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Meatless Monday: Arepas With Cheese and Corn

arepas

Mark Bittman's Arepas: the batter's made with cheese and whole corn kernels.

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

If you haven’t tried arepas, get or make yourself some as soon as possible. They’re popular in Columbia, Venezuela and other Latin American countries but widely available in the US at Latin American restaurants, and they’re ubiquitous at New York City summer street fairs. They’re thick, round corn cakes that are either baked, grilled or fried. They can be split in half, like an English muffin, and stuffed with just about anything — cheese, meat, eggs, seafood, beans, roasted vegetables — or they can be left whole and eaten on their own. I like mine stuffed with mozzarella cheese; it gets all stringy when you bite into or break the arepa in half.

If you’re not near Venezuela or a NYC street fair right now, arepas are easy enough to make at home. Mark Bittman’s arepas are made with a thick cornmeal batter that’s studded with whole corn kernels. Once they’re cooked, you can slice and stuff them with beans, grilled vegetables, cheese (queso, Monterrey jack, cheddar or mozzarella all work), or you can top them with any of the aforementioned fixin’s and eat them with a fork.

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