15.1.14

cheezy yumz

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It was rainy today and I was feeling nostalgic.
I think about this trip all the time really. The gorgeous Amazons and the boat rides to get there, roaming through acres of coffee plantation, 10 hour bus rides, hidden meat in my red beans, making hostel friends, extreme water rafting on very unsafe tubes, emeralds, feeding a family their first thanksgiving, missing home, and wishing it would never end.
Three years ago I traveled to Colombia in search of the yummiest, cheesiest arepa on the planet. A vegetarian at the time, I found myself limited to red beans, rice, arequipe, and so many lovely, delicious, amazing forms of cheese bread. If I hadn't gotten the stare down for being a total white girl, I was definitely getting it from those who attempted to take my order at a restaurant. I did try blood sausage and bandeja paisa, I just had to. 
We spent one weekend at a house in the country with my friend's entire family from Bogota, I want to say there were 15 of us total. We swam in hot springs and played games I had never ever heard of, I could almost feel like they were forgiving me for being a vegetarian. Then the soup was made outside in the cauldron. I helped stir it and I sure as hell ate it. I stood for animal rights, at the time, but I was not about to pass on the authenticity of that moment. This special soup is called Aijaco, a Colombian favorite and one of mine as well, is made of chicken, a variety of potatoes, corn, and the herb guascas. 


Arepas
2 1/2 cups white corn meal
2 1/2 cups water
12 oz queso blanco
Salt
Olive oil

Combine corn meal and water in a large bowl, add more water or corn meal to achieve a smooth dough as pictured. Crumble cheese with your hands into the bowl and combine with your hands. Form balls of dough, pat down and smooth out the sides with your fingers, create a nice round 4" patty. You want bigger? Go for it. 
Place your skillet on medium high. Heat a generous amount of oil on your skillet and pan fry these puppie, about 4-5 minutes on each side till golden. 
They are best eaten hot right off the skillet, so place dough in the fridge and make them when you want to eat them. 

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