arepas.jpeg

Arepas are naturally gluten-free and vegan corn pockets. For fillings, the author uses 

black bean, chorizo, chicken or lobster and tops with any or all of the following: queso, Cotija cheese, avocado, pickled red onions, white onions with cilantro and radish.

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BRATTLEBORO — Ever tried Venezuelan arepas? You’ll get the chance at Gallery Walk when the dish is served up by NCK Community Kitchen. And particularly ambitious foodies are invited to take part in the creation.

Nicole Reisman, owner of the Elliot Street prepared foods market, is seeking three workers from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday to help fill arepas and serve people at the NCK deli counters. Great pay is offered, Reisman said. Arepas are outside. Tasting platters are inside the deli.

Reisman is also launching a new food and recipe advice column — she is open to all of your questions about food, cooking and more. She is Le Cordon Bleu trained and can take on anything — except maybe ice carvings.

“I would like to convey that it is also a general source for those that find cooking agonizing,” she said. “Me, Nicole, your kitchen agony aunt!”

For more information about working with Reisman during Gallery Walk and to ask a question for her new column, write to chefnicolereisman@gmail.com. Questions for the advice column can also be mailed directly to NCK Community Kitchen: 34 Elliot St., Brattleboro, VT 05301.

To practice making arepas at home, follow this recipe from Reisman:

Venezuelan arepas

By Nicole Reisman

Makes 12 arepas, 4.3 oz each.

Ingredients

2 lbs Harina P.A.N. Do not substitute!

2 quarts hot water

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1 tablespoon Kosher salt (diamond)

Filling of your choice (see end of recipe)

Instructions

In a bowl, add the warm-to-hot water and add the salt. Give it a good stir to dissolve the salt.

Add the P.A.N. slowly into the water while stirring. Switch to using your clean hands once it’s too thick to stir. Really get in there and squish the P.A.N. water mix so there are no clumps. Knead it for a few minutes or until smooth.

Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rest so the P.A.N. gets properly hydrated for 10 minutes.

Using some oil on your hands so the dough doesn’t stick, form into 4 to 4.5 oz-balls. You should have between 10 to 12 balls, depending on the size you make them.

If you have an electric arepa maker, preheat according to manufacturers’ instructions, pop balls in and click in the cover. Wait about 15 minutes or until it says it’s done.

If you are using a pan, preheat your oven to 350.

You need to pat out each ball until it forms into a disk, about a half-inch.

In a preheated, nonstick skillet, cook the arepas in a dry pan for seven minutes on each side until lightly golden. Finish in the oven for 15 minutes. Slice the arepas 3/4 way through. It’s up to you, but I scrape out some of the fluffy inside to create more room for the filling of your choice. I use black bean, chorizo, chicken or lobster and top with any or all of the following: queso, Cotija cheese, avocado, pickled red onions, white onions with cilantro and radish. The arepas are naturally gluten-free and vegan corn pockets.

Nicole Reisman can be reached for questions about food, cooking and life at chefnicolereisman@gmail.com, and via snail mail at NCK Community Kitchen, 34 Elliot St., Brattleboro, VT 05301.


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