Perfection in hand

April 9, 2011

Behold the arepa.

And my thumb. Hey, at least my manicure's fresh.

Think of it as a tortilla with benefits. The benefits being the lovely, sweet taste of creamed corn. And if you pair it with some good, smoky pulled pork barbecue, and a healthy spoonful of black bean and corn salad (corn with corn? Well, yeah!), you have a fine, fine meal on a Saturday night after a busy day.

Yum. Don't you wish you'd had dinner with me?

I plopped the pork roast onto the grill about 3 this afternoon, which was later than I had planned to do it, but life got in my way. No matter. Nothing wrong with a late dinner on Saturday night. He was about a 4-pounder, and I was planning to rub him down nicely with Rendezvous rub.

Except I had no Rendezvous rub. So, not to be deterred from my mission of pork on the grill, I grabbed some rub I’d made up a while back for something — I think it was pork chops — and added a healthy dose of chili powder and paprika and smoked pimenton. Patted down the roast with that, positioned it on the grill with a heap of coals to each side. I started it skin side down, and turned it a couple of times, winding up with skin side up. It cooked about three hours or so on the grill, long enough for my coals to burn out and start cooling off; I took it up in a baking dish, stuck it in the oven, and finished it with another hour in a 350 degree oven. Then I pulled it.

Meanwhile, while it was in the oven, I made arepas. To do this, you need:

  • Creamed corn. I used a package of Birdseye frozen white creamed corn, the kind that comes in a package that looks like country sausage — you know, the plastic tube. I’d estimate it was about 2 1/2 cups.
  • An egg
  • A dash or two of seasoned salt
  • A tiny pinch of cumin
  • And enough masa harina to make a thick dough. I’d guess I used about 3/4 of a cup. Your mileage may vary.

Don’t do this with corn meal. It won’t work, and you will bitch and moan about my recipe and my feelings will be hurt. You can find masa in the Latino section of your local supermarket. Besides, should you ever get in the notion to make tortillas, you will already have the masa.

Stir everything up together. It should be thick enough to compress into a ball and pat out with your hands into a 1/4 inch thick patty. I got eight such out of the above ingredients. Heat about 1/4 cup canola oil over medium high heat until it’s good and hot, and fry the patties until they’re golden brown on both sides. Drain them on paper towels.

They’re a wonderfully crispy-outside, sweet-and-soft-inside, flatbread treat, full of the wonderful taste of corn. I highly recommend the Birdseye frozen corn; I’ve done these with canned, and it’s just not as good. And they paired with the smoky from the coals, smoky from the pimenton, pork, and made a delectable dinner. And I’ve got pork left for another couple of meals.

Elsewhere in the wider world…dropped by the farmers’ market this morning and bought basil, and eggs, and talked to Ed The PJF Guy. The CSA will be up and running by May 1, which will be none too soon for me. Can’t wait to have some good beef again. And milk for cheese. Sign-up is next week. Then I went out by Lowe’s, picked up a big damn pot and some potting soil; will put those cute little basil plants out tomorrow. Come tomato time, I will be ready — homemade mozz and ricotta!

Tomorrow’s entree, I think, is going to be pastitsio. Haven’t had it for a while, and there’s a package of lamb kicking around the freezer. Plus some breadbaking. I think I’m going to try buckwheat molasses bread this time. And a vegetable gratin from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home

And I’m going to drink some beer and sit out in the sun, because it’s springtime on the lake. Life’s good. I hope you and y’mama ‘n ’em agree.


2 Responses to “Perfection in hand”

  1. Whitney Reynolds Says:

    We’re getting a Farmers Market!!!! At Worthington Park, the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month! I can’t wait to try it out…

    Very cool! I used to go to the downtown one frequently. And you know what I really missed after it closed? Garden Fresh!

  2. Len Cleavelin Says:

    Yum. Don’t you wish you’d had dinner with me?

    You want the long answer or the short one?

    (I.e., “Hell, yes!” vs. mere “Yes!” 🙂 )

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