Latin American style brunch is probably my most favorite meal to eat. It all started, I think, with migas and then branched out to chilaquiles, polenta rancheros, gallo pinto, and of course the breakfast taco. I wanted something really simple for brunch this week and I had some sausage on hand so I thought of making Sausages & Greens. This is a recipe that I first discovered in Vegan Brunch but has now entered my regular rotation to the point where I improvise regularly. I had sausages and Kale and I wanted to make it but I had already had the same meal with grits earlier in the week and I was really craving a breakfast sandwich. That is when I realized arepas were, again, the only possible choice. The meal is like the bastard lovechild or Vegan Brunch and Viva Vegan my two favorite cookbooks. Arepas make so much sense as a breakfast sandwich, they are about the same size as English muffins and even made in a simiar way. I wonder if people in Venezuela eat them in the am. I think I am going to have to go on a fact finding mission to get to the bottom of it. I could even make a movie about “The Quest for the Breakfast Arepa” Just imagine me, cruising around Caracas, asking lots of strange questions about animal products, getting arrested as a spy, and then hopefully being extradited back to the US. It would probably be worth it.
I came up with a new scheme for cooking arepas this time too. Before they took forever (aka 20 minutes) grilling in my cast iron skillet but it dawned on me that I could use the George Forman grill which does both sides at the same time so it takes half as much time. All you have to do to make the arepas is mix 2 cups of masarepa with 2 cups of hot water, add a little salt, mix together and then grill for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile in cast iron skillet sauté an onion and a few cloves of garlic. Add sausage pieces when softened. When the sausage is browned add the greens, folding them in slowly so you can fit them all in the skillet. When the greens have cooked down a little add a half a cup of broth, some red pepper flakes, a little soy sauce, and a teaspoon of liquid smoke. Cover and steam for about 10 minutes. The steaming makes the greens nice and plump. I love it!
Overall the meal was a little dry so next time I am thinking I will add a spread onto the arepas as well or vegan cream cheese which would make it a little more breakfasty. Or maybe the salsa golf from Viva Vegan. It was still super tasty and involved greens so it was healthy in my book as well.
I bet you this won’t be the last time I make breakfast arepas.
If you live in Texas for a while it starts to make sense that you would barbecue everything.
Beans are often the easiest choice because although I love barbecued tofu, seitan, and tempeh as much as the next girl beans are the cheapest food to make a lot of and we haven’t been rolling in dough lately. Rolling in masa maybe but that’s another story. Wait, that is this story! I fixed up a huge pot of black-eyed peas with spinach and barbecue sauce and a little coffee for smokieness but I couldn’t decide how to serve the black-eyed peas. I thought of making cornbread but I was all out of cornmeal. I thought of tacos but wasn’t feeling it and didn’t have any shortening to make empanadas. Than it occurred to me that I could just make arepas!
Since I got Viva Vegan I have been kind of obsessed with these easy to make fat cousins or tortillas. The Venezualan ones I made first were probably the best because of the fantastic filling. I made the smaller Colombian ones as a side dish and they were delectable as well. I think that is when I realized how easy they come together.
All you do is mix salt, 2 & 1/2 cups of water with 2 cups of masarepa more or less until it resembles mashed potatoes then form into plump discs, fry or a griddle for 5 minutes on each side and then either stick in the oven for a while or eat hot off the griddle. The secret is to get the right masa, here are some more detailed instructions or a “recipe” as they say. Making arepas is even easier than making tortillas because you don’t have to get the press out and make them one at a time. After making a batch or two I don’t even have to measure anymore. I am so glad they have entered my repertoire.
It has been a depressing week. Dinger hurt his back really bad (he has a long body so it happens easily) and he might have to get surgery if it doesn’t get better. It is pretty terrible because he is usually the happiest dog in the world and instead he is just laying around in a lot of pain. His sister, Miss Willow, is depressed too because she has nobody to get super crazy with. So I have just been at home hanging out with the pups. Sorry for the downer post! He is going to get better! And it is almost July, I can’t wait for June to be over!
I went to Vegan Drinks and that was fun, I met a wonderful new friend who was kind enough to come over and give Dinger a massage. I was thinking maybe a chiropractor would help too so if you know one send me an email. Also at vegan drinks I almost won this robot, it was really embarrassingly funny because I thought I won it and I made a really big deal screaming but my friend got instead. He is so cute though! I wish it would have been me!