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I thought I'd start another thread so it could be found easier. I'll describe things as I learned them when I lived in Mexico and on the border. I've been in lots of Mexican kitchens including a very good friend of mine who is an outstanding cook.

To make fresh masa:

Dissolve lime in water and add dried corn. Heat and set aside overnight. Some time the next day....not too early... take up some kernels and rub them between your hands. If the husks come off pretty easily it is ready to rinse. Rinse several times. At least 3 or 4 to remove all the lime. Agitate the corn while rinsing. The husks will get rinsed away. Set up a hand crank grinder so that it will make mush/masa. Sometimes you have to run it through twice. The hand grinder is the same kind you can grind grains with.

To make tortillas with fresh masa:

Mix in a bit of salt and you might need to add just a bit of water to make it a nice cohesive dough. Place dough in a ziploc bag or wrap in saran wrap so that it doesn't dry out while you are making tortillas. Pinch off a piece somewhere between the size of a golf ball and a large egg. Roll into a ball and then flatten slightly. Take a ziploc bag and cut it into plastic sheets a bit bigger than your tortilla press. You will need 2 individual sheets. Place the ball of masa slightly towards the hinge edge of the press since it will push it towards the lever side. Have a sheet of plastic above and below the ball of dough. Press in a firm quick motion. Peel off top piece of plastic, flip tortilla onto your hand and gently peel off the other piece of plastic. Place on a barely smoking hot dry comal/griddle. Cook for about 1 minute and then turn and cook for a minute to minute and a half.

Making tamales:

There are many different types of tamales. Most folks north of the border have never had sweet tamales. They are made just like the more familiar meat tamales except you sweeten the masa and use some sort of fruit or syrup for the filling. I've had vegetarian tamales made with seasoned squash that were really good..

First you take your corn husks and put them in a bowl to soak in warm/hot water while getting everything else ready. Take some masa and hydrate it with broth(pot liquor) for a bit of extra flavor. Get it wet enough so that it will smear easily. Add a bit of salt to the masa. There are many different tamale fillings. I'll give the basics for pork tamales. Take your well cooked pork and season it to your liking. A traditional method is to stew it with dried chili's, onion, some tomato sauce. You can season your meat any way you like. Remove solids from the pot and mince fine. Add pot liquor as needed to make an easily spoonable/moldable texture.

Take a corn husk a bit wider than your palm(or at least my palm...lol) and a spoon of masa and smear it on the husk. Repeat until there is a thin even layer. Stop short of the very edges of the husk. Don't hesitate to tear the husks to get the correct size. You will smear in the middle portion so that the top and bottom can be folded up, so don't put masa on the whole thing. We do this assembly line style with a big group around the holidays. My job is almost always masa smearer :D Use a small amount of meat to make a line down the middle of the masa. Roll the corn husk in from the side then fold under both ends. You can take a narrow piece of corn husk and tie around it, but we never bother.

These can be frozen to be cooked later if desired.

Tamales are steamed. Tamale pots are common in Mexico and are basically big stock pots with a perforated plate on bottom to hold the tamales out of the water in the bottom that is doing the steaming. It shouldn't be too difficult to rig something up that will work if you don't have a tamale pot. We always made a huge kettle of tamales when we cooked them. Seems like we cooked the big kettle gently steaming with tamales stacked most of the way up for an hour or a bit more.

Tortillas from MaSeCa instant corn flour:

I actually made these for the first time tonight. I've been spoiled to always have fresh masa to work with or an amiga to make me tortillas. These turned out really well!

I used 1 cup of masa flour since I wanted to make a small amount of tortillas. 2 cups would be more of a normal amount. Add a small amount of salt(tells you in directions). Then add water until it makes a dough. I used very warm water as I think it hydrates it better. Let dough set covered for 10-15 minutes. Do not let dough dry out. Next time I will see if using half broth and half water makes a difference. Press out and cook like described above for tortillas made from fresh masa.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Refried beans:

Heat up beans. Mash with a fork. Add a few tblsp of oil(olive oil is good)....or lard. I will often add a bit of Caldo de Pollo seasoning and a spoon or two of salsa, but basic refried beans are just mashed beans with some type of fat. Let the mashed beans cook for few minutes to thicken.

Mexican rice:

Heat oil in a skillet. Add raw uncooked rice and saute(kind of like rice a roni) until the rice begins to change color. Then add 1/2 water or broth and 1/2 V8 juice for sufficient liquid to cook rice. I like to add some peas, carrots and a bit of diced tomato. A bit of salt.

