Crispy Cheese Arepas with Holly

Cartagena comes to Brooklyn, with all the delicious trimmings!

Scrabble-slayer, book worm, and evidently a total 10 in the kitchen, Holly Zappa is the best person to hang out with on a cold winter’s day. So even though the snow was coming down hard, it was party time at Holly’s place last week, arepa party time! Our girl Jenny Capano of The Sporting Project reports back:

Hi Holly! So, what are we cooking today and why?
Mozzarella arepas with scrambled eggs! Over New Year’s Eve I went to Cartagena and Santa Marta in Colombia. Cheese arepas with fresh fruit and scrambled eggs were a staple. When I returned to New York, I looked up the recipe and a South American supermarket to recreate it. The key ingredient is the white pre-cooked corn meal by Goya or P.A.N. You can find it at a South American supermarket or online. I’d suggest using mozzarella cheese for the dough, then top it off with the same or a Colombian-style white cheese. You can make the arepas as thick or as thin as you’d like. I prefer them on the thinner, slightly crispier side.


Amazing! What are some other toppings we could add?
I wouldn’t shy away from topping them off with eggs, avocado and black beans, however. I think the sky’s the limit!

OK, we’re officially starving. Let’s change the subject: What are you currently obsessed with?
Making pancakes on a weekday morning, escaping outdoors to avoid winter cabin fever, and my go-to Alexander Wang boots.

Pancakes during the week? That is chic! And as a teenager, who did you worship?
Aaliyah, for her music and her dance moves

Amazing! So, you work with HappyFunCorp. What is it exactly you guys do?
Isn’t it obvious? HappyFunCorp is a software development shop with a super talented network of designers and developers. We create websites and mobile apps for all different industries. We’ve done work in fashion and e-commerce, television and film, healthcare, event planning and the non-profit sector, to name a few. Many of our clients are NYC-based startups, people with an idea to create a product on the web or a mobile device. We help make that a reality.

How did you find yourself at this job?
Talking to people in different industries, being open to learning about unexpected opportunities. I worked as an attorney for three years before deciding to switch gears.

Good for you! So what makes you happy?
New experiences and challenges that push my boundaries, laughing with loved ones, and a good glass of wine.

Name your top 5 meals in Cartagena?
In no particular order:
1. La Perla
2. La Cevicheria
3. La Vitrola
4. Breakfast at the bed and breakfast, Estancia de la Mantilla
5. All meals at Maloka and Suites Barlovento through Ecohabs Santa Marta. These accommodations are a solid drive from Cartagena, but they’re worth it in every way. Simple, stunning surroundings and authentic Colombian cuisine in the middle of the jungle!

And what are the key flavors of Colombian food?
Cilantro, parsley, and lime for ceviche. Tropical fruit for fresh juices, coconut rice, and ice cream.

P.S We love these bowls, where’d you get them from?
Your local West Elm!

VERY exotic! What is the weirdest souvenir you’ve ever bought while traveling?
Kimchi, fresh from Korea. Don’t worry, I brought it home in a special traveling case!

Where are you off to next?
Joshua Tree National Park. Looking forward to a little hiking and stargazing.

Photography by Caitlin Ryan

Stay tuned for Holly’s recipe this afternoon! pippa@sousstyle.com