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*March 2010 COTM--Kennedy: Masa Fantasies, Tortillas and Tortilla Dishes, Tamales

Please post reports in this thread on recipes from The Essential Cuisines of Mexico chapters MASA FANTASIES, TORTILLAS AND TORTILLA DISHES, and TAMALES

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  1. Tacos de Papa - Potato Tacos (Señora Josefina Velázquez de León) p. 82

    Ever since I tried these, this is one of my favorite uses for leftover boiled, baked, or roasted potatoes. Easy too - just toss diced cooked potatoes with chopped white onion and crumbled queso fresco/fresh cheese. Fill a corn tortilla with filling, secure with toothpicks, and fry until "just crisp on the outside". Simple, but so good with some crema and spicy salsa. Sometimes I add minced cilantro and/or some ground chipotle or ancho chili powder, but they're really good as is. Kennedy mentions that the original recipe calls for mashed potato, which I haven't tried yet.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Rubee

      I should add that I often make a batch of these because they reheat well and crisp up in the oven for a few minutes.

    2. Has anyone tried to make her tortillas starting with dried corn, soaking/cooking it in a lime solution, then rubbing off the "skins", grinding and adding water?

      I found her instructions a bit minimal but followed an Alton Brown link (found here, but can't find it now) where he discussed the process.

      In the video, the corn looks white after having the skins rubbed off, but mine stayed yellow. I (stupidly) added pureed fresh corn to the meal instead of water (when will I learn to follow the directions until I get a pleasing result and THEN modify???) and got yellow goo that was way too wet to form a tortilla.

      Am about to try the whole thing over again but would LOVE to hear from someone who's been successful.

      4 Replies
      1. re: miss louella

        Yes, I have made masa from dried corn, with Diana Kennedy no less. Grinding is the hardest part. Unless you've got the right molino it's hard to get the texture right. If you really want to try (and I do encourage you to try) find a copy of DKs The Art of Mexican Cooking. There is quite a detailed description of the process in the very front of that book. She begins with the soaking process and goes from there...over several pages.

        Here are some photos of the grinder DK uses. It's a 2 step grinding process. You put the nixtamalized corn through once, and then again. If you look closely at the photos, the first 2 should be of the nixtamalized corn and the 2nd two of the second grind.

        1. re: DiningDiva

          I've been on the lookout for a molino for the last little while so that I can make fresh masa (because it's absolutely worth the effort!). Most of the ones that I've found in the local stores look like they would have too coarse of a grind for my needs. Do you have a recommendation for brands? I'd really appreciate the help! On my first attempt at making fresh masa, I tried using a food processor. Hah! What a terrible idea that was. I ended up pounding the corn for hours in a molcajete, and still ended up with inedible crunchy tortillas.

          1. re: Allegra_K

            Several people have recommended a grinder that 's used for grinding Indian spices. Other's have said it works, but only marginally well. Talk to Steve Sando at Rancho Gordo beans, he's been working with corn and trying to find appropriate grinding options for home cooks. He might be able to point you in a better direction. I'm luck enough to be able to get good masa from corn that's been nixtamalized from a local tortillaria, so making it totally from scratch isn't necessary for me.

            1. re: DiningDiva

              Great, thanks for the help! I'll have to look into this.

      2. Enchilada Sencillas - pg. 59

        Why buy canned enchilada sauce when you can make it so easily. Enchiladas Sencillas translates as Easy Enchiladas, and they are!!

        I blogged about them a number of years ago. You can find step-by-step directions, with photos, here - http://thediningdiva.typepad.com/the_...
        (I used chicken rather than scrambled eggs as the filling


        Along with a green salad, these making a pretty satisfying meal for a cold night.

        1. Chorizo Con Papa, chorizo and potato filling, p.35

          cook crumbled chorizo, add cooked potato and chipotles in adobo. This is the easiest thing ever, it's embarrassing to call it dinner but it was a really good filling for tortillas. I don't eat pork, so I used soy chorizo, and left over mashed potatoes and they were very tasty. I added some queso fresco and ate them with sour cream.

          1. Enchiladas Rojas de Aguascalientes (Red Enchiladas), Pg. 60

            This took a bit of prepping and executing but everything went together rather quickly and easily. I halved the recipe. First, 4 dried ancho chiles are toasted, torn into pieces, added to a blender and re-hydrated in hot milk for 10 minutes. Salt, chopped garlic and a hard-boiled egg yolk are added and all is blended till smooth. Water is added if this mixture doesn't add up to 2 cups. The resulting sauce is cooked for 5 minutes in hot oil. In another skillet, tortillas (I used Trader Joe's small organic corn tortillas) are lightly fried, drained and kept warm for the assembly. Each tortilla is dipped in the sauce, filled with crumbled queso fresca and chopped white onion, rolled and placed side by side on a platter. The remaining sauce is thinned out and poured over the enchiladas. These are then topped with chopped egg white, shredded lettuce, sliced radishes, pickled chile strips and served.

            I thought this was very tasty. But, with this recipe DH declared he Does Not Like Mexican Food. Emphatically. He didn't like the way it looked on the plate. Little does he know that I have several other recipes planned before the end of the month. He couldn't possibly think he doesn't like All Mexican food, does he?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Gio

              Here is my enchilada soup that is fantastic!

              Julies Enchilada Soup

              1 LB Chicken Breast
              1 C Masa
              1 T Vegetable Oil
              ½ C Diced Onion
              1 Serrano Pepper (can de-seed if desired)
              1 Minced Garlic Clove
              ½ C Wine
              1 Quart Chicken Broth
              3 C Water
              1 C Enchilada Sauce
              2 C Shredded Cheddar Cheese
              1 t Salt
              1 t Chili Powder
              ½ t Ground Cumin

              Cube chicken, sauté in oil, and remove from pan. Add onions to pan on medium heat and cook for 1 minute. Add garlic and cook for two or three minutes until the onions are translucent. Add wine and reduce until it is all evaporated. Add the chicken broth. Mix Masa with two cups of the water. Add the masa mixture and the extra cup of water. Add the enchilada sauce and seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer 30 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the cheese until melted.

