Foodie Blogroll

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Arepas and Cheese


I think many of you know how I enjoy reading Erica's blog My Columbian Recipes if you read my blog at all you know I've used some of her ideas. She also uses arepas often in her recipes, and when I knew what I had to look for to make them I was all set. We are lucky in Florida to be able to pick up a lot of Latin food item in our grocery store. I was able to get both kinds of masarepa (pre-cooked corn meal) white and yellow, picked them both up at Sweetbay Supermarket.

Arepas are enjoyed regularly in Columbia and in Venezuela, both claim to be where they originated from. There are a few different ways to make them. Supposedly the Colombian arepas are white corn and are thicker and flattened with a heavy pan, then pan fried. In Venezuela they use the yellow corn and start them in the pan and finish by baking them and they become hollow, and you can stuff them.
I first started off using the white corn masarepa and added some shredded white cheese to the dough. You can see how I served them here with some eggs.

Most of the recipes are pretty basic and you can get it off the bag. Some add oil and butter and sometimes cheese to the mix and other's don't. I use just one cup at a time because we are a small family, and you can always make more. It's better than throwing out any left over (which I hate to do).

For the arepas I made here this is what used:
-1 cup arepa flour
-1 cup warm water
-1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
-2 tablespoons melted butter
-1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Slowly add the water and butter to the flour, cheese and salt until it forms a dough.

Knead it a little and let it rest for 5- 10 minutes. I flattened them with my pizzelle maker and then decided to try to cook them that way. It actually turned out.
Here is what I did to make the arepas with cheese:
-1 cup arepa flour
-1 1/4 cup warm water
-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
-2 tablespoons melted butter (optional)
Pour water into flour, add salt, stir, then knead until it forms a smooth dough. Cover and let it rest 5-10 minutes.
Divide into balls and flatten, wet your hands with water if it's sticky. Place between two sheets of plastic wrap and flatten with the bottom of a pan (cool one of course).

They should be around 3-4 inches wide and 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. In a cast iron skillet melt a little butter or use olive oil and cook the arepas 3-5 minutes until crusts starts to form and is a nice golden brown on each side.

I had a non-stick skillet already out so I just used that over medium heat.

Remove the arepas from the pan and slice them down the middle to make two halves so you can put the cheese in between them. Use any white cheese that you like. I happened to pick this one up at Whole Foods and thought I'd try it. It is a soft white cheese...oh, just like it says on the label. It was good and the next time I made these my daughter wanted this cheese again.
After you put the cheese inside put them back in the pan until the cheese is nice and melted and it looks the way you want it.

The cheese did ooze out because it was so soft, but we like fried cheese! I sprinkled a little herbs on mine

This is a very hearty breakfast for us and we like it on the weekends. We had it with some fresh fruit on the side. You can eat arepas for lunch stuffed or topped with anything you desire. Think of it as a corn meal patty and all that goes well with that! Anything that would go with polenta or grits or cornbread, it's endless....
Next week I'll make some baked cheese grits so check back for that!