Mi amigos y Yo

The school year is coming to end and that means more work, finals and projects! For my Spanish project I had to team up with 4 other kids and cook a Spanish meal. My friends Aviva, Jordyn, Cory, Brett and I talked about it and decided on a menu. Our choice was Pico de Gallo (spicy salsa), Arepas, and Tres Leche (3 milk) Cake. They all came over to my house each bringing a share of the ingredients. We began with the Pico de Gallo. Since Aviva is in a cast she sat down and took pictures. I got to show Jordyn and Cory how to cut the tomatoes along with some other produce and they took to it straight away! Next we combined lime juice, garlic and cilantro, I decided to add some pickled jalapenos since they’re amazing and add a little heat. After adding the onion, we all cried our eyes out. While the Pico de Gallo was being made I started the Tres Leche cake.

Tres Leche Cake

First I combined 3 different kinds of milk, sweetened condensed, half and half, and evaporated milk. Then I made the cake, which is almost like a sponge cake because it has to be able to absorb all of the milk mixture. Once the cake was done (which is very easy to make) it was placed aside to cool.  Next up, Arepas! Arepas are little patties made of cornmeal and can be stuffed with meats and cheeses.


We decided upon a Colombian Arepa, which has shredded mozzarella mixed into the flour. I told my mom that I had to find arepa flour or Pan and we called up every specialty store in the area…no one had it. So we tried the local grocery store, the most unexpected place to have arepa flour. As soon as I walked through the front door of the store, there in a giant display was arepa flour… thank goodness for Cinco de Mayo!  First we combined mozzarella, flour, and water to make a nice thick dough. We then rolled about three tablespoons of the dough into individual patties. After we fried them in some vegetable oil and they smelled great. They were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. I finished them off with some sea salt for added flavor.

 Aviva, Jordyn & Corey

 Aviva checks the Tres Leche Cake (that's my dog Oliver on the right)

The next day everything was boxed up and brought into school. The finishing touches had to be put on the tres leche. I whipped up some whip cream the night before and spread it on the cake. I also added Dulce de Leche, which is a heavenly, smooth, rich caramel sauce, to the top of the cake. The teacher loved all three of our dishes and now we sit and wait for our grade. Something tells me that we aced it! Keep on cooking or in this case Mantener en la cocina!!!

Colombian Arepas
1 cup arepa flour (precooked cornmeal)
1 cup crumbled ricotta salata or grated mozzarella (1/4 pound)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Toss together arepa flour, cheese, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a bowl, then stir in water until incorporated. Let stand until enough water is absorbed for a soft dough to form, 1 to 2 minutes (dough will continue to stiffen).
Form 3 level tablespoons dough into 1 ball and flatten between your palms, gently pressing to form a 1/4-inch-thick patty (2 1/2 to 2 3/4 inches wide), then gently press around side to eliminate cracks. Transfer to a wax-paper-lined surface. Form more disks with remaining dough in same manner, transferring to wax-paper-lined surface.
Heat oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then fry arepas in 2 batches, turning over once, until deep golden in patches, 8 to 10 minutes total per batch. Drain on paper towels.

Spicy Pico de Gallo
1 pound plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
6 tablespoons (packed) chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeƱo chilies

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl; toss to blend well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand at least 30 minutes for flavors to develop.

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