            2. Chilaquiles De Aguascalientes, p69-70

              To make the sauce - puree chipotles en adobo with onion, cilantro, garlic, oregano and tomatoes. Fry tortilla pieces, then line baking dish with 1/3 of them, add sauce, crumbled queso fresco, and the recipe calls for crumbled chorizo but I used shredded poached chicken breast. Layer everything again and top with last of the tortilla pieces and sauce. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

              This was so good! We loved it. I thought it was going to be fussy to prepare, but it was pretty fast.

              1. Green Chile Gordas, p37

                process tortillas until like fine breadcrumbs, blend 3 charred and peeled anaheim chiles with hot milk, add that to the tortilla crumbs and mix with salt. Recipe calls for melted lard, I used vegetable oil. let it sit for a couple of hours, then form into little patties and fry.

                I served them with cilantro and sour cream, they were good and very easy, and a great way to use up lots of tortillas before passover comes!

                1. Enchiladas Verdes, p 67

                  sauce is tomato verde, 3 poblano chiles charred and peeled, cilantro, toasted peanuts, salt, broth. Blend it all, cook it. Warm tortillas, fry poblano strips with onion, I added the shredded poached chicken to that pan to heat it up. drenched tortillas in sauce, put filling in and roll, pour remaining sauce over the top. supposed to be served with queso fresco, sour cream, chopped onion, I used chopped onion and cilantro.

                  There were a lot of parts to prepare, but it wasn't too complicated and didn't take very long (I charred and peeled all the poblanos in advance, as well as poaching the chicken) I didn't have tomato verde so substituted with regular tomato which means they weren't quite so green but still tasted good. With the peanuts it's different and was a hit.

                  1. Chilaquiles Verdes Tampiquenos, p. 68

                    This is similar to one of my favourite dishes from Bayless' Authentic Mexican, so I thought I'd give it a go.

                    First I made the sauce. Cooked tomatillos are blended with charred poblanos, epazote (I didn't have), cilantro, onion, and salt, then fried a few minutes, and chicken broth is added before a bit more cooking.

                    Corn tortilla pieces are pan-fried in oil, added to the sauce, and stir-fried until the sauce is almost absorbed, and the tortillas have just begun to soften. For serving, it's topped with queso fresco, chopped onion, sliced radishes and hard-boiled egg, and a sprinkling of cilantro.

                    It was tasty, but I don't think the poblanos were necessary. I prefer a tomatillo sauce without poblanos, such as Bayless uses for chilaquiles verdes. I also fancy the crema/sour cream topping he recommends. Then I shake on some Cholula sauce -- there's something magical about the combination of chilaquiles verdes with sour cream and Cholula.

                    1. Totopos, p.94

                      One of the most common ways to use up stale corn tortillas. Cut them up and fry into chips. I do these often, but next time will try her suggestion of letting them dry overnight - she says this makes them absorb less oil.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Rubee

                        I make all the tortilla chips we eat this way (a once-a-week thing in our house) - and the overnight dry does help to make them less absorbent (Bayless recommends the same thing).

                      2. Enchiladas Verdes de San Luis Potosi (Green Enchiladas), p. 63

                        One of my favorites so far from the book. These were delicious. I made the sauce with cooked tomato verde (p. 492), serrano chiles, cilantro, milk, garlic, salt, and crema. The sauce is blended, and then cooked/reduced. Corn tortillas are fried and then dipped in the sauce, filled with shredded poached chicken, and rolled. Garnish with more sauce, chopped onion, queso fresco, and crema/sour cream. We loved these, though they cooled down quickly and next time I would pop them in the oven for 5-10 minutes to warm up before serving. I served them with Frijoles Refritos (p. 155) and Elote Con Crema (p. 225)

                        We enjoyed the leftovers by covering them with the rest of the sauce, baking in the oven, and serving with a fried egg on top the next day for lunch.

                        1. Tostadas, p. 88

                          One of the things I love about Mexican food is that once you've made a couple of fillings, add some queso, beans, tortillas, and salsa and you can make any number of dishes. A favorite using leftovers is tostadas - just fry tortillas until crisp and then top with any combination. This trio made a nice lunch:

                          Potato with onion and queso fresco (p. 82), cilantro, and salsa roja.
                          Chilorio (p. 18) with frijoles refritos (p. 155) and jalapeno relish (p. 238)
                          Chicken with salsa de tomato verde (p. 236), shredded romaine, and crema.

                          1. Chilaquiles Veracruzanos, p. 71

                            Another delicious version of chilaquiles. The night before, I poached bone-in chicken breasts in water, cilantro, mint, onion, and garlic, and also made the sauce - toasted and hydrated anchos, tomatoes, garlic, water, and chicken broth are blended. For lunch, I simmered tortilla chips in the sauce, and then topped with shredded chicken, white onion, crema, and crumbled queso fresco.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Rubee

                              I'm slowly getting the hang of Mexican, and made this tonight using leftover corn tortillas and poached chicken from the weekend. I baked them in the oven, sprayed with oil, rather than frying, and this worked well. I thought this was yummy - the only change I made was to pop the dish, minus the onion and cream, under the grill for five minutes so the cheese got all melty (I used a mild white English cheese, Cheshire). Instead of white onion I used some leftover pink pickled onions, which I love, partly because they're so psychedelic!