Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Corn Masa/Hominy, etc

You can buy fresh corn masa at a Mexican grocer for making corn tortillas, tamales ... Way better than the corn masa flour from the grocery store (which I usually use for tortillas and thickening a chili or mexican soup). I found a recipe for making my own. I then freeze it in 1lb quantity in freezer bags.

When seeing the recipe you might ask "dried field corn?", "and where would I get that?", "and why do you have that?" I've not looked in a store for it, so don't know if it's in a bin like other grains. I get it in 25 or 50# bags. I have an electric grain grinder - a NutriMill - and have been grinding my own flours for about thirty years. When my kids were little and bread was one thing they'd definitely eat, I wanted it to be the best possible. Most store-bought flours are devoid of nutrients, primarily starch, and if whole grained, rancid. Take wheat. Twenty-six some known nutrients, stripped, and 5 or 6 put back! So in my garage I've got whole wheat, oats, rye, corn, blue corn, barley, quinoa, amaranth ... I can grind beans too if I want. A sweeter corn for cornbreads is actually ground popcorn - a smaller kernel than field corn.

Wash 10C dried field corn
10C water
2Tb lime powder (in canning section for making crisp pickles)(CaO)

Bring to a full boil and simmer for several hours. Add additional water if needed. You want them tender, but not too soft. You want the water cooked in as much as possible. Drain.

This mixture is put through a meat grinder, as fine as can get it, for making tortillas and tamales. It's got a wholeness to it that differs from using the dried masa flour, so prepare yourself. It's good. My Zucchini Boat post mentioned me making Pozole with it and adding it to Chili.

For tortillas, use 5 cups, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and approximately 1 cup warm water. You don't want the dough too soft. With fresh masa, you might not need much water at all. Chill dough several hours. Form into balls about 1 1/2-2" diameter and press in a tortilla press between plastic wrap or waxed paper for a 6" tortilla. Grill on a hot cast-iron griddle or skillet.

If you get some fresh roasted anaheim or poblano chilies, cut them in strips and cook up with some cream. This is the ultimate on home-made tortillas. I crave fish tacos. Or fry these crisp and make bean tostadas. For about 16-18 tamales you'd use 1lb coarse ground fresh masa, 1 tsp salt, (some use 1tsp baking powder), 1/2C rich-tasting lard, and enough water to make mushy. All tamales use a fat source. Traditionally, the best, is roasted lard, not the white lard sold in stores. Don't freak out, but I use bacon fat. I pour it off my microwave bacon cooking tray into a can and store it for Mexican cooking. You can use butter. I've not tried oil.

What's being used today - and before getting tamales at farmer's markets, I ask - I don't want them made with shortening!!!!! I read labels! I avoid (along with high fructose corn syrup) PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED anything! It's just a step away from plastic! It's poison. Our body does not know what to do with it, or high fructose corn syrup, so it runs about the body looking for something to latch on to and ends up creating weird cells. That's what can bring on heart disease, or cancer, or ...

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