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Celebrating is about sharing, telling stories, talking. It's about eating a piece of cake that a friend made for you, having a glass of wine or savoring a cup of coffee. It's that unknown sensation that doesn't let you get up from the table after eating. It's much more than just placing silverware and plates on a table, it's creating an ambience, a style, a sensation, an unforgettable memory.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

It was in Venezuela where I had my first kiss

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 a packet 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 the beet dough and garnish 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, el 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!


Simply Life said...

oh wow! I have never seen anything like this- I just love all the colors!

lisa is cooking said...

Your arepas are beautiful! I love the colors. I want to try making these. The filling look lovely in them.

Unknown said...

wow! I love those lights Lola and those buns looks playful and good to eat. Who says we can't play with food? hehe... Hope all is well and do stay in touch! xoxo, Jo

J. ALARCON said...

mañana desayuno arepas de colores woohooo! Eres una gran venezolana! you makes las arepitas look better! besos y abrazos

J. ALARCON said...

mañana mismo desayuno arepas de colores! las arepitas are the best food in the world! besos y abrazos

Catherine said...

Dear Lola, It is so good to hear from you again.

These arepas look beautiful...I love how you got all those bright colors. I must try these soon.

Beautiful post my dear...I hope you have been well. Take care. Blessings to you, your friend, Catherine xo

LaTizana said...

Hola! tu blog esta increíble en especial este artículo de las arepas! felicitaciones!!! de verdad que lo voy a intentar, una alternativa creativa para vegetarianos!! Saludos desde Caracas!

LaTizana said...

Hola!!!! Tu blog esta espectacular y este artículo ni se diga! Definitivamente tengo que probar algo de esto en casa.. una alternativa creativa para vegetarianos también! Gracias y éxitos, Saludos desde Caracas!

Veronica Cervera said...

Espectaculares con esos colores. Y esa reina en esa bandeja de corona. Que ricas se ven todas. Pero lo mejor es tu amor por Venezuela y todos esos recuerdos bellos.
Yo me he quedado muy triste con los resultados del domingo, pero creo que lo bueno es que el país saldrá fortalecido y la oposición seguirá adelante con mucha más visbilidad.
Ahora voy a ver tus tortillas. Yo lo vi en una revista que no pude encontrar con el reguero postvacacional ;-) Pero seguro las tuyas están más ricas y las fotos espectaculares.
Un fuerte abrazo.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

So colorful and pretty! What a great idea. I love arepas.



Anonymous said...

I love arepas! but what you have done here is just beautiful. above all i love the reine pepiada. great work!

Jackie said...

Hola Lola
El post es una belleza, un viaje en el túnel del tiempo, me hiciste recordar algunas cosas que ahora en mi cabeza son un blur.

Y es la primera vez que veo arepas de colores, no me imagino como saben, pero se ven bellisimas.

Por que usas luz aritificial? Te sugiero usar luz suave de una ventana, te van a quedar las fotos mucho mas lindas. Te lo prometo.

Saludos desde Montreal.

Jackie said...

No hagas caso, Lola, cada quien usa la luz que mas le gusta, que costumbrita la mia de dar consejos no solicitados!

Lola Lobato said...

Hola Jackie, si tienes totalmente razón a mi me gusta mas la luz natural y es lo que usualmente hago.
Pero en este caso era importante tomar fotos en el proceso de cocinar y que las vieran en la sartén.
Un abrazo grande.

Banana Wonder said...

Stunning colors of your arepas! What a great story of memories too. I am inspired to make some myself. I love your filling combinations...and EVERYTHING! Now I am wondering how you got from Venezuela to Spain.

Lola Lobato said...

Hi Anna, It was the other way around I was born in Spain, raised in Venezuela, studied in England and I live in USA. I feel like home is wherever I am living. xo

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Such beautiful breads! The colors are so vibrant and lovely...and free of any artificial dyes! Thanks for sharing your memories of Venezuela with us :)

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

Whoaaaa!! I've never seen such colorful food (not dessert) before! I'm in awe, and I am so fascinated by this dish! I'm jealous of your international background! :)

Unknown said...

I've never seen arepas in such vibrant colors. I need to try this!This is a beautiful post...I enjoyed reading about your Venezuela memories. Made me feel like I had traveled there.

Unknown said...

Lola acabo de descubrir tu blog y me encanta. Me quedo por acá.
Me has enamorado con este post, te lo copio :) puedo? ;) bellas fotos


Lola Lobato said...

Hola Vanessa, por supuesto que puedes.
Te invito a que me visites a mi nuevo blog: http://blog.lolalobato.com.
Igual están todos los post del anterior.
Un abrazo grande.

Unknown said...

Regards from Spain! Amazing work Lola, as Venezuelan, I also feel very identified with these type of gastronomy creations. I loved your photography and garnish work. Keep going! I already added you to my enogastronomy list on Twitter.

Unknown said...

Regards from Spain! Amazing work Lola, as Venezuelan, I also feel very identified with these type of gastronomy creations. I loved your photography and garnish work. Keep going! I already added you to my enogastronomy list on Twitter.

Maru Aveledo said...

Oh Lola, lindo post sobre las arepas y sobre Venezuela, Siento que nuestro país se desvanece poco a poco. Ese que describes es el pais que deseo, que recuerdo y que me hace llorar muy a menudo.

Me copio tus arepas