Saturday, May 28, 2011

Leftover Tacos and Chipotle Creamed Corn


May 25 - Leftover Tacos with Pineapple Salsa and a side of Chipotle Creamed Corn
May 26 - Dijon Pork Loin Chops with Caramelized Onions & Fennel
May 27 - In Montreal, dinner at DNA Restaurant

This post is going up while I'm likely sleeping in in my hotel room in Montreal.  As a birthday present the Boy took me to Montreal for a weekend chock full of food, shopping and tourist fun.  We took the train yesterday, something I haven't done at least for anything other than commuting for 7 years, when I was last in Italy.  

Anyway, on Wednesday night I decided on a meal that would take advantage of the steak I had leftover from my Tri-Tip with Tomato Romesco and my favorite way to use leftover meat is in tacos.  It requires little thought and always tastes good.  But it wasn't a no work meal by any stretch since I made the flour tortillas, pineapple salsa and creamed corn from scratch.  

I generally favor corn tortillas and have gotten pretty good at making them, having a tortilla press helps alot.  That being said I know the boy like flour better and since I had some corn that I had frozen last summer in the freezer, waiting to be used, flour tortillas seemed like the best way to go.  I used Rick Bayless' recipe but tweaked it a bit to incorporate some whole wheat flour.  They were ridiculously easy and by far the best flour tortillas I've ever had, not that I expect any less from Chef Bayless.


Flour Tortillas
adapted from Rick Bayless

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 whole wheat flour
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp vegetable shortening or lard
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup very warm water

1. Combine the flour and fat in a large mixing bowl, using your fingers until the fat is completely incorporated into the flour.  Dissolve the salt in the warm water and pour about 1/2 cup over the dry ingredients and immediately start mixing with a fork. The dough will be in large clumps, not one mass.  Add more of the water if necessary to ensure that all of the dry ingredients have been dampened.  
2.  Dump the dough onto a clean, lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.  It should be a medium-stiff consistency, not firm but not as soft as bred dough either.
3. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll them into balls.  Place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap and let them rest for at least 30 minutes. 
4. On a lightly floured surface, flatten a ball of dough and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into an even 7" circle, rotating the dough about a 1/6th of a turn after each roll.
5.  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and lay one tortilla in the pan.  After 30-45 seconds and when there are browned spots underneath, carefully flip it over.  Cook for another 30-45 seconds on the other side, being mindful not to over cook. 
6.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas, stacking the cooked ones in a clean kitchen towel.


To assemble the tacos I just places a few slices of tri-tip on the warmed tortillas, topped it with a quick pineapple salsa I made with fresh pineapple, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro and a bit of lime juice and topped it all off with a few crumbles of feta (a good replacement for my fave cotija cheese).  A little bit of crema would have been great, but they were pretty tasty as it.  If you want more heat some hot sauce would be nice or adding some jalapeno seeds to the salsa, but since the Chipotle Creamed Corn was packed with spice I kept the tacos a bit cooler.


Chipotle Creamed Corn

2 Tbsps butter
1/2 small onion chopped
2 cups of frozen corn kernels
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp or more chipotle powder - I used 1/2 tsp and it was quite spicy but we like spicy food
1 pinch sugar
1/4 cup light cream
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 Tbsp cornmeal
salt & pepper

1. Heat a 3 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the bitter to melt.  Add in the onions and saute until translucent, just a few minutes. 
2.  Add the corn to the pot and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add in the spices, sugar, milk, cream and cornmeal.  Stir to combine. 
3.  Let cook for 3-5 more minutes until it begins to thicken.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt & pepper.  Can be made a few hours ahead and reheated. 

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