Tamales

If you didn’t know,I have a bit of hispanic in me. My version of comfort food is New Mexican food and that usually means beans, chili and homemade flour tortillas. If we are introducing our version of New Mexican food to the unsuspecting Dutch dinner guests we usually opt for an enchilada and mexican rice along side of the beans and tortillas.

It is normal for me to have to bring over red and green chili since there is nothing that comes close in the Netherlands. Recently my father brought over some corn husks and masa harina especially for me make tamales.

Masa harina is a type of corn flour if you will. But this is not just your run of the mill corn flour, it is actually a dried and powdered form of corn dough. Masa Harina is made by treating the corn with a slaked lime solution, the process is termed nixtamalization. If you want to know more bout the process and how exactly they turn corn into masa harina please google this since I do not understand the chemistry enough to explain it. End result is that powdered dough form looks like corn flour but by adding water and giving it a good stir it becomes a dough and used for making corn tortillas or in my case tamales.

I have had my fair share of tamales at family gatherings but had never tried making them myself. They turned out fantastic! There are plenty of recipes out there on how to make these so I won’t go into detail about it but show you the pictures.

Before the folding of the tamales I slow cooked some pork with onion, garlic and a bit of red chili powder. Then shredded the pork and added even more red chili powder. Making the masa harina just requires water and fat, most recipes call for lard or shortening but since I did not have any of that I just used the fat I skimmed from the pork. All that was left to do was smear a thin layer of corn dough on a corn husk that had soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, fill with the chili and meat, then fold and tie.

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I steamed the tamales for about 30 min and served with some beans, tomatoes and avocados. Lucky me, I had leftover tamales to throw in the freezer and rewarm for a easy and delicious midweek meal. They were so good I am already planning my next tamale making session, I just have to be careful of running out of my scarce corn supplies until I get another visitor from New Mexico to bring me some goodies.

Preuvenemint Maastricht 2012

Part 2 of the food festivals of the 2012 summer, Maastricht. I had extremely high hopes for this one. While many cities, small and large, in the Netherlands host culinary festivals there are only a hand full that are well-known. This maybe good PR or just the fact that they are larger cities means they will also attract a large crowd.  A few years ago I went to the culinary festival in Amsterdam.  This has to be the best one I have visited ever. The set up was amazing, the food was delicious, the only downfall of the event was that it seemed a bit elitist and quite a few of the people had an air of self-importance. Good thing I wasn’t there for the company but for the food and they did deliver on that.

Perhaps my level of expectation for Preuvenemint Maasricht was too high and while I am not saying that all of it was bad it just didn’t live up to my expectations. When I go to culinary festivals I hope to find food that inspires me, challenges the way I think of flavor and combinations. I do not need an ice cream stand or the usual sandwiches found on any cafe menu.  Here are a few of the highlights and good parts of the Prevenemint Maastricht…

First off they had an app! I love it when events have mobile apps I can preplan my tasting. Of course while I am there I will still try whatever catches my eye. What would be great in an app is to have an option to save your favorites or to mark the dishes/stalls on the plan.

One of the stalls was of Restaurant Vivendum

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Pork cheeks topped with potato and Jerusalem artichoke puree on toasted bread. This was rich and hearty. The pork was oh so tender.

Restaurant Tout a Fait

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Braised beef shoulder with a crunchy langoustine. This dish was also very well done. Although I do have to admit that I have a soft spot for any long and slow cooked meat.

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Rillets from steamed mackerel with a sauce from sweet and sour paprika and a sorbet of cucumber. Loved the idea of this dish, personally the paprika element overpowered the entire dish which was a shame.

A day of eating and drinking can never really be bad so despite my disappointment in the overall event it with nonetheless an enjoyable. And by taking the 2 and half hour train ride to Maastricht meant we could also enjoy the wine and champagne pairings with the dishes.

Leiden Culinair 2012

The first of the foodie festivals this past summer was Leiden Culinaire. With the rainy summer we had the weather was pretty decent. Only one short rain shower to have us scrambling for cover. Oh how I love food fairs. I make it a point to visit the food festivals I have not been to before. The 2012 summer plans were Leiden, Maastricht and Tilburg and perhaps Rotterdam in the autumn. Unfortunately Dordt op je Bord had been cancelled because of lack of sponsorship so I made do without. Hopefully they will manage to get it organized for 2013.

Leiden culinair was great fun. Most of the food was delicious. Some was just not edible.

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On the short walk into town I caught the first couple minutes of a boat race in the canal.

 

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Tortellone con caprino e limone and Tortellone radicchio e speck ( Tortellinni’s filled with goats cheese with a lemon tomato and sage sauce and Tortellinni’s filled with radicchio and bacon in a creamy Gorgonzola sauce with walnuts)

I have to says the radicchio tortellinni was the best. Since I am not a blue cheese fan I skipped eating the blocks of cheese and the sauce was only very lightly flavored by the blue cheese. The other tortellinni was good but lacked flavor. I wouldn’t have known there was goats cheese in it.

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Veal with a parsnip purée and bayleaf sauce.

This one was delightful. I suppose I have gone a bit parsnip crazy lately. I love the sweet earthy flavor. Fantastic roasted, puréed, fried or just as a creamy soup. The Sweat earthy flavor of the parsnip puree complimented the veal beautifully.

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Vegetarian coquille made from Jerusalem artichoke with a cream of confit carrot, caviar and seaweed and oysters with a cheesy sauce

The food looked delicious and the creativity is much appreciated. The flavor was horrible, I just  couldn’t finish these.

I had many more mini dishes to try sometime I forgot to take a picture others didn’t look the best but were tasty none the less.

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The little champagne car we normally see at the Rotterdam kunsthal kookt event was also in Leiden. How could I  pass this up. Cheers!

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Finally in the midst of eating and drink some colorful ladies showed up. I am not sure of they were hired for the event or just happened to be out on the town.

Backlog

The more I start drafting posts for this blog the more excited I get about it and the more I want to share. I have so many things I want to share with you. For now I am trying to get everything up to date so some of these posts happened a year or two ago but since I hadn’t been introduced to the blogging world yet they are only going to be published now.