Sunday, December 2, 2012

Reading in Hammock



Nothing says relaxation like curling up in a hammock with a good book. This picture was taken in Maine in 1886. I am not sure what the deal is with the clothing. Perhaps it is some sort of ethnic clothing.

DOMESTIC UPDATE:

As many of you know, one of the ways I like to relax is by learning something new, and more specifically, learning to make some food type item. I like to take an item you would normally buy, and learn to make it from scratch. As you know, I recently purchased a 50 pound bag of blue corn, and last week ground some of if and made Blue Cornbread. It was delicious and a big success.

This week, my interest turns to Hominy. You probably think of hominy as that puffed up corn you buy in a can. Actually the story of hominy is very interesting, and it is much more important than you think. It turns out that corn by itself is not a very complete nutritional diet. People that have corn as a large portion of their diet can suffer from some really serious health issues. Early on, the Native Americans and the Mexicans learned that if you take the dried corn kernels, and make hominy, the nutritional value of the corn is greatly increased. There are changes in proteins and amino acids in the process of making hominy that make corn a much more complete source of nutrition. Interestingly enough, when corn became popular in Europe, they did not take along the Hominy process, and many people suffered. Similarly, when corn went from Europe to sub Saharan Africa, the Hominy process was not used. In Africa still, corn is dried, and then ground into meal without the hominy process.

You might not be aware, but in the south, Grits are ground hominy, not ground corn kernels. Similarly, corn tortillas and tamales are both made with corn that has been first turned into hominy.

So, with all this wonderful information, I am sure you are dying to go make your own batch of hominy. I played around with it the last few days and found a fool proof way to make delicious fresh hominy. You will need fresh food grade corn kernels, which are available at the link below. You also need Pickling Lime which you can get at Walmart, if your Walmart does not have it, you can order from the Walmart WEB site.

Take three quarts of water, and add three tablespoons of pickling lime. Bring to a boil. It is very important to use stainless steel pot, NOT aluminum. When the solution comes to a boil, pour the corn in. The solution is caustic, so be careful to not get any on you, and be sure to keep the kids out of it. Cook the corn kernels for 1 1/2 hours. Watch during this time, and add water if needed. The solution will thicken, as you are dissolving the husks off the corn. Also, the corn will soften, and begin to puff up a little. After cooking for 1 1/2 hours, take the pot outside, and pour the entire batch into a colander, an wash vigorously with the water hose. While hosing the kernels off, pick up big handfulls and rub them together in your hand to get any remaining husks off.

OK, at this point you have your hominy corn. If you want to make eating hominy, put the kernels in fresh water (salt and season if desired) and boil for another hour, and the kernels will really puff up big and soft. Alternatively, you can use your hominy kernels in soup, and as you cook the soup, the hominy kernels will puff up nice and big. If you want to make grits, dehydrate the kernels, and then grind them.

I have had great fun with this, and hope some of you will give it a try. Today, I am taking the hominy I made yesterday and am making Posole, a spicy Mexican soup.

15 comments:

  1. She really doesn't look to comfortable in that hammock. It looks like she is hanging on and not laying back and relaxing. That book she has looks like it has been read a lot with it's dog eared pages.
    Maybe it is Sunday and that is her Bible.

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  2. I tried grits one time, and that was all I needed to feel the need to never try them again.
    I don't like cornbread either, my wife and son love it.

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    1. RTD,
      You probably had plain grits, and nothing on them. Grits are a base upon which you build flavor. A traditional thing would be red eye gravy made from Ham drippings. Intense flavor, readily absorbed by the grits. Another delicious option is to put cheddar cheese in the grits as they cook. Then you get a wonderful grits dish. I really love grits, but can understand that if you have only had them plain you would not be impressed.

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    2. My brother used to let grits set up in a pan, then fry them, on which we'd add butter and maple syrup, yum.

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    3. Ooooh, hominy grits...a bit of butter, salt and pepper...yum! Miss em'. Can't get them in Italy, probably can't get the basic ingredients, either, and in any case...no garden, no garden hose! :-) Thanks for the interesting post.

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  3. I love KENNY D fishing story from yesterday.
    I can just see the big ole cat see people walk down to the pond and thinking "Dinner is soon to be served"

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    1. She caught on pretty quick to the whole fishing for bluegill thing, and no more got launched back to the barn. Most of the ones she caught were just hooked thru the lip, and we threw them back, but a couple or three we had to keep.

      Pretty soon, it was time to go, and in all of the collecting of our things and packing up, we forgot the little bluegills, which were still laying on the bank by the pond. As we were walking away, I remembered them, and turned and looked back, and the old orange cat and two other smaller ones that looked a lot like him were heading down to the edge of the pond to look for leftovers. We didn't really have much use for the bluegills, so I just left them there for the cats. This is probably my best cat story and I never miss a chance to tell it. No doubt, this here has been my biggest audience. I also enjoyed PJM's description of how to make hominy. My mom used to fix it for me when I was little. She used the canned stuff, and added a little bacon and who knows what else, and it was delicious. Wish I had asked here sometime exactly what she put in it.

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  4. I remember my mother making Hominy once. I don't think she used pickling lime. I could be wrong as I was probably 4 or 5 years old at the time, but I think she used ashes. I do remember all the rinsing, tho. I put a can of Hominy in my Taco Soup.

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    1. GG,
      Using ashes is the traditional way. The soaked ashes are very caustic, and create lye. Using pickling lime is a more foolproof way, as it takes the uncertainty of the ashes out.

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  5. Interesting deck railing.

    Spanish or Portuguese attire.

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  6. I had never heard of hominy until this morning. Thank you for the education.

    Graham in St. John's

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  7. My husband is Cherokee and grew up along the Tennessee/North Carolina border. Oddly, enough he had never had grits until he came to Baltimore. We love both grits (you're right about the cheese)and hominy cooked with a vegetarian Polish Sausage, and I make a mean corn bread. It's an old Shaker recipe, and simply divine. Or so he claims, and who am I to argue?

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  8. Oh, oh, oh, hominy!

    We visited the Museum of the American Indian in DC a couple of years ago. BIG TIP! They have the very best cafe of all the Smithsonian museums! There are multiple food stations so you can get samples of cuisine from all different areas of North and South America.

    Got some hominy there. I gave it a jaundiced eye, having had hominy from a can in my childhood, but by golly it was to die for! Never tasted any hominy like it since. Yummy.

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  9. I like her clothes. Perhaps she is reading her Bible.

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  10. I am thinking she is dressed as a zouave vivandiere.

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