Fajitas:

To make restaurant style fajitas grill meat preferably on something that will leave grill marks. Heat up a cast iron serving skillet on a burner while the meat is cooking and grill some onions and peppers too. Place onions, peppers and sliced meat on hot serving skillet and pour soy sauce over the whole thing. Some places put a bit of olive oil on the serving skillet and partially cook the onions on there before adding meat and soy sauce.
 

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you making my mouth water all day now girl!!!

tell em how to do the huevos rancheros too, laripin!!
Ed
 

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Dang girl, you're making me hungry!

I LOVE good Mex food. when I was in Az I found a few good places, especially near the border. though there was a good mom and pop place in Flag. Once when travelling by train through Alb, there was a lady selling home made burritos and tamales on the platform while the train was stopped. I bought some (the train food was pretty miserable), they were very good.
 

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Thanks TxMex! I was sort of hoping for more help with the seasoning in the pork, lol, but I understand it's individual and pretty much different for everyone who makes them. I have the rest down pretty well I think, but I just haven't been able to duplicate the flavor of the pork like the recipe I used to have.

I know there were onions, chiles and crushed fresh tomatoes, but there were also several spices and that's what I can't remember. Of course, a California recipe might be totally different from a Texas or Mexico recipe anyway, lol. Guess I'll just have to make lots of tamales and experiment! :D

I TOLD my son it tasted like soy sauce on the fajitas, and he argued with me that they wouldn't use soy sauce on Mexican food. I'll have to show this to him, lol. Thanks again!
 

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Thanks TxMex! I was sort of hoping for more help with the seasoning in the pork, lol, but I understand it's individual and pretty much different for everyone who makes them. I have the rest down pretty well I think, but I just haven't been able to duplicate the flavor of the pork like the recipe I used to have.

I know there were onions, chiles and crushed fresh tomatoes, but there were also several spices and that's what I can't remember. Of course, a California recipe might be totally different from a Texas or Mexico recipe anyway, lol. Guess I'll just have to make lots of tamales and experiment! :D

I TOLD my son it tasted like soy sauce on the fajitas, and he argued with me that they wouldn't use soy sauce on Mexican food. I'll have to show this to him, lol. Thanks again!

Just to throw some out, cumin, mexican oregano, different chilie's, they all have different flavors as well as heat, cilantro coriander, chocolate, garlic, citrus,there is a broad variety of seasonings in Tx Mex or should I say Mexican food. OH MAN, now I'm makin my own mouth water!!
Ed
 

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Refried beans:

Heat up beans. Mash with a fork. Add a few tblsp of oil(olive oil is good)....or lard. I will often add a bit of Caldo de Pollo seasoning and a spoon or two of salsa, but basic refried beans are just mashed beans with some type of fat. Let the mashed beans cook for few minutes to thicken.

Mexican rice:

Heat oil in a skillet. Add raw uncooked rice and saute(kind of like rice a roni) until the rice begins to change color. Then add 1/2 water or broth and 1/2 V8 juice for sufficient liquid to cook rice. I like to add some peas, carrots and a bit of diced tomato. A bit of salt.

Fajitas:

To make restaurant style fajitas grill meat preferably on something that will leave grill marks. Heat up a cast iron serving skillet on a burner while the meat is cooking and grill some onions and peppers too. Place onions, peppers and sliced meat on hot serving skillet and pour soy sauce over the whole thing. Some places put a bit of olive oil on the serving skillet and partially cook the onions on there before adding meat and soy sauce.
Soy sauce, really? They are my favorite and never would have thought soy sauce though. Thx
 

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Thanks Whiterock! I'm pretty sure cumin was one. I know cilantro/coriander wasn't, as I'm one of the 50% who think it tastes like soap, lol. I'd definitely remember that! :D Oh, they also had garlic. Yeah, I'm just going to experiment with the rest and hope I get close.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Try cumin and garlic salt Callie. Seems like there is a lot of garlic salt used in many Mexican recipes. Hmmm, also try cooking the pork with some bay leaves. I never helped cook the pork, so everything I know about that part is just from observation.

Yep, soy sauce! I was surprised as well which is why I mentioned it.

Huevos Rancheros:

Here is the recipe I came up with. I am now officially spoiled and can no longer eat huevos rancheros at restaurants. This turned out so good that friends of mine that have lived on the border for years claim it is as good or better than anything they have had south of the border.

