Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Arepas de Queso

[Photographs: Caroline Russock]

When Jim Leff, founder of Chowhound, came upon The Sainted Arepa Lady on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens a legend was born. Food folks would make the pilgrimage to her cart located under the train tracks for her incredible arepas, only available late-night (really late—think 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.) and only on Fridays and Saturdays. If taking an hourlong train ride late at night to an unfamiliar territory sounds a bit extreme that's probably because you've never tried her arepas.

These Arepas de Queso from Food Trucks by Heather Shouse are a top seller after last call. Little cornmeal cakes kneaded with shredded mozzarella and griddled in plenty of margarine (yes, margarine) are topped with squeaky curds of queso blanco. The magic of these Colombian arepas comes from the cheese that's incorporated into the dough making for sweet-salty little cakes with mild mozzarella.

Arepas are anytime food but it's easy to see the stomach settling appeal of these starchy, cheesy cakes on the way home from a night that involved a few too many cervezas.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Food Trucks to give away this week.

Adapted from Food Trucks by Heather Shouse. Copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

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