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Having recently moved to British Columbia from Los Angeles I'm sorely missing my fresh Mexican ingredients...mainly fresh masa both for tortillas and tamales.

Does anyone have a recipe for home made masa dough? If I can replicate my beloved masa, I'm willing to give it a shot!

Many thanks!

bimbojones
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Having recently moved to British Columbia from Los Angeles I'm sorely missing my fresh Mexican ingredients...mainly fresh masa both for tortillas and tamales.

Does anyone have a recipe for home made masa dough? If I can replicate my beloved masa, I'm willing to give it a shot!

Many thanks!

Try Here:

http://www.fabulousfoods.com/recipes/misc/freshmasa.html

http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/masa.htm

http://www.fabulousfoods.com/recipes/misc/millermasa.html

http://www.happycookers.com/wc.dll/recipes/divulge/1174.html

http://www.epicurious.com/bonappetit/cooki...s/masa_recipes1

PS : Went to Il Sureno.....The smoked chipotles smell great....but I was there for ingredients for Mole. Thanks for asking these questions, as Mexican cooking is my obsession right now.

Irishgirl :smile:

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I totally forgot I have this book "The food and life of Qaxaca". There's a recipe in there for masa! I just always grab for my old favorites - Mesa Mexicana and La Parilla and never notice this one (I tell ya, bold graphics are everything when you've got too many cookbooks). But I should, it's got lot's of amazing recipes (speaking of mole).

Thanks for all those great links! I really wish I had a matate but I may look for the mill first...maybe I'll just try my food processor then grind small batches in the morter for a smoother consistancy. I'll report back!

:wink:

bimbojones
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The outer coating won't wash off in the cal, but the cal soak loosens it.

You have to rub the outer coating off after you soak the dried corn in the cal/water. An easy (well, not so easy) way to do that is to drain the soaked corn and rub it like crazy in a big clean bath towel. It's work, but not as much work as peeling each kernel individually. :blink:

What's new at Mexico Cooks!?

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The outer coating won't wash off in the cal, but the cal soak loosens it.  You have to rub the outer coating off after you soak the dried corn in the cal/water.  An easy (well, not so easy) way to do that is to drain the soaked corn and rub it like crazy in a big clean bath towel.  It's work, but not as much work as peeling each kernel individually.  :blink:

Hi Esperanza,Actually I did rub the kernels between my palms with the water running but didn't try the bath towel thing...Peeling? Would the outer coating actually peel off or just disintigrate? Maybe I'm not using the right corn. I bought a bag of dry corn labeled white corn. Very large kernels with a dented center. Which is why I chose them since all the recipes I found called for field or "dent" corn. Plus the cal was right next to them so I assumed they were the ones.I washed them the best I could without crushing them then ground them up. Here's a few shots from my adventure with nixtamal...<br><table width="815" height="249" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="2"> <tr> <td width="270" height="166"><img src="http://www.geocities.com/michele_graybeal/nixtamal.jpg" width="270" height="213"></td> <td width="268"><img src="http://www.geocities.com/michele_graybeal/masa.jpg" width="268" height="213"></td> <td width="269"><img src="http://www.geocities.com/michele_graybeal/tortilla.jpg" width="269" height="213"></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="270" height="30"> <div align="center"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">nixtamal simmering</font></div></td> <td width="268"><div align="center"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">masa - ground in food processor</font></div></td> <td width="269"><div align="center"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">finished tortilla</font></div></td> </tr></table><br>The texture is great, nice crispy outside with tender inside but the flavor...well, very slight bitter aftertaste, I'm afraid. But other than that they've got that typical real corn tortilla taste!I'm going over the boarder this weekend so maybe I can find a Mexican market that sells what I need...
bimbojones
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"but I was there for ingredients for Mole".

Oh, hark, do tell Irish girl. What kind of mole are you making? What ingredients are you looking for? I may be able to direct you. I may have the chiles you seek.

And very, very excited about number one the Masa Cal at the Superstore and number two this wonderful experiment I wish to try, making my own masa.

And Ms. Jones, where did you buy the dent corn and slaked lime?

Please and thank you.

Shelora

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I am making a red mole with anchos, pasillas and guajillos....some with chicken, and some vegetarian.

Don't worry about ingredients...i already scoped that out and have most of them.

My Mexican dishwashers love this recipe and think it very authentic...although they all have their preferences depending on the region they come from. They want me to make Mole Negro next time. I personally like the Green Mole as well.

