Recipe: Blueberry Cornmeal Cake

Blueberry cornmeal cake.

Blueberry cornmeal cake.

While the star relationship of this blog is the one between corn and alkaline substrates, the star pairing in this recipe is between the blueberries and lemon zest. The sweet cornmeal cake makes a great, full-bodied delivery for these two, letting them shine slightly brighter than a regular flour cake would. As always nixtamal makes a wonderful substitute for the regular cornmeal, and also makes for a softer cake.  Continue reading

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Recipe: Jonnycake Bread (The Bryant House Restaurant)

I’ve yet to tackle cornbread or jonnycakes on this blog, and for good reason: this is an area of great contention. Everyone has a great cornbread recipe they righteously defend, and the same is true for jonnycakes. For many, love of the latter even extends to the right kind of cornmeal to use. Perhaps one day I’ll have an informed opinion on jonnycakes (while, on the other hand, I’m no exception to the cornbread rule!), but in the meantime, this cake recipe from The Bryant House Restaurant, courtesy of Bon Appetit, will have to do.  Continue reading

Recipe: Sweet Cornmeal Pie

Sweet cornmeal pie, with a homemade crust.

Sweet cornmeal pie, with a homemade crust.

With the days growing shorter, the leaves beginning to change, and the temperature beginning to drop, one of my favorite times of the year approaches: roasting and baking time. This marks the first of what I’m sure will be numerous recipes to follow that deal with various ways hominy and related products can be incorporated within these two culinary methods. This recipe for a simple sweet pie is made with cornmeal, not hominy, but I’ve substituted the 1/2 c. cornmeal for a 1/2 c. finely ground nixtamal and it worked just fine. I also enjoy adding both cinnamon and nutmeg, giving the pie a more seasonal flavor. Continue reading

Homemade Hominy

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Whole kernel, nixtamalized hominy.

Let us be clear–this post is about making your own nixtamalized hominy, your own boiled maize kernels that have been soaked in an alkaline substrate, which will not only make processing them easier, but will also enhance their flavor. If you simply want to soak your dried corn in water then grind/cook it, this is not the post for you. You may argue that this is hominy just the same, but I’m taking a historical perspective–for centuries, hominy was nixtamalized, maize and alkaline treatment married in a prolific foodway. This may not be the hominy you know, but this is the hominy you will soon learn to make if you keep reading. Continue reading

Food History and Recipe: Hominy Muffins (Rufus Estes, 1911)

On the left, the cover from the first edition of Estes's book; on the right, a later edition with the misnomer that Rufus was the first African-American cookbook writer.

On the left, the cover from the first edition of Estes’s book; on the right, a later edition with the misnomer that Rufus was the first African-American cookbook writer.

Despite recent misinformation regarding Rufus Estes (he was, in fact not the first African-American cookbook writer, but he was the first African-American railway cookbook writer), this recipe for hominy muffins, as well as the life and occupation of its author, provides a fascinating snapshot of the social and cultural associations attached to hominy during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Continue reading

French Lentil and Hominy Chili (Giada de Laurentiis)

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French lentil and hominy chili, from Giada de Laurentis, courtesy of Food Network.

Hominy and beans are a natural pairing–not only do they share a long culinary history, but processing both results in a product with a similar, soft texture that easily absorbs flavor in stews. This particular chili is not only vegetarian, but is also borrows traditional ingredients usually found with posole–cilantro, lime, avocado, cotja cheese, which makes for an interesting flavor combination. For us, we prefer to substitute a hard fall cider for the brown ale, which lightens the overall dish.

Note that you will need to soak your lentils for quite sometime (8-14 hours, or overnight if you prefer), which means you also have time to make your own hominy!  Continue reading

Warm Hominy Salad with Peas, Carrots, and Cilantro and Ecuadorian Hot Sauce (Jose Garces)

JoseGarcesTheLatinRoadHome

Jose Garces lists this as one of his favorite recipes. This is what he has to say:

When my mom makes this dish in the springtime, she uses fresh garbanzo and fava beans as well as the English peas. If you spy either or both of these at your local farm[er’s] market or Latin grocery, snap them up and add them to the mix: shucking, blanching, and peeling them is a bit of a hassle, but they are fine things (cosas finas), for sure. English peas are often available in supermarkets year-rough; note that when peas are in season, the pea pods tend to produce more per pod and the peas themselves are often larger, so you may not need to buy the full two pounds called for to end up with cups of shelled peas. Also, the size of the peas themselves will be larger when they’re in season. Canned hominy is stocked in [some] supermarkets.

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Long Island Country Samp (Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey)

WhiteEatingJamestownCropped

John White watercolor of an Algonquin man and woman eating a meal, titled, “Man and Woman Eating.”

While samp is another name for hominy, it also denotes a regional take on the dish. If hominy is associated with the South, then samp is associated with New England. Surprisingly enough, both names originate from the Algonquin language. Just how “nixtamalization” is a Spanish interpretation of a Nahuatl word, “samp” and “hominy” are English interpretations of Algonquin words.

This recipe comes from Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey, originally published in the New York Times.
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Eastern Woodland Hominy Stew (with Bitter Greens and Sausage)

Hominy stew with bitter green and sausage.

Hominy stew with bitter green and sausage.

This is a recipe my husband and I devised. The idea was to construct a flavor profile that tasted like the South–not the deep-fried South we’re all familiar with, but the deep woods South. The ingredients are similar to those native to the area–bitter greens, onions and garlic (similar to wild garlic and ramps), mushrooms, and of course, hominy. The first pot we made of this stew was huge, and fed us for about a week!

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