Day 16 out of 40
We grew some corn from seedlings gift from Maine seed saver Albie Barden and corn seeds gift from Muhidin Libah. Or I should really say my husband grew the corn and I gave it much love and admiration. I can say it takes effort to keep the corn safe from birds, deer, raccoons, to name a few, but who can blame them from wanting this grain.
I love the feeling of growing bread. This is the first season we are making bread from our garden to table. Corn made that dream come true for me. It is a staple in our cooking, along with yuca in the form of tapioca starch and often they are combined in many Brazilian dishes my family taught me to make.
We love simple flatbreads out of the cast iron skillet with butter. It is a mighty flavorful bread. So many cultures rely on corn to feed themselves because it is a grain that is easy to progress and energy efficient to cook.
Our little garden beds yield several liters of corn. Not sure if that’s how people measure, but vendors in markets in my hometown measured the corn or cornmeal in empty liter cans of oil and sold it to customers. Some of the recipes I have from my mom even says “litter of cornmeal, a plate of eggs” and so on.
We make our own nixtamal (corn soaked in alkaline solution) at home now and it has been a flavor revelation for us. I love coming into the kitchen and being greeted by the delicious corn aroma unleashed by the process. We use the nixtamalized corn kernels (hominy) in cereals like canjica and soups like Locro and We grind the to make our tortillas.
For the Nixtamal:
500g field corn (we grew flint corn and dent corn)
5g food-grade calcium hydroxide ( 1% cal to total weight of corn)
Water to cover corn by 4 inches
Bring the corn, calcium hydroxide, and water to a boil and cook the corn for 1-1.5 hours depending on the corn. Let it sit overnight in the liquid. The next day, rinse a few times until most of the light skin comes off, but not all. The corn is ready to grind and make masa. I have used the food processor but happy I found this grinder at a second hand story. The corn can be refrigerated for a few days and frozen for several weeks. With the masa we make tortillas, tamales, arepas, pupusas…
Sourdough Corn Tortillas with homemade masa
After grinding the corn and making masa, I mixed in ½ cup of sourdough, salt and let it ferment at room temperature for the day and then in the fridge overnight. When ready to make tortillas,
pTorress in the tortilla press between plastic not to stick and cook in the cast iron skillet.