3 roma tomatoes
1 jalapeno
1/2 onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 good squirts of cholula chipotle hot sauce
2 tblsp vegetable or chicken broth
sea salt
3 tsp olive oil

Chop tomatoes, jalapeno, onion and garlic. Saute jalapeno, onion and garlic in olive oil until about half transparent then add tomatoes and vegetable broth. Cook on medium heat until the raw is cooked out of the tomatoes. Add salt and chipotle sauce and cook for approx another 10 minutes. Remove 1/2-3/4 of the sauce and run it through a blender. Blend until mostly smooth, but not completely liquified. Return to skillet for a couple of minutes. You want most of it to be sauce, but a bit of the chunky as well. Lightly fry a tortilla or two and lay on plate. Fry an egg and place on tortillas. Spoon sauce over fried eggs.
 

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So glad I pick up 25 pound bags of rice and pinto beans today. Thanks for the tutorial on fresh masa, now I just need to get my hands on some dried corn and lime. Hopefully, I can mail order those items (I live in Vermont, nuff said). How about menudo? I can't find tripe here unless it is pickled:eek: The Mexican people say it is a medicine more than a food (hangovers). I love it and miss it probably more than Ninfa's green sauce.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I don't do menudo. My Mexican friends say the same thing about it and rave about it and it is always a special meal, but......I know what it's made out of. Just have never been able to bring myself to try it.

Surely y'all have deer corn? The preferred type is flat kernel dent corn, but regular old field corn will work.

Marlin a la Mexicana:

This is one of my favorite lunches when I am on the Pacific coast. It could be made with any type of fish or chicken/beef/squirrel/deer/etc.

Put a bit of oil in a skillet. Saute onion, garlic, and jalapeno for a couple of minutes. Add roughly cut up fish and stir fry. Add a dash or two of garlic salt. When fish is about half done add chopped up roma tomatoes that have had the juicy part removed. Serve with fresh tortillas, salsa and beans. As Whiterock would say.....larapin!
 

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i am going to stop reading ST....i keep gaining wait and catching the flu....lol
 

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Bay leaves, woot! I don't use them much in cooking, so totally forgot about those. Thanks so much! :) They used real garlic cloves, minced fine and sauteed with the onions and chiles, but maybe the salty part is lacking too, so I'll try that as well. I'm going to scour the internet and see if I can get some ideas, I know there's a lot I'm forgetting.

The huevos rancheros sound yummy too. The people I knew in California used a ranchero sauce for theirs. It was something they used a lot in or on different foods, so they made a big batch and kept it in the refrigerator for up to a month (yeah I was skeptical too, lol, but it really does stay good. They'd just pull out enough for what they were making and heat it up. I still use that sauce, but cut the recipe way down, lol.

I can't do menudo either. I don't think it's because of what it is because I eat other weird stuff, lol. It's just something about the consistency that doesn't sit right with me. The broth has a great flavor. :)
 

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A neighbor taught my mother how to make menudo. The smell is...well let's just say it takes some getting used to. It's definitely a textural thing. I like mine on the chewy side. Others like it a bit slimy. I grew up with it. My oldest son loves it, my youngest prefers to not be at home when I make it. He says the smell would drive anyone away. Thanks for all the recipes, TexMex!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
LOL....you'll have to get that recipe from someone else. I rarely drink. Besides, why mess up good tequila :D
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have not ever made chili rellenos myself, but I've watched them being made. First thing you do is take the fresh chilis and put them on a comal/griddle to roast them. This causes lots of nasty smoke. If you aren't coughing you aren't doing it right....lol.

Roast the chili's until the skin is blackened. After they have cooled, peel off the skin. Slit the chili up the side and remove the seeds. Cut a chunk of cheese of the correct size to insert into the slit in the chili. Don't put in too much. The coating for the outside of the chili is essentially unsweetened pancake batter. The baking soda in the batter will cause it to puff up some during frying.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
LOL....quite a few things I have watched being made numerous times, but haven't made myself. One of my best friends has a restaurant and is an incredible cook. She enjoys cooking for me and won't hardly let me help in the kitchen except for tamale making time. Occasionally she will let me help her make tortillas.

So I've done a whole lot of watching and then gone home and cooked in my own kitchen. So this is why I preface some of my comments the way I do.

Tip: Rather than rolling enchiladas, take a tortilla and soften it in some hot oil(place it in momentarily but not long enough to fry it) and then layer your enchilada ingredients with multiple layers of tortillas. Turns out fantastic and is much faster than rolling. Place on an oven proof plate and place in the oven.
 
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