For the tortillas: Take the masa and work in the olive oil and salt by hand. Form into 2-ounce balls and falenn with a tortilla press. Grill on a flat top.
You can serve this traditional dish of the Yucatan as a snack or appetizer. If you want to serve it for dinner, Granados suggests adding tortillas, rice and beans.
Makes 6 servings
2 pounds ground beef, hamburger quality
Sea salt, to taste
1 large yellow onion, 1/8-inch dice
4 celery stalks, 1/8-inch dice
2 medium carrots, 1/8-inch dice
4 large garlic cloves, sliced
10 green olives, without the pits, sliced
3 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon golden raisins
2 pinches fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup cold water
Salt to taste
1 medium, whole roasted jalapeno
3 cilantro sprigs
Baby salad greens, for garnish
Pickled red onions, for garnish
Spread the ground meat in a braising pan over medium heat (large, flat-bottom pan with high sides) spread the ground beef. When it starts rendering its fat, season it with a little salt, remembering that you will be adding capers and olives later.
Add the garlic, onions and cook until they are tender. Add the celery and carrots and stir it. After five minutes, add the capers, olives, raisins and 2 pinches of black pepper. Stir again and wait another five minutes, then add 1/4 cup of cold water.
Let simmer for 10 minutes, then turn the heat off and add the roasted jalapeno and sprigs of cilantro. Cover and let rest for about 12 minutes.
Serve over a tostada and top with greens and cured red onions (see recipe above).
The following recipe is from Erasto Jacinto of Jacinto's Kitchen in Oakmont. You can find corn husks and queso fresco in Latin markets.
Erasto's Sweet Corn Tamales
Makes 30 tamales
1 1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 cups sweet corn, grated
2 ears, cut corn kernels
4 cups whole milk
2 cups grits
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
1/2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 pounds queso fresco
30 corn husks, washed and soaked
Saute onions, garlic and jalapeno in the olive oil and butter until soft. Add the grated corn and bring to a boil; add milk, bring to a boil again. Add the whole corn kernels and the grits; season with salt and pepper, stir until well combined, reduce heat and simmer until the grits are tender (about 10 to 15 minutes). Pour into a hotel pan and cool.
To assemble: Fill each husk with 2 ounces of corn mixture, then stuff with 1 1/2 ounces of queso fresco. Fold both sides over filling and tie both ends of tamale. Prick the tamale several times with a sharp knife to create vent holds. Steam the tamales in a steamer for one hour. Serve with a salsa of your choice.
The following recipe is from Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo Beans in Napa. Any of the pinto-like beans will work in this recipe, including Rio Zape, Red Appaloosa or Anasazi.
Borrachos (Drunken Beans)
Makes 4 servings
4 cups cooked pinto beans
1 bottle lager beer
2 slices good quality bacon, diced
1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 to 4serrano chiles, chopped
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Lime wedges for serving
In a large soup pot over medium heat, warm the beans. Add the beer and simmer for about 20 minutes, letting some of the beer cook off.
Meanwhile, in an ungreased heavy skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until the fat is rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon on a paper-towel lined plate and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the excess oil.
Keep the flame at medium and cook the onion, garlic and chiles until soft and fragrant, about 20 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft and wilted. Add the cooked bacon and stir.
Transfer this mixture to the beans, season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve with warm tortillas and lime wedges.
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