What I want to know....is, if Masa is made from corn, what is the difference between Masa tortillas and corn tortillas? Is it that the masa is suppossed to be white? I am thoroughly confused.....but I think that I am going to pick up a bag of Masa Cal until I can get my Molcajete from Granville Island.

P.S. Also interested in where the corn and lime were bought.

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I am making a red mole with anchos, pasillas and guajillos....some with chicken, and some vegetarian.

Don't worry about ingredients...i already scoped that out and have most of them.

My Mexican dishwashers love this recipe and think it very authentic...although they all have their preferences depending on the region they come from.  They want me to make Mole Negro next time.  I personally like the Green Mole as well.

What I want to know....is, if Masa is made from corn, what is the difference between Masa tortillas and corn tortillas?  Is it that the masa is suppossed to be white?  I am thoroughly confused.....but I think that I am going to pick up a bag of Masa Cal until I can get my Molcajete from Granville Island.

P.S.  Also interested in where the corn and lime were bought.

Irishgirl - corn tortillas are made from masa, a dough made from dried field corn. Field (dent) corn is mostly used for cornmeal, startch, etc. "Sweet corn, the corn we eat as a vegetable, has a very thin skin. Sweet corn is loaded with sugars which is harvested before the kernels mature. The field corn called yellow dent, has a very thick outer skin that doesn't soften up to the point you can eat it even if you cook it for hours. There's really only two ways to eat it - grind it dry into a meal". Masa just means dough, really, but most Mexcans know it refers to corn dough. Here's a couple links which hopefully explains some things.

http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/masanixtamal.htm

http://wwwiz.com/issue13/d04.html

Shelora - your masa harina, which is what is at Superstore, is great! I use it all the time. It's just dried fresh masa I think. I never buy store bought tortillas. For me, they're just not as tasty as home made. If you want make the tortillas ahead of time and freeze them. Just form the balls and put them on a baking try lined with parchment paper so they're not touching. When frozen toss 'em in a freezer bag. You can just take out what you need and thaw.

I bought the corn and cal (calcium hydroxide) at El Sureno market on Commercial Dr. between 1st & 2nd. Just be careful with the cal. The dust can really irritate your eyes and throat if inhaled. I'm still not sure about the freshness of the cal or the corn even though it's dried. I might try another source.

Anybody know where's a good Mexican market in Bellingham? I'm going there on Saturday...

bimbojones
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"but I think that I am going to pick up a bag of Masa Cal until I can get my Molcajete from Granville Island."

Masa Harina and Maseca are products that have the oil removed from the kernel that houses a lot of nutrients. That is why there is such controversy over it's use in Mexico, where corn is so abundant (Esperanza please help here).

The use of your molcajete to grind the corn might provide some problems as traditionally corn is ground on the metate. It provides a bigger space to work on. But by the photos, you seemed to get a pretty good product from your processor.

Would like to know more about whether cal has a shelf life.

Let me know what you find in Bellingham.

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The use of your molcajete to grind the corn might provide some problems as traditionally corn is ground on the metate. It provides a bigger space to work on. But by the photos, you seemed to get a pretty good product from your processor.

Would like to know more about whether cal has a shelf life.

Let me know what you find in Bellingham.

Actually, I think you're referring to Irishgirl regarding the molcajete...and I agree it would be too small and maybe too porous? But good to get one anyway for salsas, recados and guacamole!

I'm quite happy with the results using my food processor. Nice and rustic! I did process it twice though. First to whiz it down to a coarse texture then again in small batches to a little finer texture. I added a little chicken stock and salt, too, to make the masa more flavorful.

All in all I didn't find it to be to labor intensive like it's made out to be...using a processor, that is. Well worth it if you can make enough to freeze! :smile:

bimbojones
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One more thing...

Just read something about calcium hydroxide which may explain my results. "Once the container is opened it rapidly deteriorates so that very old samples may not give expected results." Now, it was in a plastic bag but who knows how old it was in the first place...

May be better to order it from the pharmacy!

bimbojones
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According to the Maseca website, vitamins and minerals are added to the masa harina--smacks of vitamins and minerals being added to the bread in the USA.

A good quality molcajete is usually no more porous than a metate, but man oh man I would hate to think of grinding nixtamal into masa in a molcajete. The motions used for the two (metate vs molcajete) are completely different from one another and not, as best I can tell, interchangeable. In addition, the tejolote (the pestle) used with the molcajete is very different in shape and size from the mano (the stone grinding thing, like a stone rolling pin) that's used with the metate. The mano actually starts out square when new.

