I will soon be a Latina when I eat the Venezuelan Christmas delicacies that Marianella made. First is something called Hallacas...here they are:
These look black, but they are actually dark green. It's plaintain leaves with a cornmeal stuffing with bits of meat and other things inside. Then it's tied with string. You don't eat the plantain leaves (I asked!) and I have to boil this is water with some oil in it for 25 minutes. Venezuelans only make these at Christmas and Marianella told me that everyone exchanges Hallacas so you can taste all your friends' offerings.
Here's what Wikipedia says:
In Venezuelan cuisine, an Hallaca (alt. spelling, "hayaca") typically involves a mixture of beef, pork, chicken, raisins, capers, and olives wrapped in cornmeal dough, folded within plantain leaves, tied with strings, and boiled or steamed afterwards. It is typically served during the Christmas holiday.
The other treat she gave me is a little loaf of Torta Negra which translates to Black Cake. This one is really genuine as I could only find one website about it that is written in English. Here's what it says:
The Venezuelan black cake is a variation of the fruit cake. This black cake is a bit more spongy that the Trinidadian version and the amount of spices is also minor. The black cake or Torta Negra cannot miss in a typical Christmas dinner, that we take on the Christmas Eve, usually closer to midnight, in my family, we usually take dinner at 10 pm and leave midnight to open the presents, the children are so excited that they do not go to sleep until they open their presents, and play with them, well we always go to sleep around 2 or 3 pm on Christmas day, it is a day that the family get together to enjoy the company.
Marianella had told me that everyone stays up all night long on Christmas Eve. I don't think I'll be doing that, but I will be eating some of my Venezuelan black cake for the holidays.
And then, also arriving today, from Mac and Stancie is a honey-baked ham. I was thinking of omelettes, great ham sandwiches, all sorts of things with this. I love this ham. It arrived in a giant styrofoam cooler, with dry ice and was still frozen when I opened it. It's now thawing in the refrigerator.