Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Glass gem corn tortillas

My very favorite show on Netflix is Chef's Table.  There are only 12 episodes so I like to savour each
one.  It would be easy to watch one after another but then I'd be done.  As it is I think I only have 2 left to watch :(    The show inspires me to cook and try to display my food in a way that isn't just the same-old-thing-Karen-usually-cooks.  I've been in a cooking funk lately.

Last night's episode was about Enrique Olvera, a famous chef in Mexico City.  I rarely cook Mexican food and when I do it's your basic ground beef with taco seasoning, salsa, onion, lettuce, etc. in a flour tortilla.   After watching Chef Olvera I got an idea.  We have lots of dried up glass gem corn saved from either last year or the year before.  We thought there wasn't much you could do with it besides grind it up to make a so-so corn meal.  It's meant to be decorative.  It really is this pretty.

The half gallon jar of corn pictured above is what we have left.  It can be eaten as popcorn but we didn't have much luck with that.  Few kernels popped and they were very tiny.  Last night I decided to boil some of the corn.  I cooked it for at least 2 hours and then let it sit in the water overnight.  It loses its color and turns a dull yellow after boiling.  This afternoon I drained the water off and put the somewhat soft corn in the food processor.  After a minute or two I looked at it and was disappointed to see it looked like chopped up corn (I know what you're thinking) and I could still see the hulls.  I scraped the sides of the bowl and turned it back on while I went to change clothes.  When I got back there was a ball of dough in the food processor.  I was so excited.  This ball of dough is just from my soaked glass gem corn!!!  Can you believe it?  All you Mexicans (surely at least one Mexican reads my blog.  Hopefully not Enrique Olvera) are probably shaking your head at my excitement and stupidity.  As I said, I don't usually cook this kind of thing.

I was hoping to make corn tortillas out of them but read this morning that you must use masa harina.  See  I thought it was worth a try.  I formed the dough into balls the size of a ping pong ball then placed one in between two pieces of parchment paper.  I used a rolling pin to roll them very thin since I don't own a tortilla press.  I placed the thin dough into a very hot cast iron skillet and cooked it for maybe a minute on each side.  I'm just guessing at that.  I could never write a cookbook.  I have no idea what the water content was in the corn either.
They may not be perfectly round but I think they turned out pretty nice.
I also made the filling differently than my usual taco or fajita.  This time I cooked the onion with some anise seeds and cumin then added the ground beef.  No taco seasoning.  I must admit I added some store bought salsa.  The addition of the anise seeds is an amazing discovery for me.  It makes it so sweet and flavorful.  We're getting tomatoes from the green house now so we had some of them on top, in addition to some of Raisa's cheese.  If I remember I'll definitely make these again.