Much To My Delight

Much To My Delight

Arepas with Black Beans, Avocado Salsa and Goat Cheese

I am lucky enough to live in Queens which, I am quite proud to say, is the most ethnically diverse county in the United States. According to Wikipedia, my little neighborhood of Astoria alone has “one of the largest Greek populations outside of Greece, a large Croatian community, and is also home to a growing population of Arabs, South Asians and young professionals from Manhattan.” That’s right; they gave the young professionals the bold treatment right up there with the Arabs and Croatians. We are apparently an ethnic group.

arepas with black beans, goat cheese
This young (ish) professional is extra lucky because she lives next door to an international grocery store. And when I say “next door”, I mean it is literally a one-minute walk from my apartment. It’s so close, Vin and I no longer call it the grocery store. We call it “the pantry”. As in:

“Jenn, do we have anything for dessert?”
“I don’t think so. Go check the pantry.”
Instead of entering the kitchen, Vin walks out the front door, then reappears six minutes later with a box of crumb cake and a quart of chocolate milk.

This story has a point. I promise.

arepa with black bean

Like I said, this grocery store is international and has an amazing selection of Middle Eastern, Indian and South American foods. They even sell whole goats and Halal chickens with the heads still on, which I learned by unhappy accident while making a batch of stock last winter. Please do not ask for any details about that story. I’m still trying to repress the memory.

arepa with black bean

Anyway, without further ado, here is my point and the reason you’re staring at pictures of beans piled on top of flat round things. At this grocery ”the pantry”, there is a refrigerated section filled with variously-sized arepas, which are simple breads made of cornmeal typically eaten in Venezuela. I’ve always wanted to try them, so I picked up two different kinds and topped them using these delicious recipes from Cooking Light. In case you cannot find pre-made arepas in your grocery, there is a simple recipe for making them at home.

Here is the link to the recipe: Arepas with Black Beans and Avocado Salsa

They’re gluten-free, low-fat and so delicious Vin literally banged his fists into the table like a caveman while eating them. In our neighborhood, that’s a compliment to the chef, much like a hearty belch in other countries. See how culturally savvy we are?

Jenn P.

30-something psychotherapist. Loves cooking, hosting parties, exploring new places. Texan by birth. New Yorker by choice. Likes to tell little stories. Pull up a chair; I'll tell you one.

  • Ren- Lady Of The Arts
    I spent a few weeks on a work project trip in Venezuela – We were given arepas three times a day- to me they look and taste like hockey pucks. Yours look delish but I don’t think I am willing to give it another try in this life time.
    On another note I had to watch a goat get killed IN OUR HONOR on a work project trip to Swaziland- it then hung, skined for three days covered in flies before we had to (in my case pretend) eat it.
  • Much to My Delight
    Egads…I seem to have triggered some bad memories for you! My apologies!
  • Rabbit
    Wow, these look absolutely scrumptious!!
  • Roxan
    Yum! I love that you posted this. I’ve been planning on making something really similar to this.
  • Andrea B.
    Yum! Your dinner looks delish. I wonder if the arepas are similar to polenta? I’ve been wanting to try it but you know how it goes…so many recipes, so little time :-)
  • Jennifurla
    Lucky you with such great things at your fingertips! Must be a great place to live & eat. This recipe looks great.
  • ag.
    Oh my gosh, this looks delicious! If I was anywhere near Queens, I’d be swinging by your pantry (…or maybe your kitchen!) for some fist-banging-good arepas!
  • stephanie [the merry way]
    Can I hear details on the goat/chicken story? KIDDING! These look amazing, and I’m super jealous of your pantry!
  • Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane
    That store sounds amazing, if I ever want anything that multicultural I have to travel down to London and get things there. The only time I’d heard of Queen’s was form Ugly Betty – is that an accurate representation? p.s. hurrah for the goat cheese! Yum yum :)
  • Indie.Tea
    ‘The pantry’ sounds pretty amazing. I’d love it…and your arepas look delicious.
  • victoria | vmac+cheese
    Droool…arepas. These look particularly delish. I wish I had a ‘pantry’ by my place. A few random Asian grocery stores for sure, but they stink like rotten fish. Never a good sign.
  • Shannon
    I REALLY want to have dinner with you guys, especially one Vin deems acceptable and preferably one that comes from the arepa aisle and not the goat aisle. And I’m totes jealous of your pantry. My Trader Joes, which would be my version I s’pose, is about 2 mins away walking however it would involve navigating a major highway. Notsoconvenient.
  • MitchyMitchyMitchy
    “The Pantry” made me actually laugh. Didn’t I bring you Twinkies from “The Pantry”, or was that a different store?
  • Joanne
    Woot woot for Queens! I grew up there. It’s a pretty rock star place. I would KILL to have an international food store so close to me! Arepas are one of my most favorite foods on this earth (have you been to caracas arepas in manhattan? SOOO good.) You definitely topped them beautifully with the black beans and salsa!
  • jackie fo
    Baha…laughing about the “pantry.” Also laughing about your bf acting like a caveman. Sometimes thats how it is with good food….one time my best friend ate a chocolate cake so good she cried.