The benefits of knowing people in Mexican places

Yesterday I introduced you to Lesley of Mija Chronicles¬†fame. She’s an expat living in Mexico City and she loves food, particularly that of the Mexican persuasion. She posted this recipe for Pan de Elote¬†just a few weeks ago, I made it the day I read it. I’m sure¬† that gives you a good indication¬†of how fantastic it is. I’m SO happy I made this. My waistline isn’t happy, well, I don’t think my waistline cares one way or the other. The mirror…, that’s a different story.

Moving on. I will redirect you to¬†her post for the actual recipe, no need to re-invent the wheel. Believe me,¬†you¬†WANT to see¬†her post. You may actually want to EAT her post, but I don’t think computer monitors will taste¬†quite the same.¬†¬†A few notes about the recipe and the steps to bring it together.

Her recipe was made with white corn, which¬†is commonly available in Mexico, but I wasn’t able to find it here in Houston. The best I was able to get was 2-color fresh corn, but still, it was mostly yellow.

I was 1 ear of corn shy of 4 cups of husked corn kernels. Upon closer inspection, I only had 3 cps. Gulp. Unwilling to take such a massive risk, and because The Hubbz will always make an emergency run for me, I asked him to get me more cobs. Crisis averted.

Because I suck at following recipes, I missed the part where it said to grind HALF of the corn…, you should do that.

I did use the unsalted butter, but added a pinch of salt for that ying yang effect. I would also suggest using a bit less of the sugar since the US corn tends to be so sweet.

For this recipe you will beat the egg whites to punto¬†de turr√≥n or to soft peaks for the non-Spanish speakers. Check it out, I’m holding that bowl over my head.

And you want to fold these beautiful whites into the rest of the batter without losing all that cloudy fluff. So, take just a bit of the whites and mix them into the batter, then fold in the rest of the whites. This will make folding the two together easier and more uniform.

And when it baked for 55 minutes or so, it came out looking like this. Can you hear the choir? Aaaaaaaaaaaaah…

The Hubbz¬†and I ate this in 2 days. I’m not proud of it, but this is about full disclosure. This isn’t cornbread as we know it here in the US, it’s not even the cakier¬†version of it. This is a cross between a souffle and an angel food cake. Lesley describes it as a buttery corn cake, and it is all of those things. We especially enjoyed this cake with a bit of queso¬†fresco sprinkled over the top. Ying Yang, baby.

Another keeper!

Cookingly yours,
Anamaris

Perfect BBQ Sides: Corn

Fiesta is a popular grocery store here in Houston, it caters to almost every culture of the world. We have a very large Mexican-American population here in Houston, so it makes sense to find a lot of Mexican influences throughout the store, including the parking lot. Yes. The parking lot.

I think my first experience with a food truck, was outside my neighborhood Fiesta. There was a truck that served roasted corn on the cob. Let me tell you about this delicious little treat. They roast it, husk and all, then smear it with butter, crema fresca and chili powder. Insert dramatic pause here.             .  O. M. G. I still remember the first time I had it. A real thing of beauty.

Fast forward some years later and here we are. I made minimal changes to the concept, but the resulting side dish is absolutely. divinely. cornily. DELICIOUS. And fresh. A true Summertime side dish. Super f√°cil (super easy).

There’s no need for a recipe. I used crema¬†fresca, creme fraiche, but if you can’t find it in your area, sour cream will work or a bit of cream cheese loosened with milk. In addition, I threw¬†the corn onto¬†a burning grill, but you can chuck¬†the corn and cook it on the stove top or you can use frozen/canned corn.

Elote con Crema (Corn with Creme Fraiche)

Corn on the cob, roasted & chucked
Sea salt & black pepper
Crema fresca
Queso Cotija or Fresco, shredded
Chipotle pepper powder

Once you have removed the corn from the cob, simply mix all the ingredients and serve warm. Sprinkle extra cheese on top.

Cookingly yours,
Anamaris

Not exactly a White Castle Burger

One of the menu items for my recent 24, 24, 24 submission was an ode to White Castle burgers, at least that’s where the inspiration started. Since White Castle originated in Ohio, this seemed a fun menu item to throw into the mix as the Midwest’s representative.

First, I researched what all went into those little burgers. I remember how much I loved them while visiting Missouri. I can still picture the perfect little bread squares, the thin oniony patty and how moist it all was. From that memory, I knew I wanted to mimic the moist patty and the onion topping. I needed to decide on the bread.

I found suggestions to use hot dog buns cut in half, but I wanted more. This was the Midwest; corn is big there, isn’t it? So first I thought of cornbread, then I was hit by the lightbulb. Corn Fritters. Oh yeah. A new burger was born.

Note: This was an 8-course meal I was preparing for, so I made the onions and fried the corn pancakes ahead of time. You can do the same. Also, I served these open-faced–with a pancake at the bottom only, you decide if you want to sandwich them or not.

Burgers on Corn Pancakes with Caramelized Onions

For the Burgers:
1 lb. ground sirloin (use good quality meat)
2 tsps Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsps extra virgin olive oil

Drop all the ingredients except for the beef into your blender and liquify, then add the mixture to the beef. Mix it in by hand and shape into balls just slightly larger than a golf ball. Set aside in your fridge until ready to cook.

When you’re ready to serve them, heat a medium-sized skillet until smoky. Drop 2 or 3 of the meatballs, leaving enough room between them. Flatten them out and cook for a few minutes on either side. Once you’ve flipped them, top it with one of the cooked corn pancakes. This will allow the flavor of the beef to permeate the pancake. Remove from the skillet, top with the onions before serving.

For the Caramelized Onions:
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp brow sugar
3 tbsps sherry (or cooking wine)
2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
Sea salt & black pepper, to taste

I used my mandolin to slice the onions. I love my mandolin, it makes my life beautiful and easy when I’m facing tasks such as this one. It made slicing that onion a breeze, it took me less than 5 minutes to end up with these¬†beautiful slices.

Heat up a saute pan over medium high heat and add the olive oil and butter until it melts. Then add the onions and cook them until they begin to soften.

Add the sugar, this will help caramelize the onions, browning them. Once they have browned, add the sherry and vinegar. Cook until it evaporates. Check and adjust seasoning as desired. Use to top the burger patties.

For the Corn Pancakes:
3 ears of corn, shucked (about 1-1/2 cups)
2 tbsps butter, melted
2 eggs
3 ozs whole milk
1/2 cp cheese (like Gouda, Emmentaler)
1/3 cp flour
1/2 cp coarse yellow cornmeal
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
Oil for frying

After you’ve removed the kernels from the cob, add all the ingredients except the cheese and oil ¬†to your blender or food processor. Blitz it just a couple of times, you want it to be chunky. Then mix in the cheese by hand.

In a nonstick skillet, heat up enough oil to fry the pancakes, you want it to be about 1/4 inch deep. Heat the oil over medium high heat and drop the corn batter using a 1/4 cp measuring laddle or cup. Brown it on both sides, it will take about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove and keep warm.

Putting it all together: After topping the patty with one of the pancakes and allowing the pancake to heat through on the skillet, invert it onto the plate. If serving open-face: top the patty with a dollop of onions. If planning to sandwich it, place the second pancake over the patty, then top with the onions.

These are AMAZING. Do enjoy.
Cookingly yours,
Anamaris