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Aruba flag.

Sometimes life comes up and takes us away from our meals between work schedules and activities, but tonight we were back at it for our 57th country meal.

For our meal from Aruba we had Keshi Yena served with homemade cornmeal muffins. We began by browning the beef before adding the onion, green pepper, garlic, pitted green olives, capers, tomato, ketchup, sweet relish, Dijon mustard, tomato paste, and salt and pepper. We were supposed to add raisins at this point but unfortunately forgot.

Prepped and waiting to be added to our Keshi Yena.

This simmered for a little bit while we lined the bottom of our pan with Gouda (in place of the edam we couldn’t find). We added some cheese into our mixture, which then went into the pan and was topped with the remaining cheese.

Keshi Yena right out of the oven.

This was met with mixed reviews and I know some were not sad about me forgetting the raisins. We had one that enjoyed it though she took out most of the vegetables, one who didn’t like it at all, one who picked out the capers, and one in particular who didn’t like the greasiness from the cheese and not draining the meat well. My husband enjoyed it but found it as too rich to eat much, and I enjoyed it. I would like to try making it again but playing with some of the ingredients, including adding the required raisins.

Keshi Yena with cornmeal muffins.

For dessert we had Bier Koekjes, a cookie made with only flour, butter, beer, and a bit of sugar. Mixed all together I then rolled them out and cut them into snails and hearts. Once cooked I took them off to cool a few moments before placing them into a bag with sugar and cinnamon, shaking them to coat while warm.

Cutting the shapes for the Bier Koekjes.

These cookies were similar in idea to sugar cookies, yet reminded me of puff pastry the way the rose. They were nice and soft and I really enjoyed the sugar and cinnamon coating. These were a hit and will definitely be made again, especially with how simple the dough was to make.

Bier Koekjes, warm and tasty!

Did you know that Aruba was once a Dutch colony and is still part of the kingdom of the Netherlands along with CuraƧao and Saint Maarten? They were originally written off as a useless island, not having any natural resources, including any precious metals.

Aruba is one of the safest places in the Caribbean and their greatest export is aloe vera. They are home to the Aruban rattlesnake, an endangered snake with only 230 left. 18% of their land lies within Arikok National Park.

The official languages are English, Dutch, Spanish, and Pabiamento. The children receive most of their schooling in Dutch and can only speak Pabiamento during the Pabiamento class.

Aruba produces their own drinking water using their desalination plant. From this you can drink water straight from the taps. The electricity on the island is a byproduct from this desalination plant.

Finally, you gain the title “Aruban Goodwill Ambassador” if you visit 20 years in a row.

Any local friends wondering where we get some of our food, go check out this amazing store, located in Penticton and Oliver!

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