We’re in the appetizer section of the cookbook now, and here are a few of the recipes we’ve tried recently.
Picture credit with instructions for baking
First we tried Dátiles Envueltos en Tocino, or Dates Wrapped in Bacon. This is exactly what the title suggests. Wrap a half-slice of bacon around a whole, pitted date. Secure with a toothpick. Fry in deep fat until bacon is light brown. We don’t care for dates, so were pleasantly surprised at how good these were! The salty-sweet combination was quite delicious.
Next was Caponata. It wasn’t my favorite (the eggplant part was okay, but I don’t like green olives), and I’m not going to bother rewriting the recipe because I don’t plan on making it again. If you do want to try it yourself, this recipe looks to be pretty close to what we had.

After that we tried the Plátanos Maduros Fritos, or Fried Plantains. Once, again, it’s not a recipe I’m likely to try again, unless we have some extra plantains leftover from something else.

Then we tried Croquetas de Jamón o Pollo. These we just might actually have again some day, so here’s the recipe. I preferred the ham version, but we served the chicken version to guests and they really liked them, so I guess you can try both and decide yourself which you prefer.

1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup minced onion
1 cup milk (whole is best – so 1 1/2 tablespoons cream plus skim milk to equal 1 cup)
2 eggs (one in croquette mixture, one for coating)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (bottled lemon juice would probably be fine)
1 1/2 cups ham or chicken, cooked and ground (using a food processor)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons water
Fine dry bread crumbs
Peanut oil for frying
Melt the butter in a pan and blend in flour, onion, and milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until VERY thick. Stir in ONE egg beaten with lemon juice. Add ham or chicken and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour into a shallow dish and refrigerate (covered) for two hours. Shape into croquettes the size of 3-inch cylinders. Chill again. 
Gather three shallow bowls. Put flour in one. Beat together the egg and water in the second. Place bread crumbs in the third. Coat each croquette with flour, dip into the egg wash, and roll in the bred crumbs.
Heat oil in a wok or other pan. Deep-fry each croquette in the hot oil until golden brown. Makes 12.