The Easiest Lime Dessert

If you need a dessert on the fly, then look no further - this is it. This very citrusy mousse-like dessert is delicious and simple. I also made a quick mint syrup to go with it and it cuts the tart citrus flavor very nicely.

Lime Dessert
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup whipping cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Place the lime juice, cream, and condensed milk in a blender on high for 6-10 minutes, scraping down the sides once or twice.

Pour into small ramekins or wine glasses, cover, and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.

Mint Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 cups mint leaves, blanched

Blanch the mint leaves (about 30 seconds in boiling water) then transfer to ice cold water to stop cooking process. Drain and set aside.

Place the sugar and water in a small pan and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Allow the syrup to cool down then place in a blender with the blanched mint leaves and process on high. Strain the mixture using a fine sieve.

Serve the lime dessert chilled with the mint syrup on the side.


Pepino Melon: Uninspiring Exotic Fruit

This is called a pepino melon. It's a fruit native to the Andes and I was told to eat it like any other fruit. You peel it, slice it, and enjoy...

I'm not going to lie - it's not delicious. It's not sweet like a fruit and it tastes a bit more like cucumber but with the soft, watery texture of a melon. It might be a different variety altogether though because all the pictures I found online showed round fruit - not elongated like this one. Who knows?

Either way I don't think I'll buy it again unless I bump my head and forget I've already tried it once. With so many amazing fruits in Colombia, this one doesn't stand a chance...

Here's a link FYI: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanum_muricatum


Guaromelon shots @ 1/4 de Arte

Aguardiente is a very potent and equally popular sugar cane-based liquor here in Colombia. It's never been a favorite drink of mine but everyone else seems to love it. Its super sweet, anise-flavor usually turns me off but last night my friend Nick, bartender extraordinaire, served us a delicious shot: the fantastically named GUAROMELON (like watermelon, in case you're still scratching your head). "Guaro" is short for aguardiente...

It tastes like watermelon, of course, and the anise flavor of the aguardiente blends in perfectly. I'm not going to reveal the recipe (although if you know anything about bartending you'll be able to figure it out), but  instead I'll just encourage you to go to 1/4 de Arte (a.k.a. Nick's bar) and try one, two, three, or four for yourself.

The place is half art gallery featuring the work of young Colombian artists and half bar which always has good music, a great host (Nick), and some very tasty cocktails and shots. And if you're hungry you can even order a full meal or just nibbles from a couple of restaurants nearby.

Oh and I almost forgot the bathroom! Yes, they have two bathrooms in fact, but one is more fun than the other. The walls are painted like a chalk board and there's a bowl full of chalk, so you can scribble graffiti all over the walls and leave clever little message and drawings for your friends. As you can imagine, this becomes a lot more entertaining after a few guaromelon shots...

1/4 de Arte (Zona T)
Carrera 12 # 83-61


Gastronomía Food Fair at Corferias - November 11, 2009

Blogging doesn't just give me an excuse to procrastinate endlessly - tinkering with this little blog nearly all day - I can also share some interesting things with people who end up at Bogotá Eats.  For example:

I've set up an event reminder for GASTRONOMÍA at Corferias here in Bogotá (see column to your right). If you live in Bogotá or you might be here around mid-November then you should definitely check it out. I went last year and ate a lot.

Several pavilions are used to showcase different foods, beverages, and cooking accessories made in Colombia. All the culinary schools are present and there are a variety of cooking competitions and demonstrations throughout the day.

There are also tons of stalls with all kinds of food from around the country. It's like eating heaven but it makes lunch one of the hardest decisions you'll make all year.


Cuy = Guinea Pig = Lunch?

As of yet, I haven't had the pleasure of eating cuy (guinea pig). I saw them being roasted at a food festival earlier this year - a  whole "litter", if you will, skewered onto a revolving spit-like contraption - kind of a like a ferris wheel for when you plan on having your pets for lunch.

Well, today Bubba traveled to Pasto, Nariño,  in the south-western tip of Colombia. Cuy is a delicacy there, as it is in many Andean countries  like Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia - so naturally he ate one.

"The skin is crispy like lechona and the inside is kind of like chicken but more slimy." (eeewww, is all I have to say).

As you can see in the picture they leave on the head and everything, making it very difficult to forget what you are actually eating. Plus, before they bring you the main dish (pictured), you are served up the cuy liver, to open your appetite, of course.

As unappetizing as all this sounds I do plan on trying cuy at least once in my lifetime. I have eaten the largest rodent on Earth and I'll eat this little domesticated one someday too...sure am looking forward to it - I think.

Above, we have a close-up of the head, jaw wide open. This picture alone is making me think twice about eating cuy.

And here we have a picture of the fine establishment where the cuy was eaten - don't forget to write down the name for your next trip to Pasto!!!


Making Homemade Arepas

Venezuela always seems to get the credit for arepas, but as far as I'm concerned, they're Colombian too. Historically speaking the arepa was probably being consumed in and around the Andean region before either of these countries were even formed, so no one can truly claim them as their own - I guess that means we'll just leave it at that.

Up until today I'd been buying pre-made arepas in the supermarket. Brands like Don Maiz, Delicias del Maiz, and La Bumanguesa are all pretty good, plus there is a lot of variety available (white corn, yellow corn, with cheese, super thin, thick, with or without salt, etc.).

But on my last trip to the supermarket I decided that I should start making my own. Instead of buying a bag of arepas, I brought home a bag of white cornmeal and this morning for breakfast I made the dough and shaped 6 little arepas. I cooked one to go with my fried egg and refrigerated the rest for snacks throughout the week.

The easiest way to make homemade arepas is to buy a bag of P.A.N. pre-cooked white cornmeal. All you have to do is add water and salt, then you shape them, cook them, and you're done.

I think the most time consuming part of the whole process is making the patties. They don't have to be perfect (kinda like mine) but what is important is a consistent thickness so that they cook evenly. It's pretty simple:

Homemade Arepas
Yields 6 patties

1 1/4 cup luke warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 cup P.A.N. white cornmeal

Place the water  and salt in a bowl and stir to dissolve. Add the cornmeal and begin to mix with a fork. Once most of the water has been absorbed, start mixing with your hand until a slightly tacky dough forms.

Let the dough rest for a few minutes then get to it...

Take a handful of dough and start shaping patties - avoid cracked edges and try not to make them any thicker than 1/4 of an inch.

Place the arepas on a hot, lightly greased skillet and cook until they start to turn golden brown (about 8 minutes) then carefully flip over and repeat on the other side.

Once both sides are a little crisp and golden they should be done. Tap the arepa and it should sound slightly hollow.

Some Notes:

  • If you are making several arepas then have your oven preheated to keep them warm while you cook the rest.
  • If you want to make more arepas you can just double the recipe without any problem.
  • To make cheesy arepas, grate some cheese and add it to the dough before cooking. Another alternative is to sandwich some cheese inside the dough and seal the edges.
  • You can shape the patties and store them in the fridge for a couple of days. That way you'll have arepas ready to throw on the skillet for breakfast or an afternoon snack.
  • In Colombia, arepas are usually served with butter and salt or fresh cheese. I also like them topped with cream cheese.
  • I've never been to Venezuela but from what I gather, one major difference is that they tend to split their arepas in half and smear the inside with butter or cheese or fill them to make a kind of sanwich. Colombian arepas are usually too thin or full of cheese to split in half...

Have you ever made your own arepas? How did it go?

How do you spell cilantro?

This blog is pretty funny with its pictures of food market typos from around NYC.