Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Columbian Dinner, "La Bandeja Paisa"

clockwise from top left: Plantains, Harina PAN, Mangoes, Guava Paste, Frijoles Rojos (Columbian Red Beans), Piloncillo (aka Panela or Papelón)

Recently, I hosted a Columbian dinner in a friend's honor. Inspired by her, as well as Terry Hope Romero's Viva Vegan, I made a mini vegan version of Bandeja Paisa. All of the special ingredients I found at Lee Lee's Oriental Supermarket (pictured above), although it is certainly possible to find some of them elswhere too. But, man, I love that place.

The Menu:
~Latin Shredded Seitan
~Tofu Chicharrones
~Fried Sweet Plantains
~Columbian-style Red Beans
~Cabbage/Tomato Salad w/ Cilantro Citrus Vinaigrette
~Fresh Mango Guava Bread Pudin
~Agua de Papelón

clockwise from top left: Cabbage/Tomato Salad with Cilantro Citrus Vinaigrette, Tofu Chicharrones, Shredded Seitan, Arepa, Avocadoes, Rice, Fried Sweet Plantains, Columbian-style Red Beans, with Agua de Papelon (beverage)

This dinner was very delicious. I especially know this because I even loved the leftovers, which I can have trouble with sometimes. I think my favorites were the Tofu Chicarrones and the Columbian-style Red Beans. Wait, I loved the oh so simple Fried Sweet Plantains too. Well, it was all very tasty and the each item was just so complementary to the others. I was also pleasantly surprised by the Agua de Papelón. When my guests tasted it and said it was like a cross between apple juice and limeade, I thought they were crazy. How could it possibly taste like apple juice and how could those two flavors be good together...but, you know, it did and it was!

The meal was worth the effort, but I have to say it was quite hard getting everything to finish at about the same time. I ended up recruiting my guests to help me finish as a one chef meal this ain't. I was using all 4 of my stove top burners, plus a rice cooker. If I could find the griddle plug, I would have made the arepas on the griddle like pancakes and that would have made my life so much easier. But it all came together in the end.
Fresh Mango and Guava Bread Pudin with Vanilla So Delicious Soy Ice Cream

Viva Vegan!

For dessert, I tried to be open-minded and went for the more traditional Bread Pudding. Now, normally, I am not a big fan of bread puddings. Who want's soggy bread? But this is more of a fruitcake type dessert. The raisins hovered in the gelled cake middle, and the guava and mango topped it off. I was quite surprised at how decent this was, considering it would not be my dessert of choice normally. I ate the leftovers quite willingly for several days. The mango and guava are super awesome touches to the dish.

I've recommended it before, but I have to tell you, the Viva Vegan cookbook by Terry Hope Romero is a must buy. I cannot wait for her World Cookbook. I'm tempted to create mini passports to give to my friends so when I host a new dinner inspired by a new and different country, they can get stamps in their passports. Oh if I had the time, energy, and money for all that! haha.


Imaginista said...

Sorry it took so long to leave a comment about this unbelievable feast. Everything was muy awesome. Que bueno, chica!

Kenike said...

No worries, it took me forever to post about it!