The last time I bought cal, I got it at the corner store near me. They didn't sell it, but the store owner said, "Wait a minute, I'm doing a construction project in the other part of the building and I have some that I was mixing with the cement." He went next door and brought me back a little plastic bag that he'd dumped some in and gave it to me. It sure worked, and I have no idea how old it might have been.

The outer covering on the kernel of dent corn does not disintegrate, it simply loosens from the soft inner kernel so that it can be rubbed off.

Many people recommend removing the little 'grit' from the kernel (in the bottom part) so that the kernel will 'flower' as it's cooking. This is more about making pozole than it is about making masa, though.

Edited by esperanza (log)

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"The outer covering on the kernel of dent corn does not disintegrate, it simply loosens from the soft inner kernel so that it can be rubbed off."

When you say outer covering do you mean a "skin" that would loosen and slip off? If that's the case, that most definitely didn't happen with the corn I bought. The exterior of the corn just got kind of soft and gummy. I could reveal the white kernal but only if I scraped it with my thumbnail. The corn was quite brittle, too. If I scraped too hard it would crumble. Does this sound right? The bag was labeled "white corn" and looked exactly like what I've seen on line. Large kernals, about the size of a dime with an indented center.

Hopefully today I'll find a market in Bellingham and get another bag of corn clearly labeled "dent or field" corn. I've got a birthday party next weekend and I'm planning a Mexican feast! I want to wow them with my tortillas...but in a GOOD way!

Thanks for your input, too!

bimbojones
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When you say outer covering do you mean a "skin" that would loosen and slip off? If that's the case, that most definitely didn't happen with the corn I bought. The exterior of the corn just got kind of soft and gummy. I could reveal the white kernal but only if I scraped it with my thumbnail. The corn was quite brittle, too. If I scraped too hard it would crumble. Does this sound right?

No, that doesn't sound right at all.

I do indeed mean a skin that would loosen and slip off, the same kind of skin (only tougher) that you'd see on kernels of corn on the cob. I'm having a really hard time visualizing what it is that you bought; is it possible that your bagged corn was already nixtamal-ized? Nixtamal-ized corn is sold in bags like those you mention both here in Mexico and in the USA.

When corn needs to be nixtamal-ized, it's usually sold dry--big individual kernels, either red or white, of field corn. I'm wondering if you're not going off on a wild goose chase looking for something labeled 'dent corn'--even in the States I've not seen this designation. I read the differentiation between 'sweet corn' and 'dent corn' on these boards, but in real life...nope.

IMHO, your best bet is to go to a Latin market and ask for maíz para pozole. See if they've got it dry in bushel baskets or bins. The individual kernels will be hard as rocks, slightly shiny, about the size of your thumbnail, and about 1/8-1/4" thick. I'd use white for tortillas, red for pozole. With these, you can nixtamal-ize to your heart's content.

I'd email you some, but it would clog up our hard drives.

What's new at Mexico Cooks!?

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No, that doesn't sound right at all. 

I do indeed mean a skin that would loosen and slip off, the same kind of skin (only tougher) that you'd see on kernels of corn on the cob.  I'm having a really hard time visualizing what it is that you bought; is it possible that your bagged corn was already nixtamal-ized?  Nixtamal-ized corn is sold in bags like those you mention both here in Mexico and in the USA. 

When corn needs to be nixtamal-ized, it's usually sold dry--big individual kernels, either red or white, of field corn.  I'm wondering if you're not going off on a wild goose chase looking for something labeled 'dent corn'--even in the States I've not seen this designation.  I read the differentiation between 'sweet corn' and 'dent corn' on these boards, but in real life...nope. 

IMHO, your best bet is to go to a Latin market and ask for maíz para pozole. See if they've got it dry in bushel baskets or bins.  The individual kernels will be hard as rocks, slightly shiny, about the size of your thumbnail, and about 1/8-1/4" thick.  I'd use white for tortillas, red for pozole.  With these, you can nixtamal-ize to your heart's content. 

I'd email you some, but it would clog up our hard drives.

Esperanza - you may be right! They are as you describe - big fat corn kernals. If that's the case, do I just soak them in water or boil them? The thing is I may end up getting another bag at El Sureno...because the gal at Tienda El Polivoz on 4120 Meridian St. in Bellingham FOGOT TO PUT THE CORN IN MY GROCERY BAG!! (arrrgg!!) :sad: I was too busy chatting with her and gloating over my goodies to realize it myself. That was the reason for going there in the first place.

