor and texture.

Criadillas Mise en Place

Thank goodness, times have changed.  I'm older, wiser and a little more mature.   I've learned to base my decisions about food  on taste rather than judging a food by what part of the animal it's from.  (Most of the time.)  This time as I bit into my Taco de Criadillas, I took the time to really savor the flavors and feel the texture.  And you know what?  It was absolutely delicious AND I liked it! I really, really liked it.

The texture was like biting into a hot dog and the flavor of the Criadillas, sauteed with Salsa Mexicanawas like a spicy sausage.

I still can't believe how much I liked them, even knowing exactly what I was eating.

Somewhere, Andrew Zimmern is smiling.

Tacos de Criadillas

Criadillas a la Mexicana

  • 2 pounds criadillas 
  • Manteca (lard) or vegetable oil
  • 3 large roma tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 to 3 fresh serrano and/or jalapeño chilies
  • Cilantro

In a 4-quart stockpot,  bring the Criadillas and just enough water to cover the meat to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 30 minutes or until the Criadillas are soft to the touch.

Name That Food...

While the Criadillas are simmering on the stove, prepare the Salsa Mexicana by chopping the tomatoes, onion, serrano chilies and a handful of cilantro.

Salsa Mexicana Prep

Once the Criadillas have finished cooking, drain and chop them into bite-size pieces.

Criadillas Prep 1 

Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of manteca (lard) in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat.  (If using the same pot the Criadillas were cooked in, be sure to dry completely with paper towels.)

Copper Cazo

Add the chopped Criadillas and Salsa Mexicana.  Saute for about 10 to 15 minutes; season with salt.

Criadillas a la Mexicana in Copper Cazo

Serve with warm corn tortillas for delicious Tacos de Criadillas a la Mexicana.  Enjoy!!! 

Tacos de Criadillas 2


Name That Food: Andrew Zimmern Edition???

I spent another great Sunday with my in-laws at El Rancho yesterday.  As always, there was fun to be had, great conversation and lots and lots of delicious food.  Some of which I'll be sharing with you later this week.  But before I do, I thought it would be fun to play another round of everyone's favorite game...Name. That. Food!  (Applause.)

Today's mystery ingredient was the first of the many tasty treats on yesterday's menu, and one Andrew Zimmern really enjoyed eating on his show, Bizarre Foods.  (Hint, hint!)  

Name That Food...

Take a close look and see if you can Name That Food!  Leave your answers in the comments and be sure to check back Tuesday morning for the big reveal.


Food 'n Flix: Simply Irresistible

How would you like to join me for dinner and a movie?  Or maybe a midnight snack?  Well this month is your chance to do just that, because it's my turn to host Food 'n Flix.  

Every month, the host of Food 'n Flix chooses a food related movie to watch.  Everyone interested, watches the movie, then heads into the kitchen to cook up something delicious, inspired by the movie.  

For this month's movie, I have chosen Simply Irresistible, a quirky romantic comedy starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Sean Patrick Flannery.  It's kind of like a modern day Like Water for Chocolate, in that everything Amanda (Gellar) feels, channels through the food she prepares and to whoever eats it.  

How to Participate:
1. Watch the chosen film, Simply Irresistible.  Taking inspiration from the film, head into the kitchen and cook or bake or make something.

2. Post about it on your blog with a link back to THIS post and a link to Food 'n Flix.  Use of the logo is optional.

3. You must post must be current (during month of film). And of course we don't mind if your post is linked to other events...the more the merrier.

4. Have fun with it!

5. Email your entries to me at: and be sure to include: 

                     ~Your name
                     ~Your blog's name and URL
                     ~The name of your dish and the permalink to the specific post you're submitting
                     ~Attach a photo of any size (or just give me permission to "pull" one from your post)
                     ~Indicate "Food 'n Flix Submission" in the subject line

    Deadline for submission is: November 30th (2011) 
*watch for the roundup to be posted shortly after this deadline!


She Made/Ella Hace: Pan de Muerto

This month for She Made/Ella Hace, with my good friend Girlichef, there was really only one recipe we wanted to make this month...Pan de Muerto, a sweet, orange-flavored Mexican pastry made especially for Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead).

Dia de Muertos is celebrated on November 2nd, but it's a 2-day celebration to honor our deceased friends and family members.  The celebration starts on November 1st with El Dia de Todos los Santos (All Saints Day), dedicated to the memory of los angelitos (the little angels) who are no longer with us.

All throughout Mexico, beautiful altares (altars) are assembled and decorated with candles, flores de Cempazuchitl (marigolds), trinkets that belonged to the deceased and ofrendas (offerings) of the deceased's favorite foods and/or beverages, including Pan de Muerto.

My little altar for my abuelito is a simple one with just the Pan de Muerto and Chocolatito as ofrendas..  But I know that Pappy would be very pleased as these were two of his favorites.  My kiddies chose this picture of my grandpa with all of us for Pappy's altar, because they wish he was here with us to enjoy this delicious bread.  And so do I.

Te extraño, Papito! 

Pan de Muerto
(Brioche recipe adapted from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day)

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 3-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • Brown sugar 

Heat the water and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter has melted.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, salt and orange zest.  Pour in the water and butter.  Stir with a wire whisk until the yeast has dissolved completely.  Whisk in the orange juice, eggs, honey, sugar and orange extract.  Add the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until all of the flour has been incorporated.  Cover loosely with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let stand for about 2 hours or until double in size.  (No kneading neccesary!)

Refrigerate the dough and let chill for about an hour.  (This will help the dough "firm up", making it easier to work with.  Do not attempt to work with the dough without chilling it first.)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Generously grease a baking sheet with butter.

Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and remove about 1/3 of the dough to reserve for the "bones".  Shape the remaining dough into a circle, sprinkling with extra flour if the dough gets too sticky.   Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Divide the reserved dough into 7 equal pieces.  Shape 6 of the pieces of dough into a 4-inch rope.   Arrange on top of the dough.  Shape the last piece of dough into a ball and place on top of the "bones".

Brush the loaf (or loaves) with the beaten egg; sprinkle brown sugar all over loaf.  Bake at 350F until golden brown.

Enjoy with a steaming mug of Mexican Hot Chocolate.  (*Yields 1 large loaf or 2 medium loaves or 8 mini-loaves.  My kiddies loved the mini-loaves!) 

Be sure to check out Girlichef's gorgeous, sesame seed studded Pan de Muerto.

*Sorry for the poor quality of photographs.  I am once again without camera and was forced to use my son's Nintendo DSi. :P