Terri Edmunds: When I first saw the secret ingredients, I thought, I love beef! This will be easy. ... Then I saw the plantains and thought, the one time I tasted a green plantain, it was horribly starchy and very unpleasant tasting ... I'm in trouble because it's going to be difficult finding a way to use an ingredient that I just can't stand. Finally, the fourth secret ingredient, chocolate syrup, almost seemed like a gift. However, I quickly realized while Hershey's Chocolate syrup is deliciously sweet in milk or over ice cream, dessert is not what we were making here. I soon realized there was good reason why the Daily Herald calls this a Cooking Challenge.
Recipe development was an interesting process. I did not have any 'failed' attempts. That is not to say everything came out perfectly each time. I tried seven versions of the roasted plantains using some combination of ingredients. I tasted each one to determine what flavor worked best before I chose the lime zest, butter, and pink Himalayan sea salt combination. This was at 11 p.m. at night and I must say, I dreamed about plantains all night long.
Mary Miske: The inspiration for this dish came from a brainstorm of using the required ingredients. I initially tried three different preparations: chocolate/red wine marinated steak strips with lime beurre blanc sauce and mashed red skinned potatoes and plantains; spiced chocolate beef roulades stuffed with vegetable/plantain hash and the tostadas with plantain guacamole. I brought all three to a potluck for a taste test on a Saturday night and the tostadas were the crowd favorite.