Columbian Arepas with Chives

I love arepas, but the only ones i’ve encountered are the ones you find at the fair or rock festival with a slice of swiss in the middle. Large and filling, the arepas found at such places are more fluff than substance.  These are more of a cheesey corn cake, the added chives gives it a subtle savory note that is divine.  We served this with pernil, a Puerto Rican pulled pork to round out a brunch we put on with friends. The guests had an alternative option to cornmeal waffles and served the meal topped with guava infused syrup.



  • 1 cup arepa flour (precooked cornmeal)
  • 1 cup  grated mozzarella (1/4 pound)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon chives, chopped
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  1. Toss together arepa flour, cheese, chives 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).
  2. Form 3 level tablespoons dough into 1 ball and flatten between IMG_9732your 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.
  3. IMG_3345Heat 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.


Guava Infused Maple Syrup

This syrup was a surprising hit!  I was unsure how the guava flavor would be received by our friends, but I took a chance and it paid off.  It was a nice fruity addition to the waffles and pulled pork that was served as a Spanish take on chicken and waffles.  This syrup is also good paired with a nice salty cheese, or as a glaze for chicken wings.



  • 24 ounces maple syrup
  • 14 ounces guava paste (such as Conchita) cut into 1 inch pieces divided into 4 batches
  • water for thinning


  1. Over medium heat, pour maple syrup into a medium saucepan. Bring syrup to a simmer.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup, place the first batch of guava paste and heat for 3 minutes or until guava paste starts melting. Remove from microwave and stir to ensure paste is heated through and completely melted. Pour paste into syrup and stir with a spoon to incorporate guava. repeat with remaining 3 batches.
  3. Add water if mixture is too thick until it has reached your desired consistency.  Mixture will thicken quite a bit when cooled, so try to serve syrup hot or warm.


This was paired with Crispy Cornmeal Waffles with Pulled Pork Pernil

Crispy Cornmeal Waffles by Williams Sonoma

These waffles are light and crispy and tastes so good!  This was on our brunch menu as my take on classic southern chicken and waffles- Pulled Pork Pernil and waffles with Guava Infused Maple Syrup. This would also be delicious as a sweet treat topped with fresh berries and whipped cream.


For the waffles:

  • IMG_97314 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone ground
  • 2 tsp. double-acting baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs


To make the waffles, preheat a waffle iron. If you want to hold the finished waffles until serving time, preheat an oven to 200°F.

Melt the butter; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, thoroughly combine the buttermilk, maple syrup and eggs. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk until the ingredients are just combined. Stir in the melted butter.

Lightly butter or spray the grids of the waffle iron, if needed. Brush or spray the grids again only if subsequent waffles stick.
IMG_3350Spoon out 1/2 cup of batter (or the amount recommended by the manufacturer’s instructions) onto the hot iron. Use a metal spatula or wooden spoon to smooth the batter almost to the edge of the grids. Close the lid and bake until browned and crisp. Serve the waffles immediately or keep them, in a single layer, on a rack in the preheated oven while you make the rest.  This step is important if you wan them to remain crisp!

Serving: Serve the waffles on warm plates with ample maple syrup.
Here it is paired with Guava Infused Syrup and Pulled Pork Pernil:IMG_3353

Pot Roast in an Instant Pot

So, when we downsized from our house in South Tampa to Channelside (another story for another post), we purged a LOT of things.  A couple of the things that I got rid of were the crock pot and the pressure cooker.  Each of those things I used a few times each month of so.  As we did not have a lot of room to store things, they did not make the cut for necessary things.  However, now that we have lived here for about 9 months, I really miss both of those things.    So, we have been looking at getting a crock pot, and stumbled across the Instant Pot.  At risk of this sounding like an advertisement, we love this thing!  It is a combination pressure cooker and crock pot.  IMG_3324

IMG_3310So, the first thing that I decided to make was a pot roast.  I took some  carrots, onions and potatoes and roughly chopped them.  As the pot has a metal insert, not a ceramic one, it can be used to brown the ingredients…

Like the roast…  IMG_3313IMG_3314






and the carrots and onions….


IMG_3325So, add some salt and pepper, put the roast back in, and cover the roast with the potatoes, carrots and onions, pour a couple of cups of stock over it all, and your ready to go.

50 minutes later with the pressure cooker, you have pot roast!



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