Gadget Tree: Tostonera


Deep fried. Twice. Carb-loaded. Starchy.

TostoneraYep, that’s my kind of comfort food: tostones. And I just found an easier way to make them: a tostonera.

You have nooo idea what I’m talking about, do you?

Tostones are twice fried* chunks of smashed plantains, which are the bigger, firmer cousin of the banana, but with a lot less sugar. They’re a staple in Cuba and the Caribbean, as well as other parts of the world. They’re available in many supermarkets or ethnic grocery stores.

Back to the tostonera. You have to smash the plantains after the first fry, so a tostonera makes it easier. This little gadget is also great for getting the kids to help. What kid doesn’t like smashing things?

Here’s a demo. Don’t forget the first fry before the smashing begins (I don’t show it in the video)!

The tostonera I found in Cuba is metal, but they are also made of wood, plastic and bamboo and come in different sizes.

Now…get out there and start smashing!

*Twice Fried: That phrase probably makes you shudder, but remember I said it was a comfort food… that means only occasionally. Tostones also make a great appetizer served with a dipping sauce!




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Plated + Served: DIY Doughnuts and Jelly-Filled Doughnut Holes


Tomorrow is National Doughnut Day, so celebrate this momentous occasion with these easy DIY Doughnuts with Jelly-Filled Doughnut Holes.

(Someday I’d like to figure out just who it is that gets to declare what is or isn’t worthy of a “national day”—I want that job.)

Some of you will shudder when you see that the doughnuts are deep-fried. Get over it. National Doughnut Day only comes once a year… celebrate in style.

As Mama always says, “Eat today… exercise tomorrow!”

Jelly Filled Doughnut Hole

Plated + Served: Cinco de Churros


Start your Cinco de Mayo off right by making Churros for Breakfast!

Churros are crispy fried dough fritters sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. They come in two shapes: thin and coiled in the traditional cruller shape or long and thick “porras” (the Spanish word for baton).

In some parts of Latin America, Churros are filled with guava paste, chocolate, dulce de leche (caramel and sweet cream) and even cheese. To get the crunchy ridges, a pastry bag with a star tip works best, but I’ve also used a Ziploc® Brand Freezer Bag.

Deep-fried and sweet… a deliciously lethal combination. So remember: Portion Control!

Crispy Fried Fish with Sriracha Tartar Sauce


Yes, that’s right, I used the “F” word.


But we’re in the waning days of Lent, there’s some good basketball on TV tonight and, well, Mama thinks just about anything that’s fried tastes good.

And you do, too (even if you don’t want to admit it)!Fish1



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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: