Tag Archives: corn

Mexican Street Corn and another try at Mititei/Mici

I set aside a couple of the grilled corn on the cob from last week’s barbecue and finally got around to making the dish I had planned … Mexican Street Corn.

It’s a remarkably easy dish which can add flavour and moisture even to corn that’s no longer at its peak in terms of flavour and texture because it’s been sitting in your fridge for a day or three longer that it should have. Incidentally, the result tasted SO good, I wish I had more grilled corn available.

Mexican Street Corn – serves 2

2 grilled corn on the cob
1 tbsp mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
1 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp fresh herb or herb mixture (cilantro, parsley, oregano, thyme, mint**), julienned
1/2 – 1 tsp lime zest
several shakes each smoked or regular paprika and cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Garnishes
1-2 tbsp grated cheese (manchego, asiago, Parmesan, Romano**)
1 tbsp sliced green onion
paprika, to taste
lime wedges

** I used mint leaves and the Romano cheese

Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, paprika, cayenne pepper, fresh herbs and lime zest, stir and refrigerate covered for at least one hour to allow the flavours to meld together.

Brush the mixture on all sides of the warm corn on the cob. A silicone pastry brush will help to load the thick mixture onto the corn and help spread it out.

Sprinkle on the cheese, green onion and more paprika to taste. Squeeze the lime wedge over your corn just before eating.

This is my second attempt at making these skinless Romanian sausages called “mititei” or “mici”. (The Serbian version is called “cevapcici” or “cevapi” and uses equal parts ground beef and pork.)

I used a package seasoning mix which contained: garlic powder, salt, onion powder, summer savory, MSG, ground black pepper, ground coriander, bicarbonate of soda, ground caraway seeds as well as a bunch of preservatives.

As suggested on the package, I added the contents to 1 kg of ground beef along with 50 mls of cold water, and hand mixed it for about 10 minutes, though 15 minutes might have been better, but I got bored. If you have a stand blender with a dough hook, it will save you both time and effort. I portioned the meat into 50 gm amounts and then shaped it into 3 inch sausages using wet hands.

Grilling on the barbecue would have been the best way to cook the sausages but I didn’t want to fire it up, so it preheated a cast iron frying pan to med-hot, seasoned with about a tbsp of vegetable oil. I browned the sausages on all sides and then finished the sausages in a 375 deg F oven for 15 minutes. I think 10 minutes would have been plenty as a lot of liquid came out and the resulting sausages were drier than I would have liked.

Served with salad as part of a meal or as a snack with mustard or tzatziki sauce on tortilla wraps, they were very tasty but I know the next trial, with my own seasoning mixture, will be even better.

PICSPAM: Last BBQ of the Season

I love the taste of bbq’d foods but only bbq’ing a few things at a time seems wasteful to my frugal nature. So I make it worth my while with enough meat and veg for a week’s worth of meals.

I recently saw a post for Mexican market corn which made my mouth water, so I picked up a half dozen corn on the cob on sale to throw on the grill and make a batch. At 6 for $1.99, it wasn’t the best deal ever but I didn’t quibble. I didn’t quite have the energy to make them today, but there are two cobs set aside for it. The other three will probably end up in a corn chowder.

The full spread.

Here’s a picture of today’s Civic Holiday meal.

And some close-ups … sirloin steak and a sweet potato

Sweet corn on the cob and pork chops

Jumbo hot dogs

Southwestern Turkey and Corn Chowder

ETA: I had a brilliant idea for a turkey mole soup but I’m going to put it on the backburner and use the leftover mole sauce for shrimp instead. I’ve not decided yet whether to serve it over pasta or rice.

Menus evolve and change and my original plan to make migas out of the refried beans, tostadas and pulled turkey leg in my fridge changed. I flirted briefly with a baked casserole, a white chili with turkey and no beans and then finally settled on this Southwestern Turkey and Corn Chowder … mainly because it called for a cup of salsa verde and I had exactly that amount in a jar in my fridge. And a red pepper.

I DID have to run down to the grocery store to pick up a bag of frozen corn … but hadn’t remembered that canned green chilies were also needed. No biggie. I left them out. And, it turned out I really didn’t need them as the soup already had a lovely spicy back note which was delicious.

Southwestern Turkey and Corn Chowder – makes 8-10 cups

6-8 slices bacon, diced
1 large (1 cup) onion, small dice
2 stalks (1 cup) celery, small dice
1 red bell pepper, small dice
6 cups turkey or chicken broth
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup (8 oz) green salsa (salsa verde)
1/4 cup flour + 1/2 cup cold water
1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies, undrained (omitted)
2-3 cups diced or shredded cooked turkey* (or chicken)
1 – 1 1/2* cups corn, frozen, canned or fresh
2 large (1 1/2 cups) carrots, small dice
2 large potatoes (1 1/2 cups), peeled and diced medium
1-2 cups additional vegetables (optional ie cauliflower, shredded cabbage, kale, spinach, chard, green beans)
1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack or cheddar cheese*
Salt and pepper, to taste

Extra grated cheddar cheese for garnish

* Used

In a large saute pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until it’s crisp (about 10 minutes). Remove the bacon from the pan and drain off the bacon grease, leaving 2 tbsp bacon drippings in the pan. Add the onion, celery and red pepper to the bacon drippings in the pot. Cook until tender.

Stir in the broth, cream and salsa verde. Mix flour with 1/2 cup water until no lumps remain. Stir into the saute pan. Bring to a gentle boil. Stir in the green chilies (if using), turkey or chicken, corn and carrots. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the diced potatoes. (If desired you can also add 1-2 cups of other vegetables at this point.)

Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Take saute pan off the heat and gradually stir in the cheese, a handful at a time, stirring until melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Stir in reserved bacon, or sprinkle on top of individual bowls of chowder as garnish.

Tamales Day #2 – From Making the Masa to the finished Tamale

Picture Heavy Warning: Many pics … everywhere! I proof read this post as carefully as possible, but, if something is confusing, please ask for clarification.

The finished tamales with various sauces (from left to right): Strained pork braising liquid, salsa (Hot Old El Paso cause I didn’t have the energy to make any from scratch) and a mole made with 2 parts pork braising liquid and 1 part Dona Maria mole sauce. They were all good.

Possible servings photo IMG1082_zps4c816d30.jpg

Tamale with mole sauce

Tamale with mole photo IMG1085_zps7279a2a3.jpg

Inside the pork with mole

Inside the tamale photo IMG1088_zpsd062b3a7.jpg

Day 2

Now that you’ve got your pulled pork filling ready, it’s time to make the masa, assemble your tamales, steam them and then, FINALLY, it’s time to EAT.

Assembling the steamer basket:

Steamer inserts from left to right: steamer stand, collapsible steamer and cake cooling rack

Stand, collapsible steamer basket and cooling rack photo IMG1012_zpse8248f34.jpg

Stacked steamer set up

Steamer assembly photo IMG1013_zps57f1265d.jpg

Steamer Assembly in Stockpot

Inside the stockpot/steamer photo IMG1014_zpse932e648.jpg

By the way, I let my steamer run dry because it vented steam like mad and I didn’t realize that most of the water had evaporated so quickly, though I suspected something had happened from the burned smell. Scrubbing the black crust of burnt corn when I was done was NOT fun. 😦  It’s hard to believe that 12 cups boiled away in about 90 minutes but it happened.

For the 2nd batch of tamales, I added at least 4 cups of boiling water every 15 minutes.

Another way to make sure that your steaming pot DOESN’T run dry is to put a couple of pennies in the bottom of the pot full of water. As long as the water is boiling, the pennies will jump around and make a noise. When the noise slows down or STOPS, you’ve run dry.

There are lots of videos about how to assemble the tamales so I’m not going to post any pictures, even though I have a TON. Instead, these are my finished tamales.

Steamed tamale still in the corn husk

Steamed tamales photo IMG1069_zps4d447ea9.jpg

Peeling open the corn husk – the not pretty side of the tamale

Steamed with husk removed photo IMG1070_zps88e21d86.jpg

Pretty side of the tamale ready for saucing

Tamale ready for saucing photo IMG1084_zps8fbcfd6d.jpg

Masa – makes 20-24 tamales

24-28 dried corn husks
4 cups masa harina for tamales (Maseca brand is good)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup lard
3 1/2 – 4 cups water or stock (chicken or pork), warm

Rehydrating the corn husks

Bring a pot of water, large enough to hold the husks, to the boil. Turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner, gently submerge the husks, and let them soak for 20-30 minutes. As with pasta, it will take a little while for the husks to become pliable enough to be fully submerged. When ready to fill the husks, drain off some of the hot water and replace it with enough cold water to be able to handle the husks.

NOTE: You can take some of the smaller (narrower) corn husk and tear them into 1/8″ strips for tying or overlap two husks if you run short at the end. For the giant husks, tear off an inch on the side and use that for the ties. Always soak more husks than you need.

Preparing the masa

Whisk together the masa harina, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

Whip the lard in a kitchen stand blender with the paddle for at least 5 minutes to incorporate as much air as possible into the lard.

Gradually add the masa mixture to the lard, a cup at a time, until it has all been mixed into the lard.

With the mixer turned on, gradually add 3 cups of the warm stock to the masa in the bowl. Then add, more stock, 1/4 cup at a time, until the mixture is about the texture of soft cookie dough. Let the dough stand at room temperature (covered with a damp cloth) for 5-10 minutes so that the masa absorbs the liquid evenly.

Assembling the tamale

To wrap the tamales, place 1 soaked corn husk (drain off the excess water or blot a little off if you wish), with the narrow end pointed towards you and the smoother cup shaped side up, on the working surface in front of you. Using a soup spoon, scoop out a heaping tablespoon of the masa and place it down on the husk in about the middle. With your fingers, pat down the masa mixture into a roughly 3×3″ circle (with the lower edge about 1″ from the pointed end of the husk). It should be about 1/4″ thick and as even as you can get it.

Place about a tablespoon of the filling in a strip in the center third of the masa circle. Leave about an inch or less of the masa at the bottom edge (closest to you) free of filling.

Use the husk to enclose the filling. Start by folding up the bottom edge of masa opening up the husk again so that you can see your masa/filling before you fold the next edge. Repeat with the right edge and finally the left edge. Check to make sure that your filling is well covered by the masa and an even log about 1″ inch wide and 3″ long results.

Refold, starting at the bottom, then the right edge and rolling over the left edge to form a snug but not tight bundle.

Tie with a strip of torn corn husk just above the top of the filling.

Repeat until you’ve used up all your masa dough. If you run out of filling, make ’empty’ tamales. They taste just as good with some sauce on top.

Steaming the tamales

Once you’ve wrapped all the tamales, prepare a deep pot with a steamer insert by filling the pot with water until the waterline is just below the level of the steamer insert. Place the tamales in the steamer vertically, with the tied end facing up.

Wet a kitchen towel, and cover the pot with the towel before covering it with the lid. This prevents condensation from forming on the lid, which will drip down and make your tamales watery if you chose NOT to tie them up. Make sure to fold the bits of towel hanging out of the pot up over the lid so they do not catch on fire.

Bring the pot to a boil, then turn down the heat so you can barely see a steady stream of steam escaping. Steam the tamales for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. (I let mine go the full 2 hrs though it would have been fine 15 minutes earlier.) Make sure you check the steamer periodically to make sure you don’t run out of water.

For a sauce, either use the strained braising liquid from the pork filling, a mole sauce (home made or purchased) or a salsa (home made or purchased).

The tamales will keep for about 1 week in the fridge, or for a few months in the freezer. You can re-steam or heat them in the microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel to warm them up.

In conclusion, I want to say that making these tamales was worth the time and effort it took. They’re actually better than ones I’ve ordered in a REAL Mexican restaurant, where they were under-seasoned and less than generous with the filling. These tamales were great without any sauce at all.

For the next batch, I’ll probably try a chicken chile verde filling. I learned a lot and, after eating 3 tamales, I still have 22 left so it’s a good ‘make ahead and freeze for later’ recipe. I also had enough pork filling for about 5 generously filled pulled pork buns. And you can even make vegetarian tamales with baked squash and cheese, if that’s your preference.

Now, I just need someone to come over and do my dishes cause I’m BUSHED and full. 🙂