I’m breaking all the “Meatless Monday” rules today and offering up a gluten-free and Paleo plate of meat.
In celebration of me starting Spanish classes this past Thursday at Fluent City in Manhattan, I’ve decided to combine Caribbean, Mexican and Spanish flavors into one dish!
Let’s be honest, you can’t go wrong with plantains, avocado and carnitas, right?
I spent 10 years learning French. Oui, oui, c’est vrais. (Yes, yes, that’s right).
Then I met Lu. Not only is he the love of my life and a tall glass of water, he is Hispanic. I’ve mentioned that before – his mother is Colombian, his father is Dominican and he was born in Puerto Rico. He lived there until he was about nine years old and then he moved to the beautiful state of New Jersey.
How we met is a story for another blog post. Long story short, his brother got married at Trump National Golf Club, where I used to work. The bride introduced us months later.
Since becoming closer with Lu and his family, I’ve obviously gone to Puerto Rico a couple of times to visit his family (the sisters and mother still live there, but his brother lives in Hoboken, NJ).
During these visits, everyone speaks in Spanish. Everyone. Luckily, they also speak English, but when they’re all together, they’re obviously going to speak in their language – the language they can express themselves in most aptly.
I always feel bad when everyone’s having a conversation in Spanish and I walk up and they have to stop and switch to English. I feel bad because I feel disrespectful. Why shouldn’t I learn Spanish? If I want to spend time with Lu’s family and really show my love for him and his background, the thing to do is learn the language.
Plus, I’m a nerd. I love learning. I was always a strong student and find it exciting to learn something totally new. It’s tough to come by that post-college. Luckily, my adventures in the kitchen and starting a company teach me something new every day.
All I have to say is, Lu, this better be the real deal, ya know what I mean? 😉
Enter Fluent City. They offer reasonably priced group language classes for adults on weeknights after work. They offer French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Hebrew and Japanese classes in New York City (Midtown Manhattan and Brooklyn), Boston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Actually, I took one of their courses in French in Brooklyn (to refresh my knowledge) last year and had a wonderful experience.
The class is right in Times Square on Thursdays, 7:30-9:30pm. So, if you’re trying to @ me on Twitter or Instagram during those hours, I won’t be responsive!
My first class was so much fun! The instructor breaks everything down in an easy and approachable manner. His name is Joan (with an accent mark on the o).
The instructor’s native tongue is Spanish, but he was born in Miami so he doesn’t have an accent, which helps with he’s translating.
After the class, I came home and told Lu everything I learned! He was very impressed, I think. We even woke up the next morning and I said, “Buenos dias!” (need that accent mark on the i!) He said some other stuff too, but I had no idea what it meant. We haven’t gotten that far in my class just yet.
Overall, it was an awesome first class – I learned the alphabet and pronunciation and although I struggled a bit with my French “accent” getting in the way, I think I’ll have it down by the end of the 10-week course.
15% Discount at Fluent City for Inspiralized Readers
For more information on Fluent City, visit their website. If you live in any of the cities they serve, I highly recommend their classes. PLUS, Fluent City is offering Inspiralized readers 15% off adult language classes! Check out all upcoming class schedules at Fluentcity.com and select the class that works best for your schedule.
Use the discount code INSPIRALIZED14 during checkout (be sure to click “apply promo code” to make sure the discount sticks!). Act fast – offer ends April 21, 2014!
Now, for the recipe. Well, it goes without saying that this should have your mouth watering from start to finish and after! Make sure to check out this tutorial on spiralizing plantains before you tackle the recipe.
Note: Although Fluent City compensated me for this Spanish Level 1 course, all opinions are my own.
Carnitas and Avocado-Plantain Rice with Tomatillo Salsa Verde
- For the pork:
- 1 pound pork preferably shoulder, cut into cubes
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- salt to taste about 1/4 tsp
- 3 tsp olive oil optional
- For the rest:
- 1/2 white onion chopped in half
- 2 bay leaves
- juice of 1 orange
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- juice of 1/2 lime
- For the rest:
- 3 green plantains
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1.5 cups chicken broth
- 2 avocados insides cubed
- For the salsa verde:
- 2 medium tomatillos leaves removed
- 1 tsp fresh lime juice
- salt to taste
- 2 tsp diced jalapeno
- 2 tbsp chopped white onion
- 1/4 cup packed cilantro
- Place your pork in a bowl along with the oregano, cumin, chili powder and optional olive oil. Mix together to coat the pork pieces. When done, place them in a large saucepan.
- Add the onions, bay leaves, lime juice, orange juice, and garlic cloves into the saucepan. Pour in enough water to cover the pork by 1". Bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, cover loosely and cook for 20 minutes. Then, uncover and cook for another 20 minutes, giving a stir. If the liquid absorbs completely before the 40 minutes is up, add more water (about 1/2 cup at a time). When done, remove from heat and remove the bay leaves.
- While the pork mixture is cooking, spiralize your plantains. Then, place the noodles into a food processor and pulse briefly until made into rice-like bits. Set aside.
- Place the tomatillos into a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 10 minutes or until the tomatillos turn light green. Once done, pour into a colander. Then, place the tomatillos, lime juice, salt, jalapeno, onion and cilantro into a food processor and blend until a salsa. Taste and adjust to your preference with more salt, lime juice, etc. Set aside.
- 10 minutes before your pork is done, place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil. Then, add in the garlic. Let cook for 30 seconds and then add in the plantain rice. Stir and pour in half of the chicken broth. Stir and let plantain rice reduce. Once reduced, add in the remaining chicken broth and let reduce again. Taste and if the consistency is right, stir in the avocado and cook for three more minutes. If not, add in more chicken broth and continue to reduce. When done, divide onto three plates.
- Top the plantain-avocado rice with the carnitas and then top each with salsa verde. Enjoy!