Variety Flour Thursday: Dessert failure and Dinner Success
February 17, 2011
Variety Flour Thursday. I had some serious plans for today. There are a few recipes that I have been toying around with in order to showcase the wonderful texture whole wheat flour, like brown sugar bars and blueberry cinnamon cake. I tried to combine the two recipes, and everything seemed to be going swimmingly. The batter came together nicely, and every thing looked beautiful before I put it in the oven.
Disaster strikes! My cinnamon blueberry brown sugar cake bar hybrid WILL NOT set, even after extending the time an extra 20 minutes. The sides didn’t even brown. I worried that the blueberries added too much liquid to the batter, or there was too much butter in the batter. Lots of worrying and wondering. I took the bars out, stared at them for 20 minutes, cried silently to myself, then decided that I’d put them back in the oven and see if they were salvageable. Well, after another 30 minutes in the oven, the bars set and didn’t burn, but the texture was off, too chewy, and the color was… unappetizing at best. Blah. So what does one do when their recipe fails miserably and they need to write about something? They go on with their day and hope to goodness gracious that inspiration hits.
I was chastised earlier this week for not including more international recipes, and I’m taking that criticism to heart. A few years back I had the opportunity to study abroad in Ecuador and I could probably talk about it for months. There was this great Colombian restaurant in Cuenca, Ecuador, where I was introduced to the arepa, a corn griddle cake not at all like a pancake and topped with whatever your heart desired. Arepas are all over South and Central America, and made in many different ways. This is the way that I sampled them, and the way I wanted to make them tonight. I love how easy they are to make and how satisfying they are as a meal, and, well, how customizable they are, how yummy they are, and… and… you get the point.
Variety Flour Thursday is saved and I have a delicious meal AND it was almost 60 degrees F today. What more could I ask for, really?
(Recipe found on back of Goya Masarepa)
Yields 7-8 arepas
2 cups Masarepa, or pre-cooked yellow cornmeal (P.A.N, besides Goya, is another popular brand), yellow or white
3 cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt
Optional: 1 cup shredded cheese (I used mozzarella and romano cheese, to use up what I had in the fridge, but really any cheese would do)
Butter for greasing skillet
1. In a large bowl combine all ingredients and stir until completely combined and smooth.
2. Let dough rest for 5 minutes. If using a cast iron skillet, preheat over medium heat.
3. Form dough into patties, 4 to 5 inches across and ½ inch thick. This step is flexible because you could do thicker arepas and the cooking method and time would be similar.
4. Fry arepas in butter over medium heat, browning each side just a little, 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
Serve with extra cheese, meat, beans, hot sauce, whatever toppings call out to you. This, friends, is the beauty of arepas.
Store arepas refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 7 days or freeze them for up to a month. If freezing, lay arepas on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer until frozen, then remove them to a freezer bag or tupperware to keep in freezer.