Dominican arepa is a cornmeal and coconut cake, traditionally prepared in an iron pot on top of red-hot coal. A metal lid is placed on the pot, then more coal is put on the lid. This led to the expression “como la arepa: fuego por arriba y fuego por abajo” (like an arepa, fire underneath, fire on top), meaning being in a crossfire.
Haven’t we all found ourselves in a similar situation at a point in our lives?
In a case of “the cobbler’s children go unshod”, I often find myself with no idea what to make for dinner. I have found that in those cases the best solution is to explore the depths of my fridge and see what has been there long enough to develop consciousness, and eat it before it attacks my family.
About a week ago I bought a few acorn squashes on a whim, and they were lingering sadly on our kitchen counter, always getting pushed back by other foods we wanted to eat first.
With the temperature dropping ever so slightly I decided to make soup for dinner. But what soup? Well, how about I throw in a few other things lingering in the fridge?
And that was the unglamorous origin of this acorn squash, onion and pancetta soup.
I love creating recipes, it’s the closest to being a kid with a chemical set you can be after you are legally able to drive.
My favorite recipes come out of any sort of challenge. In this case I found myself with a pack of chorizo that I had in the fridge for a while, and needed to use before its expiration date. I wanted something new, and that would balance the high caloric content in chorizo.
So how about a one-dish meal? That’s how this zucchini boats filled with rice and chorizo came about.
Coconetes are very popular in the Dominican Republic. You can walk to any colmado (corner store) and you will in all likelihood find them.
The reason I have called them rustic coconut cookies is because they have a rustic texture, a little bit on the dry side. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t full of flavor, after all with all that coconut it’s impossible not to be delicious.
We Dominicans love rice. It’s no wonder that we hear “it’s not lunch without rice” all the time.
The sad thing is that we always stick to the same kind of rice. The long-grain rice that is used in traditional Dominican cooking is one of about 40,000 varieties of the grain. You read right, 40,000!
What I love in this spiced wild rice mix with cauliflower — besides the lovely flavor — is that it includes 4 of these less-known varieties. And I didn’t have to mix anything. It all comes in a jar of RiceSelect Royal Blend rices.