All posts filed under: Grains

Six, the Easy Way ~ Vegetable Tamales

Mexican Restaurants – Whether it’s the strength of the margaritas, the freshness of their chips, the scoville scale of their salsa, or just how “authentic” it all is; everyone has their own way of judging a good one. Me? I look at two things. 1). Chili Rellenos : Is it a charred poblano pepper? Does it have a light egg batter? And just exactly what have they stuffed it with? and 2). Tamales : This is a harder judging for me. Because I like them a lot of different ways. I’ve had them in banana leaves where the “dough” is a kind of yucca / masa mash. I’ve had them in Mexico where there was a little bean or olive surprise buried in the middle. There has been the random bad one where the dough was fluffy … like a biscuit – or dry as a powder keg and dense like hard tack. Suffice it to say, tamales are like that proverbial box of chocolates.. you never know what you’re going to get until you bite into it. …

A Little Tail…

Oh, I could expound on the glory, the finger licking and bone sucking – near orgasmic  feat in devouring ox tail… But that would just be cruel. Ox tail is, and always will be, the completely misunderstood cut of meat. Tough, stringy meat?    … sure Fattiness cubed? … but, of course Bizarre weaponized bone structure?   ….  absolutely! But, throw all that together in a long, s l o w cook – and you have something that not even your favorite Jewish grandmother’s brisket can beat… except for that “back half of the cow thing.” Ox Tail – it is the only muscle in a cow that is constantly on the move. All that perpetual swishing creates some serious dense musculature, fat and connective tissue. The only way to make it palatable is to stew or braise it. I’ve chosen to braise. And, I’ve chosen to do it with little to no added liquid. I’m telling you – get the extra wet naps ready… it’s going to be epic-ly messy. Braised Ox Tail Given the rather large knuckle of tail bone holding everything together …

True Grit (s)

Grits. It is a Southern birthright and we are as picky about our grits as Kentuckians are about their Mint Juleps. Properly prepared, It is a marriage of texture, thickness and creaminess. Improperly made, it’s a bowl of watery, grainy glop. It is also a puzzlement for non-southerners. Working in convention hotels, I would get a lot of travelers that may not have been to the South before, and therefore, may not have been exposed to some of the finer southern delicacies…. like grits. I have been told by customers that they didn’t think they could eat a whole bowl.. “Can I just have one grit to try?” Or.. “What does a grit plant look like?” or even.. “Wow! these are really small seeds…” It’s just very sad….. What it am… Grits are corn ~ coarse-ground hominy corn to be exact. Hominy is made from a large, flat kernel called flint (or dent) corn. It is then air-dried on the cobb and shucked. The kernels are then soaked in a lye or wood ash solution …