The day arrived with big hope and much enthusiasm, presidential elections in Venezuela. How can I forget my dear Venezuela? I had my three kids in Venezuela, my first job in Venezuela, and my first kiss in Venezuela. Even though I have lived there in three different times, each time I saw a vibrant city, happy people, magnificent nature, and wonderful weather all around.
Today I am making Venezuelan arepas. They are a round bread made of pre-cooked corn meal.
You can fill them with almost anything: cheeses, meats, fish, chicken, vegetables, sauces, creams.
The dough is usually made with water, though I sometimes make it with vegetables juices and add more nutritious things like toasted sesame seeds, oats, flaxseeds and spelt flour.
This is the pre-cooked white corn meal seen in all Venezuelan households.
These are my colorful arepas: for the yellow I added turmeric, for the blue, cabbage with baking soda, and for the red, beet.
For the orange I added carrot, the green, spinach, and the white I did with water and added the additional spelt flour, flaxseed, sesame seeds, and oatmeal.
There are particular things that I miss. The aroma of coffee every morning, the smell of freshly baked bread from the bakeries. Dawn with the view of the mountain El Avila, the friendly and joyful Venezuelan people, and of course, las areperas. They are everywhere and some are open 24 hours a day.
Arepas filled with carne mechada (shredded beef), avocado and chicken, black beans and cheese, and tomatoes with veggies.
This my version of “Reina Pepiada.” It is made with avocado, chicken and mayonnaise. This arepa was made with beet dough and garnished with micro purple radish.
In a very personal sense, I always remember the good times with families and friends in Venezuela. All those memories are linked through food:
Eating at the big table at my grandparents home, my grandfather David going to the market Sunday morning and coming back with huge boxes of fresh food ready to be shared with everyone.
Las cachapas at my abuela Theo’s, the welcoming big Sunday soup (hervidos) de mi tia Marisol, the pan de jamón, and the smell of hallacas on Christmas.
The gourmet dinners with written menus at my Dad’s and Orietta’s, having a fresh juice with my Tita.
Fresh fish (pargito frito) at the beach, tequeños at the piñatas, cachitos from the bakery.
Early Sundays buying flowers and having breakfast to catch up with my friend Maria Ines.
The Shabbat at Jacob’s mom’s.
The chicken brassery with yuca for lazy days.
The nanny, Luz Marina, helping me make scrumptious meals.
My mom’s super healthy meals, way before people used to even talk about organic.
My grandmother Dolores cooking for me special food because I didn’t like anything….And today I have my heart set on a peaceful, secure, and happy Venezuela to come…
All my love to Venezuela!