For NYE this year, I had the privilege of enjoying a Colombian feast cooked by my favorite Colombian friend, Natalia. She claims to be a mediocre cook, but I’ve seen no evidence of this mediocrity. The food we had last night was awesome. So awesome that I was too busy eating to properly photo-document the experience. But, this was the end result:
Item 1: Arepas
This is Natalia’s specialty. She’s made them for us before and they’re fun and yummy. Have you had a pupusa? It’s like that. A small, corn flour patty that is pan grilled (the way Natalia makes them) and then eaten by cutting in half and stuffing with veggies, cheese, and/or meats like a pita.
Natalia made “sweaty chicken” (don’t ask me, I don’t eat chicken), mushrooms, grilled peppers and onions, corn with string cheese*, with guac and a butternut squash/sun-dried tomato/goat cheese spread. It was all really, really good.
Item 2: Cheese Balls (aka bunuelos)
These little gems are deep fried balls of corn flour, egg, and grated queso fresco. Nick (Natalia’s husband) describes them as cheese donuts, which is relatively accurate. They’re fluffy and delicious. Mmmm… fried things.
Item 3: Fried Plantains
This dish is genius. I did not take enough photos, but read the directions carefully; it’s so easy and they’re so good:
- Take unripe plantain (the greener the better), peel, and slice into about 2″ long pieces.
- Place plantain pieces in boiling pan of oil until they’re cooked all the way through. This will take maybe 15 minutes or so.
- Take the plantains out of the oil and while still hot, mash each slice into a flat piece with a couple rolls of a rolling pin (or coffee mug). Don’t roll so much that they fall apart.
- Set aside to cool. Don’t stack them ‘cuz they’ll stick together. Also, put some salt on them.
- Using that same pan of oil, fry the flattened plantain slices until they’re golden brown.
- Take them out and serve to your friends. Accept compliments.
These are SO GOOD. They are good by themselves, or with a splash of goat cheese, or covered in guac, or with all the same fixins as were on your arepa. Amazing. And easy, too.
So that was our New Year Colombian feast. Not a bad way to end 2012. Happy 2013!! Also, this was us after we were fed and happy:
*Corn with string cheese. By far the most unsuspecting part of the meal. It was amazing. Cut corn off the cob, put it in a pan with some butter. Then slowly stir in an egg so that it coats all the corn and stays light and fluffy. Then string some string cheese and melt that in with the corn. Ridiculously good.