Category Archives: Our Bites

Corner Store Classics: Chifles Plantain Chips

Whether you call it the bodega, Papi store, 7-11, Wawa, Cumberland Farms, Turkey Hill, etc.,  BigBite is featuring those corner store snacks we grew up on and the ones we are growing up on now. 

Hey shawty, it must be your birthday, because you can't buy many things for 50¢ these days.

Hey shawty, it must be your birthday, because you can’t buy many things for 50¢ these days.

I find it amazing that I’ve been eating Chifles plantain chips for over 30 years!  Aside from their gluten free tagline, Chifles packaging hasn’t changed much since the early 80’s ( like my baby face.)  Pronounced chief-les, this family business has been around for almost 50 years.  Potassium rich, containing vitamins A and C, these chips are a natural and healthier alternative to chemically enhanced potato chips and snacks. Chifles flavors include: salted, unsalted, garlic, spicy Caribbean, maduro (sweet,) or Mojo Mama seasonings. 

The plantain is a member of the banana family, having a similar appearance, but is much larger, and can only be eaten when cooked.  Chifles are a popular snack in Cuba, Peru and Ecuador, where street vendors offer bags of them to the passing cars. They are savory, more like potato chips than banana chips. Plantains become softer and sweeter as they ripen, and are best made while the fruit is still yellow and firm. The skin is removed, the plantain is sliced length-wise into strips, sticks or round, and fried in vegetable oil.   The end result is a crisp, salty snack that I bet will go great in some chili or guac, and make you forget all about Her(r’s.) 

For those that cannot find Chifles plantain chips in their corner store, BigBite has you covered with a recipe.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
2 green-yellow plantains
Vegetable oil for frying
Salt to taste

Preparation:

1.  Cut off both ends of the plantains, and remove peel/skin. You may need to slice the peel open lengthwise with a knife. Work carefully because plantains can stain skin and clothes.
2.  Slice plantains crosswise into very thin slices. about 1-2 mm. It’s fun to use a mandoline for this, but a sharp knife works great too.
3.  Heat 1-2 inches of oil in a saucepan on medium-high heat.
4.  When the oil is hot (about 360 degrees), fry several slices of plantain at a time until golden, 2-3 minutes.
5.  Remove and drain on paper towels. Season with salt to taste.
6.  Enjoy!

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2014’s First Meal: Pig’s Feet Fiesta

Yeah, we know BigBite is a tad late presenting our first meal that’ll bring us a prosperous year, but in all actuality, we are giving yall a head start for next year.  Eating pork on New Year’s is considered good luck because pigs root forward when searching for food and don’t look back, signifying progress.  On the other foot, BigBite wishes you the best of luck if you ate chicken.  Chickens are considered foul because they scratch backwards representing setbacks.  Matter of fact, if you don’t want your luck to fly away next year, stay clear of anything with wings – except Wing King.  If you did eat fowl, we hope it was delicious and we’ll remind you at the end of December of how not to start off twenty fifteen.

Let’s just root forward and talk about this foot party. For those not in the know, pig’s feet are exactly what you think they are. The hoof of a pig, and they look like this:

pig-feet1

YUM!

These trotters may look unappealing, but once your brain gets past the appearance, pig’s feet are simply delightful!  Full of these bony pig knuckle thingies, eating them are also a lot of fun.  The oh-so-tender fatty meat drips off, and you’ll love hearing the “clang” sound when you spit the bones back into the bowl.  It’s kind of hard to describe the texture of the meat, but if one could eat heaven, I imagine it would feel exactly like a foot in my mouth.  In the states, one can generally find pigs feet on a southern food menu, and raw ones in almost any grocery store.  BigBite recommends you visit a butcher (we got our “organic” hoofs from Giunta’s in Reading Terminal.)   The unenlightened foodie may shy away, regarding them as pig scraps, offal, or “slave food”,  however many European and Asian cultures (pig foot pho anyone?) have their own take on the hog’s paws and regard them as a delicacy.  We could go on and on like Gump’s friend, Bubba, about the different ways to cook pigs feet: pickled, BBQ, fried, pied, jellied, etc., etc., but  today we are going to present a simple way to stew them in a slow cooker.

