Tag Archives: soursop

Tostones y Batidas

19 Nov

Two things I’ve been consuming quite a bit of lately…tostones y batidas.  Both common items on any Dominican menu.

Tostones are twice- fried green (unripe) plantains and they are small round discs of deliciousness.  According to wikipidia, the word tostones comes from the Spanish verb tostar, meaning “to toast”.  Dominicans love to eat them salted with ketchup and they are a side dish that often accompanies (of course) chicken. They’re a bit like french fries in that greasy, snack food type of way.  The kids back at Corlears School in NYC were thinking of making tostones in their classroom, so Renzo, Samba, and I made a video to show them how to prepare them.

You can watch it here:

Batidas are, put simply, fruit-blended milkshakes.  Dominicans especially love lechuga (papaya) and guanabana (soursop) batidas.   Lechuga is supposed to be good for *ahem* regularity, so Renzo’s mom began making them for me in the morning, always saving an extra glass to be consumed later in the afternoon.  She’s not around at the moment, but I’ve continued the morning ritual.  While Dominicans tend to use just one fruit mixed with milk and/or water and a bit of sugar, I mix various fruits like lechuga, zapote, banana, pina, y banana and try to find a combination that doesn’t require extra sweetening, but if it does I’ll just use a bit of honey.  I cut up and freeze the fruit so the batidas usually don’t require any additional ice.  Cutting up and freezing fruit before they get overripe is a great way to avoid having them end up in the trash because they weren’t consumed soon enough.   I have no idea why that’s never been a habit of mine before.  It’s so easy to make a shake when you’ve got the frozen fruit all ready to go!

Renzo’s dad sent us home from our trip to the capitol (Santo Domingo) with a guanabana.  I’m really not a fan of eating the fruit straight up…it has a nice flavor but an incredibly strange, spongy kind of texture that both Renzo and I just find unappealing.  However, blended into a batida it’s quite delicious.  It’s just  takes a bit of a time commitment to cut up the fruit and remove the very many little black seeds which sit in tiny pockets inside the creamy, white, flesh.  Recently research has emerged suggesting the guanabana has potent cancer-fighting properties and this has led to a sharp increase in the price of the fruit over here in DR.  Renzo’s uncle was telling us you used to see heaps of guanabana on the ground but nowadays they are scooped up quick and sold for a pretty penny.  There’s an article here from the Jamaica gleaner talking more about it.  It seems the leaves and stems have cancer killing properties, but it’s unclear to me if the flesh contains those compounds as well:


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Well that’s all for now…preparing a post for tomorrow about all of the seeds we’ve been germinating!!!  If I forget to mention it tomorrow…Happy Thanksgiving to everyone back home…really looking forward to seeing my family!!!

hasta mañana

xoxo A

Frutas Gratis

26 Aug

Spending a week in DR traveling to and fro, one thing becomes clear- fruit, fruit, fruit…is everywhere.  No matter where you are it seems if a bounty of fruit is just an arms reach (or a tree climb) away.  While continuing our search for housing, we visited a home for rent that sat on a large piece of land with many fruit trees.  As we toured the house I was laughing as Renzo’s mom Taty started picking fruit off their trees, gathering goodies to take home.  It seemed as though everywhere we went (family & friend’s houses, etc)  Taty would make sure to grab some fruit off the trees before we left.

When we went to visit Renzo’s cousins, it was the same story.  Head to the backyard and see what you can find.  He and his cousin Robert started throwing rocks and bottles up into the trees to try and knock some fruit down.

Here is a picture of Renzo with his prize-the largest mango I’ve ever seen:

Here is a picture of Renzo & cousin Robert.  Notice the red bag in Renzo’s hand.  Lol, can you guess what it is filled with?

We got a bunch of mangoes there, but no avocados yet.  Seeing how keen Taty was to get some avocados, her cousin Robert told us he knew “just where to go”.  Turns out “just where to go” was his co-worker’s house so since we were all in the car already we just stopped by.  His co-worker wasn’t home but his wife and children were, so Robert drove around a bit until we found him hanging out at a friend’s house.  Robert told him we were looking to get some avocados.  Of course this was no problem at all, so his friend jumped in the car with us and took us to his home, where he loaded us up with enough avocados from his yard to feed an army (apparently he had 17 different types of avocados growing on his land!).

Here is a picture of the trunk of the car loaded up with the days “freebies”:

At one point we even came across a young boy walking on the side of the road with a large basket of fruit, with one gigantic soursop fruit sitting on top.  Taty told her cousin Robert to pull over to inquire about buying it.  When we pulled over, Taty asked the boy how much he wanted for the soursop.  “Gratis” he said.  Turns out his grandmother had given it to him from her yard, and here he was gifting it to a perfect stranger simply out of the kindness of his own heart!  Amazing!

I asked Renzo if this gathering/giving of fruit is typical in DR, or if I was just witnessing Taty doing her thing.  According to him and his mom, apparently it is considered perfectly acceptable to pick some fruit for yourself wherever you are.  Wow!  I was really blown away by the spirit of  all these people sharing mother nature’s bounty.

I will leave you with a photo of Taty’s kitchen counter.  It was too unbelievable not to take a picture.  All of this fruit was gathered in the one week we were there, and all of it was “gratis”.

The ability to share God’s gifts is a gift in and of itself…