30 April 2008

Habana havana.

Ann Arbor got its first (I assume?) Cuban restaurant this year (well, I guess it was last year... August) -- Cafe Habana. It's super delicious, and I finally even got Brad to try it out a few weeks ago (he loved it, of course). The only bummer is that every time I go, I can't resist the arepas because they are soooooo good. Why is that a problem? Well, I never get to try anything else! So I thought, hey, this seems easy enough, why don't I try to make arepas at home? And I did! Here's how I did it:

Corn Cakes

½ cup flour
½ cup corn meal
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt, black pepper
couple of dashes cayenne pepper
4 eggs, beaten (I used two whole eggs, 2 egg whites)
3 tbs. melted butter
1 tbs water

Whisk together the flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. In another bowl, combine the eggs and water. Stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter and stir to combine. Then, you know, make like pancakes. This recipe is supposed to make something like 20 mini pancakes... I used a 1/4 measuring cup to scoop (not totally full) and I probably only would have gotten maybe 12 had I used all the batter.

Tops and Middles

I sliced up two small tomatoes (man, I can't wait for in-season tomatoes, holy crap! stupid hard tomatoes) and about a cup of onion (I cheated -- bought pre-sliced onion!). Mixed 'em all together, then sprinkled on some cilantro and a dash of lime.

Cut and slice. Duh.

Goat Cheese
To schmeeeer in the middle!


At Cafe Habana, they make the arepas with two gigantic corn cakes and about a pound of goat cheese in the middle. I thought I'd try smaller servings -- making two "arepas" (is this plural? singular? I have no idea) per person. Mix 'em while they're hot so the cheesy gets all gooey. Mmm. Anyway, corn cake on bottom. Goat cheese in the middle (starting with less is better, you can always add more). Second corn cake on top. Spoonful of salsa on top, add a few avocado slices. You're ready to go.

They turned out super tasty and I'll definitely make them again. Notes for the future: Try adding creamed corn to mixture. The recipe I originally found called for corn, and I saw a bunch of others that called for creamed corn. I just didn't happen to have any. I think this would add a lot of flavor to the cakes. Did I mention in-season tomatoes? This will taste amazing this summer... I can't wait! (I also can't wait to finally try one of the other yummy-sounding dishes at Cafe Habana, too).

OH... I also tried to re-create the pile of mystery stuff that they serve with the arepas. Let's just say.... I'm still not positive what it is, and yeah, it didn't work.

PS: I totally didn't die from cooking chicken last night! Woohoo! I made a pot of rice, then a big pot of (stir fry) chicken, some marjoram, four or five chopped artichoke hearts, and about half a can of cream of celery soup. All mixed together into a yummy all-American stir fry! (I just cannot get into Asian flavors -- no soy for me!)


A NEMEC said...

Thanks to both of you for the baby gift! Your dogs seem cool. Maybe you heard, but for awhile there we were making arepas all the time... our friend from Colombia got us started. Hope all is well!

queen b said...

You got something against Asians? Are you going to hate my Asian Caucasian babies, too? ;)