Saturday, September 15, 2007

Trying Mexican

Updated below:

I hope everyone's weekend is charging right along. Don't forget that today starts a weeklong series of events protesting the war in Iraq. Big march scheduled for Washington, DC and a "die in" as well. Probably going to be some arrests for that. It will be interesting to see what the MSM does with it. Enigma4ever at Watergate Summer suggests a light in a window to show support and that seems like a good idea.

I decided yesterday that one area of my cooking skills that was lacking was in traditional Mexican so I am going to do something about it. We have quite a large Hispanic population here in Roswell (something that is driving all the wingnut Republicans here absolutely insane BTW) and as such we are lucky enough to have a big grocery market that is basically completely Mexican. Mercado Del Pueblo is in an ex Publix spot and it is packed with everything Mexican.
I scored a very nice tortilla press for 14 bucks, a big bag of Masa harina (corn flour), lard, canned chipotles in adobo sauce and a few other essentials like corn husks and I am going to get some good Mexican fundamentals under my belt before the weekend is out. We are catching the tail end of Humberto here so there is not going to be much outdoor stuff happening.

Last night was homemade corn tortilla time and while the first few were shaky I began to get the hang of it. At first my dough was too wet and I couldn't get the tortillas to separate from the plastic after pressing and I was also pressing them too thin. The end result was good enough for Madam and I to have some fajitas. Fresh tortillas definitely make a difference. A few more batches and I will have the hang of it. It is surprising quick. Two cups of Masa harina and a dash of salt mixed with a cup and a quarter of water. Mix the dough and then roll golf ball size balls and press them between two plastic sheets in the tortilla press to make 6 inch tortillas. Cook them on an ungreased medium hot griddle or cast iron pan for about a minute on each side and voila!

Today is tomales day. I have a chuck roast stewing away right now to make the chili con carne filling and the corn husks soaking. I am also going to make some just stuffed with a roasted red pepper mixture. Later today we will see if I can master the batter/dough and the formation process. I have seen it done but actually making the tomales may be the challenge. Steam them for a couple of hours and we shall see. I adore tomales and will be very happy if I can learn to make a big batch that can be frozen for later. It's a lot of work but I am expecting a might reward.

I haven't decided on tomorrow's challenge but I am leaning toward refried beans and/or maybe some enchiladas with homemade tortillas.

You'd think being married to a Texas girl would save me from the trial and error method here but no...her excuse is she left too early to learn and besides she is German. You can bet, however, she will be the first to tell me if my efforts are up to snuff. Tomales report forthcoming.

Update on the tamales: Taste was good but not visually very pretty though not awful. It is clear however that I need a lesson on exactly the best way to form them.

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