Great place, though. Not a lot of produce, just a few essentials like avocados and nopales, etc. I picked up a huge bag of Morita chiles for $4 plus smaller bags of chile negro, molito and arbol for $1.29ea. A nice selection of chiles, although, you may have to examine the chiles in the bulk bags. Got a few moth larvae in mine. Also, just in case, some masa harina sold in bulk bags for $1.59. They have cal for $.59 (cheap!). Great selection of spices, too. Picked up some epazote, mexican oregano, panela sugar, achiote paste and my crema!! :biggrin: Definitely worth the trip down. I even picked up a nice large woven blanket/table cloth for $11 (40% off-originally $19). I had been there once a couple years back but then they didn't have the selection they have now. They are also expanding next month into the next building to include a meat shop (carniceria?).

Anyway, thanks for your help!

bimbojones
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Do me a favor: when you get that corn, post everything it says on the label. If your Spanish is rusty, I can translate what it says for you and then we'll both know--me from your post and you from my translation.

That market sounds wonderful.

Edited by esperanza (log)

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Actually, I still have the bag. It just reads "white corn". The company is Doña Elsita - Authentic foods from Mexico, Central & South America. Distributed by Horizonte Imports in Surrey. I called the number but it was a fax.

I'll pick up a bag and take a snapshot of the corn and post it. You're probably right, it's already been processed. Just dried nixtamal, right? Do I boil and soak it? Is it the same cooking procedure minus the cal? I mean aside from the slight wierd taste from the cal it had the right texture and corn taste I'm familiar with.

bimbojones
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Do me a favor: when you get that corn, post everything it says on the label.  If your Spanish is rusty, I can translate what it says for you and then we'll both know--me from your post and you from my translation.That market sounds wonderful.

Starting over. Here's the corn. Does this look like it's been "nixtamal-ized"? I bet that's the case. I've brought it up to boil, simmered it and now it's just soaking covered until it's soft enough. I did read over the other thread about Pozole which has been helpful. Wish me luck!<br><table width="30%" height="332" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="2"> <tr> <td><img src="http://www.geocities.com/michele_graybeal/whitecorn.jpg"></td> <td><img src="http://www.geocities.com/michele_graybeal/nxtamal_kernals.jpg"></td> </tr></table>
bimbojones
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Well my my! The Spanish on that label didn't need much translating at all. :laugh::laugh::raz:

Your photos are great, by the way.

It does look as if it's been nixtamal-ized and just needs cooking some more, but you are going to be the new expert here as soon as you figure out what this stuff really needs.

I don't like the looks of the 'grit' at the narrow end of the kernel, though. Tell us what happens once you get the kernel soft. It should end up sort of like hominy from a can, only better--fresh, bigger, plumper, more 'flowered', and with a better texture and flavor. In other words, the same kind of differences you see between fresh vegetables and canned vegetables.

I will go to the market this week, buy some pre-nixtamal-ization corn and take a picture so you can see what it looks like in its original state.

Of course I wish you luck, and I sure admire your persistence.

Edited by esperanza (log)

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...It does look as if it's been nixtamal-ized and just needs cooking some more, but you are going to be the new expert here as soon as you figure out what this stuff really needs. 

I don't like the looks of the 'grit' at the narrow end of the kernel, though.  Tell us what happens once you get the kernel soft.  It should end up sort of like hominy from a can, only better--fresh, bigger, plumper, more 'flowered', and with a better texture and flavor.  In other words, the same kind of differences you see between fresh vegetables and canned vegetables.

I will go to the market this week, buy some pre-nixtamal-ization corn and take a picture so you can see what it looks like in its original state. 

Of course I wish you luck, and I sure admire your persistence.

Thank's esperanza, yes, I don't give up easily! :raz:

So, in response, I've never made pozole nor bought a can of hominy so I can't compare but I'm sure you're right. I just simmered and simmered until they seemed soft enough to grind up. A few started to "flower" but I didn't want them to because I thought it would affect the texture of the masa...maybe too mushy? Anyway, I whized them in the processor like before but didn't get as fine a grind this time. Although they did soak overnight in the last batch. I'll give them one more time in the machine today and twist up a couple tortillas. The rest will go in the freezer. The grit, (germ?) or tan pointed tip, softened up just fine in the cooking process. Didn't make a difference once ground up and the little flecks actually makes the masa look "authentic" from what I'm used to. I've read some Mexican cooks remove them but that's way too much work!

