pre-cooked corn flour

from which arepas are conceived

I keep reading in all these fitness mags that it’s not the length of one’s run, but the speed and incline that yields the best results. Sooo apparently size doesn’t matter? I’ve wasted SO many hours running multiple miles like a jackass, and all these experts say you should continually increase speed and incline in two minute intervals for ONE mile, and call it a day. Well, color me slooowww.

I guess I was feeling a little submissive today, because I finally decided to let “Self,” “Fitness,” et al, have their way with me. For the first quarter mile, I walked on 4 mph for 1% incline, and gradually increased to 3%. Then I started jogging at 6 mph for the next quarter mile, and then kept increasing the incline until I eventually got to 5%. Holy hell. I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow, but it burned like hell as it was happening. Time to make my din din…

There’s this amazing Venezuelan restaurant in the East Village called “Caracas” where they make these traditional corn meal sandwich thingies called arepas. I LURVE THEM. The one I get is stuffed with black beans, plantains, sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, and jalapenos. Unfortunately, Caracas is no secret so it’s like always a 7 hour wait. And it’s super far from me, as I’m wayyy uptown in the Upper East Side. Also, I have like $12 to my name on a good day. For all these reasons, I decided to make my own arepas this week.

After a little online investigation, I found a super easy recipe which called for pre-cooked cornmeal. I basically live in Spanish Harlem, so I actually found the bag you see above at a neighborhood store. You add two cups of the cornmeal to a little more than one cup of warm water, add a little salt, and stir stir stir.

arepa dough

arepa dough

Tada! Behold, virginal arepa dough to your immediate right. See how the pure fluorescent kitchen light beams off its flawless body? Gorgeous. I formed them into little 3-inch circles as instructed and put them in a leeeettle olive oil to pan fry. I cooked them for about 4 min on each side (see below).

my first litter of arepas

my first litter of arepas

Meanwhile, I started the filling by chopping half a red onion, a quarter of a red bell pepper, and a couple of pepperoncini. I sauteed them on the stove top, and nuked some of the leftover refried black beans (of faux-huevo ranchero fame). I sauteed the filling until the onions juuuust started to brown and carmelize. I cut slits in the top of the finished arepas, and stuffed a couple with the filling. I devoured them alongside some Spanish rice and, of course, my Habanero lime salsa. It was so very tasty. And the two cups of cornmeal yields about 18 arepas, so I have enough leftovers for the entire week. Voila, my first attempt at Venezuelan cusine. Jealy?

Black bean, onion, jalapeno and red pepper arepas

Black bean, onion, jalapeno and red pepper arepas


1 Response to “arepas”

  1. 1 Daddy
    February 10, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    The arepas look good enough to eat. Very cute.

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February 2009
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