Celebrating Colombian recipes with food stylist Mariana Velàsquez

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As a food stylist, Mariana Velàsquez has worked with everyone from Michelle Obama to Lin-Manuel Miranda. But it’s the non-negotiable ingredients of her homeland, Colombia — think green plantains, yucca, achiote —  that warm her heart. Her new cookbook “Colombiana” celebrates the women who shaped her love of food and includes seasonal menus of shareable feasts. She also discusses researching the Puerto Rican and Dominican cuisine of 1970s New York for her food styling work on the movie “In the Heights.”

Mazamorra Con Leche
Hominy with Milk and Blackberries
Serves 4 to 6

Before dawn in the vertiginous mountains of Antioquia, the most northwest state  of the country, the arrieros muleteers—would begin the day with a big bowl of  nourishing mazamorra with cold milk and chunks of sweet panela ahead of their  journey. The word for corn in Spanish is maíz, derived from a similar sound in an  indigenous language that meant “plant that sustains life.”

Preparing this delicious porridge is very easy, and adding fruit to its few ingre dients brightens the flavor. In this recipe I include macerated blackberries, but  other fruits such as mango, plums, or pineapple will do nicely as well.


  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans cooked hominy, drained and rinsed
  • 11⁄2 cups milk or almond milk
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups blackberries, halved if large
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1⁄4 cup plain skyr or Greek yogurt, for garnish
  • 1⁄2 cup panela, cut into small chunks, or 1⁄2 cup dark brown sugar
  • Edible flower petals, for garnish (optional)


-Cook the hominy, milk, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the milk is reduced and the mixture becomes thick and the hominy softens, 15 to 20 minutes.
-Turn off the heat, and allow the mixture to cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, toss together the berries, granulated sugar, and lemon zest and juice to combine.
-To serve, divide the hominy among small bowls, top with the berry mixture, and finish with a dollop of skyr or yogurt.
-Sprinkle with the panela chunks, and garnish with edible flower petals, if desired.

Ritz crackers with guava paste and cheese? Food stylist Mariana Velàsquez researched Puerto Rican and Dominican food of 1970s New York for her work on the film “In the Heights.” “I’ve never made so much arroz con pollo in my life!” she says. Photo by Gentl & Hyers.

The six natural regions of Colombia influence the cuisine and recipes in Mariana Velàsquez, “Colombiana.” Photo courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers.



Evan Kleiman