By the way, made home-rendered lard yesterday, too. Makin' carnitas for this weekend! I may add a drop of two to the masa for flavor. Yumm!

bimbojones
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Just a quick note - the masa turned out excellent this time. I let the masa sit over night and processed it a third time the next morning and came out much finer in texture. Nice and fluffy too! Made a couple tortillas and they were great! Chucked it in the freezer for later use. It's nice not to have to go through the liming process. Now off to make the carnitas! :raz:

Edited by bimbojones (log)
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  • 5 months later...

Ok, so: I visited my grandmother-in-law in Arizona in July. For several decades she was chief cook at her Bisbee church, regularly making 100 dozen tamales every Christmas Eve with her friends. Due to health reasons, she's had to move up to Tucson, and upon our arrival west with the first great-granddaughter in tow (look to your left), we drove down with the rest of the clan to spend a few days in Bisbee.

While I was there, I vowed to learn how to make tamales a la Castañeda, and so Elsie and I set out to get the job done. After getting a couple of big chuck roasts and some chile paste, we went to a nearby tortilleria, watched them grind some fresh masa, and brought it home. The next day, under her watchful eye, my wife, older daughter, mother-in-law, and I mixed the masa with lard, stock, and salt, prepared the corn husks, and made 12 dozen tamales in the middle of her 106F kitchen.

They were amazing.

Of course, we then brainstormed obsessively about how I could get fresh masa in Providence. Unlike the grocery stores in Tuscon, Bisbee, and probably most of the southwest, you can't buy bags of fresh masa out here anywhere. We concluded that my best shot would be hitting our local tortilleria here in Providence (Tortilleria Pixatla at Sanchez Market, for those who care). No dice: when I went there yesterday, the proprietor pointed at a bag of Maseca tamale masa harina and said, "That's what every tortilleria on the east coast uses, including us. You can't find fresh masa even in NYC."

:hmmm:

Not willing to accept defeat, I then contacted Steve at Rancho Gordo, who sells his heirloom beans and other fine stuff at farmers' markets out west. Unfortunately, he can't sell his fresh masa (which I'm salivating about as I type) via the mails, since he doesn't have the set up to do that at this time.

:sad:

So now I turn to you, dear eGulleteers. How can I solve this dilemma? I'm willing to go to pretty extreme lengths, I will say. You gotta help me. Puh-leeez!

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Since you are willing to go through extreme measures to obtain fresh masa, might I suggest making your own? This is described in Diana Kennedy's latest book and on various web sites including this entry on My Little Kitchen.

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Thanks, Ed. Your brief but very useful post prompts several potentially stupid questions:

Should I assume that most fresh masa is made from dried, reconstituted dent corn, and thus that I'm not going to suffer in quality much, if at all?

Does anyone have any sources for the corn and the lime? Racho Gordo seems not to have it, and when I Google "dent corn" I get a jillion feed sources.

I have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer with a grinder attachment -- acceptable substitute for a molino?

Chris Amirault

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      1/2 c fresh chopped cilantro
      1/2 c pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced

      Heat oil in 4-quart saucepan over med-high heat until hot. (Make sure you use a large enough pot, I tried to make it fit into a 3&1/2 quart pot and it was very tight). Add onion & garlic, cook until soft. Add rice, and stir well, cook, stirring occasionally, until rice toasts a bit and turns golden, about 3-5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, chiles, chili powder, and S&P. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until rice is done, about 25 min. You may have some liquid still left.
      Turn off heat and stir in cilantro and olives, Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
      Keywords: Side, Rice, Mexican, Easy
      ( RG2089 )
    • By chardgirl
      Greens Tacos
      I like to make these for breakfast or lunch: I try to eat dark leafy greens most days one way or another.

      3/4 lb greens, cleaned well and sliced into approximate 1 inch pieces (today I used arugula and radish greens, leaving the radish ‘roots' in the fridge to be munched on later. the greens are good to eat, but
      2 tsp cooking oil
      2 stalks green garlic, cleaned as a leek and chopped, or another allium family, whatever you have on hand (onion, green onion, garlic, leek.....)

      Pinch red pepper flakes or cayenne
      2 T cream cheese
      4 small corn tortillas or 2-3 larger flour ones

      Heat the oil and add the garlic, having the greens ready to go, and cook garlic for about 30 seconds. Then add greens and cook until bright green and wilted, add red pepper (and salt and black pepper if you like). Take off heat and stir in cream cheese. Heat tortillas, divide filling among them. Eat and enjoy.
      Keywords: Vegetables, Easy, Vegetarian
      ( RG1521 )
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