"Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived."
-Jean Luc Picard

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dinner from Wednesday

On Monday, I made some beef brisket with a spicy dry rub, and served it with some garlic mashed potatoes . I know that may sound like an odd combination but, I was craving meat and potatoes! This time however, I didn't use any fat-free half and half in the potatoes. I mixed about half a cup or so of powdered milk into 6-8 ounces of skim milk, heated it up and used that in place of the fat-free half and half. Dry powdered milk is great resource to keep on hand for stuff like that so I recommend keeping some in your pantry. I know some folks mix it up and drink it instead of fresh milk. Honestly, I can't take the taste of it straight up, so I try to use it in recipes where you can't taste it and save the fresh milk for when you can taste it.

Anyhoo, since my brisket was 4.64lbs/2.10466 kg, I had a wee bit leftover. I reheated it and the potatoes Tuesday night, and that was a quick dinner but, I've still got quite a bit left. I bought some masa harina the other day thinking that some fresh warm corn tortillas would be nice. I had just read Kelly's post over at evilshenanigans.com about her homemade flour tortillas, so I had tortillas on the brain. I've never made flour tortillas with lard so I need to try that too as I would probably love them. Sorry, I'm all rambly today! *smack self upside the head*

So I got out my ginormous bag of pinto beans, and measured out three cups into a colander and gave the beans a nice little bath, sorted through and got rid of any stones, cracked beans, etc.. and then drained out all of the water.

I put my nice clean beans into my crackpot ( I know that is wrong but, the spellchecker likes it better than crockpot and well, I am a crackpot!) and put the shredded up leftover brisket on top.

I didn't get a picture of it shredded so use your imagination.

Then I grabbed the following out of my spice cabinet of doom:
garlic powder
chili powder
liquid smoke
cayenne pepper
onion powder
Adobo seasoning from Penzey's spices ( I got this for free the last time I ordered from them. If they had a retail store here I would be so broke!!) I didn't measure I just eyeballed some of each and threw them in the pot.

I also threw in some freshly ground black pepper. Yep, some of the spices are duplicated and my garlic powder is AWOL in that picture but, we are being rebels today. Whoot!

I cooked it on high in my crockpot for an hour, and then switched it over to low and then it cook till supper time. So an hour on high and about 6 hours on low or until your beans are nice and soft. Why the crockpot you may ask when its cold and the heat from the stove would feel nice? Because the weather here has gone nutball city. The highs have been in the high eighties/low nineties the last two days (for you Celcius folks, think low thirties). With those kinda temps, if I have both the stove and the computer on it gets pretty warm in here!

If you need to get this going before you have to leave for work, don't mess with the hour on high and just let it cook all day on low or at least eight hours. Check your little book that came with your crockpot or slowcooker to make sure but, I seem to remember that every hour on high is the equivalent of two hours on low. My grandmother routinely let her beans cook in the crockpot for 12 hours on low. So please don't worry if you have a long day ahead of you.

I opened up the crock to check to see that the beans were cooked through, and broke up the meat with my spoon a bit. Then I tasted and adjusted the seasonings, and threw in some masa harina to thicken it up a bit. I added 1/4 cup but, I think 2-3 Tablespoons would have been better. Be sure and stir it up good all the way to the bottom of your crock so you don't have big blobs of masa harina.

Then I tried my hand at homemade corn tortillas.

Here are my dough balls ready to be squished out.

I don't have a tortilla press so I had to get in touch with my *gulp* inner Sandra Lee and get out the box of zippy bags. I resisted the urge to pile all the dough balls inside, snip off a corner, and squeeze the dough ONto something. Instead, I took one gallon sized zippy bag and cut down both side seams so that I could open up the bag like a book. Then I placed a dough ball inside and closed the "book" back up, and used a drinking glass as a rolling pin to flat out the dough ball into some rough idea of a circle. You can of course use a rolling pin. I just used a glass because I have a small kitchen and I don't have enough counter space over by the stove to use my rolling pin.

It will not be perfect so just let go of that idea right now. Then you peel back the top layer of plastic, and flip the tortilla over so the plastic is on top and the side with the tortilla is resting on your hand. Slowly start to peel off the plastic and expect it to stick a bit or even tear so do don't freak out if it does. Just pat it back together and keep going.

Then just plop it in your nice hot pan and cook on both sides till its done.

I selected a picture of one of my uglier ones so that nobody feels bad if their tortillas look more like amoebas than circles. I got better results as I worked my way through the dough. I do want to get a tortilla press though as it would go faster and I would have more uniform results. Keep your tortillas warm as they come out of the pan. I just put a folded up dishtowel on a plate and slid them under the fold as I finished each one. If you want to use store bought tortillas you can but, you should heat them up a bit before serving. You can use either flour or corn tortillas for this depending on what you like.

To eat these, you take some of the filling and place it on your tortilla and put whatever you want on top or leave it plain and fold it or roll it up. Eat with your hands or use a knife and fork if you prefer.

Time for plating and judging. Mr. Hairball said, "You have insulted my taste buds!" Just kidding, a little Iron Chef humor.

Actually he said: "Whoot! This is f'ntastic!"

Don't forget we've still got coconut cake in the fridge. Who wants some cake?


Donna-FFW said...

I would likeboth the coconut cake and one of those tortilla wraps. Making yourown tortillas, a must try! Impressive.

Kelly said...

True that about Penzey's. I work close to one of the stores and I shudder to think how much I have spent there.

Second, those corn tortillas looked good to me! Mmmmm.

Third, so did the brisket.

Last, I have a tortilla press and I use a cut up zippy bag to keep the masa from sticking. Good stuff!

Hairball said...

Thanks to you both!