Pigs Feet Fiesta

Ingredients:
5lbs of pigs feet have the butcher slice the feet down the middle lengthwise, twice width wise, and discard the gnarly toes.
2 chopped onions
Chopped peppers (we used red, yellow, and 2 habaneros)
2 chopped tomatoes
3 cloves of Minced garlic (maybe more)
A handful of chopped cilantro
Apple cider vinegar
Olive oil
2 tbs of ground black pepper (maybe more)
Salt to taste

1.  Clean feet under running water scraping off any hair and sty slop
2. In a large pot of water, boil dem feets.  The blood and bone marrow will produce a foamy scum at the top of the water.

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Skim off the scum and rinse feet in water, refill pot, and repeat.  Now the feet are ready for the slow cooker!

3. Line the bottom of the slow cooker with the fiesta:  onions, tomatoes, garlic, and peppers. Sprinkle black pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
4. Place the feet on top of the fiesta, fill the slow cooker halfway with apple cider vinegar, and the rest with enough water to cover the feet.
5. Cook on high for about 5 hrs or until the the succulent-ness drips off the bone.
6.  Add salt to taste.

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A Crock Pot Party!

There you have the party in your mouth aka Pigs Feet Fiesta  AYE YI YI YI YI YI YI YI YI YIIIIIIII!  Top off with more vinegar and hot sauce.

Enjoy your feet with other traditional good luck foods like black eye peas, greens (collard, kale, or mustard) and cornbread.

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Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold = A Good Year


A Date with Strada Pasta

I was recently invited to a special sit-in dinner hosted by the cook of one of Philly’s most anticipated food carts: Strada Pasta.

Let me start by saying, hats off t0 Strada Pasta’s chef and owner  Andrew Gerson for hooking it up for a New-Years Eve pop-up dinner at his Mt. Airy commissary.

On the menu:

Along-side various new faces and foodies alike, we enjoyed the following:

The grilled smoked mozzarella with sweet pickled onions was fantastic and a great way to start the meal. It’s amazing how a simple addition like pickled onions can enhance a dish and this was especially the case here.  I wish I had more.

 The home-made minted gnocci was outstanding and extremely fresh. The mint was tasty yet subtle enough to let the gnocci, which was cooked in brown butter, stand alone. Very delish.

Another home-made banger was the pappardelle noodles with an oxtail ragu. The pasta was nicely cooked and the tomato sauce was super rich and flavorful.

To complete the meal, we were served one of my favorite custard desserts – canele, which sat over a nice orange-champagne sauce and topped with pomegranate seeds. Yum.

After this fine meal, I am even more anxious for Strada Pasta to open their food cart.  I’m always ready to eat some perfectly cooked pasta with fresh ingredients and bold flavors. We are definitely looking forward to see what else Andrew has up his sleeve.

While we wait for their cart to open, we highly recommend that you check the pop-up dinners by Strada Pasta by contacting them at stradapasta@gmail.com.

Enjoy!

-Ryllis


We Did It – Drunken Gummy Bear

Two weeks ago we posted about an amazing idea – the Drunken Gummy Bear. We said we would try the recipe and we damn sure did.

Apparently, when we decided to get these bears it happened to be National Gummy Bear Day, because we couldn’t find any!! So, we went with the next best thing: Gummy Lifesavers.

The recipe is simple. All thats needed is gummies (preferably bears) and a liquor of choice.

 Bring them both together in a glass bowl and pour the liquor in until the liquor is covering 75-80% of the gummies…

Refridgerate them for five days, occasionally stirring, and BOOM!!! Ya done.And…um…yes…they grow in size because they really soak the booze up.

Get the full recipe here.

Please eat your candy responsibly and designate a non-alcoholic candy eater if you are going to be driving.

-Ryllis


Mofongo Night

So before I post this island goodness, you might as well play this while reading. It’ll just add to the essence of the meal.

BigBite loves to eat and compete…but we can also get down in the kitchen. Here’s a recap of one of our latest homemade dinners which we  call Mofongo Night.

Mofongo, the signature dish of Puerto Rico, is a unique mash-up of fried plantains, garlic, olive oil and pork rinds. You can eat it as is, but can enhance your experience by adding meat, seafood or vegetables, usually in a broth. Traditionally it is served in a pilón, or mortar and pestle. Since we had a few guests, we skipped the pilón and just made mofongo “balls”.

To accompany the mofongo we made a seafood stew, consisting of squid, shrimp, mussels, baby squid, tilapia, scallops, veggies, and Spanish seasonings and ingredients in a tomato-wine-stock broth. 

We also made pernil (slow roasted pork). Pernil is also a signature dish in Puerto Rico. It’s made for special events, holidays, birthdays…Wednesdays…Ok, its pretty common to the Rican diet. We love pork! It’s slow roasted in Spanish seasonings, until the skin is nice and crispy! 

As always in a Puerto Rican meal, there was rice & beans and sweet plantains to add to your plate. 

Just writing this makes me want to eat and make this dinner all over again.…and I will…

Recipes to come!

-Ryllis


The Gang Hits Pub & Kitchen

The BigBite gang headed to Pub & Kitchen, this cozy, rustic gem in search of what some say is the best buger in Philly. If there is something we know, it’s burgers. Here’s what we thought.

While we waited for this highly anticipated burg, of course we had to try the wings in the meantime. I mean we are the WING KINGS.

 We tried the honey whiskey wings which scream awesome with a name like that! They were fried very nicely…but honestly they didnt blow anyones mind. They were pretty mediocre. It’s possible that they needed more sauce or more seasoning? Not sure, but those little biddies were not great. We’ve had better wings at Wing King.

After this let down we were anxious to see what these burgers had to bring…

Let me tell you…this jawn right here, this jawn right here!! Yea, we were pleased with the Parliment burger at P&K. The burger itself was tender, juicy and cooked perfectly. And of course, everything is better when you add bacon, so that addition was wonderful. A nice cheddar and ‘pub sauce’ completed this great burger.

After some disccussion, we all agreed that although the parliment burger was awesome, it was still not BigbBite’s #1 best burger in the city. We won’t disclose just yet where our fav burger lives, but we do want to shout out the parliment burger! well done P&K, well done.


A Chili Ride on the Magic Carpet

With the 3rd Annual Philly Bowl planning on the horizon, I had a craving for some CHILL LEE! I made my way up to one of the best vegetarian and vegan food carts in University City…good ol’ Magic Carpet.

If you know about Magic Carpet, then you know what you’re talking about. They do vegetarian chili right. In fact, they do everything right.

I hit up one of their two locations and got my grub on. Usually I go for the Bella Donna (tofu meatballs in sauce), but I couldn’t resist getting their veggie chili; a hearty and pseudo-spicy delight, that carries a nice hint of cinnamon and is partnered with pita bread! This chili definitely can stand tall and proud in our Philly Chili Bowl.Best way to order: First, rice with veggies, then cheese, add the chili, then some more cheese. Then drop some hot sauce on that jawn. Bing, bang, boom…you’re done! Maybe dig in your pocket for some change and get yourself a micro-brewed soda to add to the festivity in your mouth.Note, sometimes you have to wait a while before receiving lifes’ treasures. Be warned. You will wait. Behind students, hospital staff, office persons, construction dudes, and maybe a West Philly crazy, but it makes the wait more worth wild. And the people who run the cart are just too nice not to support. So just wait your turn for this treasure on wheels.

-Ryllis