Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Huitlacocha AKA Cuitlacocha AKA Smut Corn Breakfast Burrito

It's pretty amazing what humans can eat. It's even more amazing that we can take so many seemingly gross things and make them tasty. More amazing still is our ability to take a gross thing, which is objectively rotten, infected, or otherwise spoiled and sell it for an inflated price. Welcome, friends, to the world of smut corn!

Smut corn starts out its life like any other ear of corn until, one day, it's infected with a charming little fungal disease called "ustilago maydis", which enters the ovaries of the corn and replaces the kernels with big, mushroomy tumors. The name "huitlacocha" roughly translates to "sleeping shit". So, these are sleeping shit corn ovarian tumors. Nom nom nom! It's important to harvest smut corn before the fungus runs its course because, near the end of it's life cycle, the tumors are filled with spores, which hurts the texture and flavor of the tumors, and sanity of everyone within a 20 foot radius, unless they pass a DC 25 will check. Of course, as an avid consumer of hot dogs, my disgust is purely playful. There's also no way that this could be grosser than raisins. BTW, you'll have left over smut corn since this recipe is too big for one burrito so either refrigerate the excess or have some friends (or enemies) over and a make a day of it. Depending on tortilla size and how full they are, you could probably make somewhere between 4 and 8 burritos.

You need:
A can of smut corn
A small onion, 2 cloves of garlic and some serrano chilies. 

Cost: $10 - $20 because a can of smut corn cost me $7.99. This (sleeping) shit is EXPENSIVE unless you live right near where they cultivate it or you have your own little plot of diseased corn. Oh, by the way, smut corn does occur (I was gonna say "grow" but "occur" seems more appropriate) in the US but it's almost always thrown away; there have been targeted efforts here to eradicate ustilago maydis. What don't Big Pharma and the corn magnates want us to know??

Chop up your veggies and heat a few tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sautee the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent, which should take about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the diced chilies and sautee them for another minute or two. 

Doesn't that look nice?

Now add your smut corn.

Huh, I see where the name comes from now.

Stir it constantly for about 6 minutes. If you over cook these things, they get slimy. The only thing worse than tumors in your burrito is slimy tumors in your burrito, amirite? Take that off the heat and set it aside.

Here's what an individual tumor looks like.Fans of Final Fantasy X might find this vaguely familiar.

Beer bottle is for scale.

Just for a quick break from the unrelenting horror, here is a picture of my room mate's cat, chilling in a box which we have dubbed The Dread Fort, along with his second in command, Moose Bolton:

The sign reads "No Girls Allowed". It's his man cave, you see.
Anyway, in another pan, melt some butter. In a bowl, beat two eggs and add seasoning to your taste. Transfer the eggs to the skillet, add a few large spoonfuls of the smut corn mixture, and quickly scramble the eggs.

Transfer that to a tortilla, add a nice big dollop of salsa and wrap that bitch up.

Huh, not bad by itself. Kinda like spicy, mushroomy, black beans. It's awesome as a burrito filling! The texture is very soft, the closest comparison I can give is refried beans, but it's not as thick and sticky. When you bite into a tumor, it's kind of like a sauteed onion filled with a mushroomy and almost kinda cheesey thick cream inside of it. It's better than black beans actually and it's delicious with the eggs. Wow, if you get the chance to have smut corn in a burrito or quesedilla, fucking go for it. I devoured this thing. I just wish it were cheaper here. Lesson learned I guess: maybe if someone compares someone or something to shit, they only mean aesthetically. Stay queer!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Finding Uses For Everyone's Least Favorite Candy, Round 3: Sweet Heart and Anchovies Pizza

Yeah, you heard me. Time to get back to making these things edible. Why anchovies? Because so many people don't like them, maybe they'll work well together, like those two weird kids at school that no one else liked. Also, the salty and sweet might contrast nicely. In defense of the poor, maligned, anchovy, they're only gross if you don't cook them properly or if you just really don't like salt. For those of you just joining us, I've established that baking sweet hearts in cheese makes them taste much less chalky. Science! 

Just to be safe, the pizza will be half crazy bullshit and half cheese. No sense potentially wasting an entire pizza.

You need:
Sweet Hearts
Pizza crust: I'd advise using premade dough or making your own since it's cheaper and better than a premade crust.

Cost: $1 - $10

It's pretty simple, just put your toppings on and follow the directions on the crust to see how to cook it. In my case, 12-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown at 450 on a lightly oiled pan.

Huh, that came out prettier than I expected.

Good lord, I actually had it pegged right. The buttery, salty flavor of the anchovies DOES blend well with the sweetness of the candy. I mean, it's weird, but it's not bad. They're still a bit firm but not nearly as hard as they normally are. If you don't like the taste of sweet tarts or anchovies to begin with, the combination isn't going to magically make itself appealing to your pallet. This is really only for people who already like both of those things. Still, I'm 2 for 3 on these so far. My world view is collapsing. Stay queer...

Friday, February 7, 2014

Scorpion Lollipop

For Christmas, Emi got me a scorpion lollipop. 

Mixed messages there, but whatever. The "Bugs" label has been pathetically underused on this blog anyway. Best ingredients list ever by the way.

I hope they didn't bullshit on the lollipop bit and expect the scorpion to carry the whole deal. That'd be lame. That's the problem with novelty foods, they don't expect people to actually eat them so they usually blow. I do like that name though. It sounds like an insult that Yosemite Sam might aim at a no good varmint of some kind. 

I'm happy to report that it smells like cotton candy and it's actually okay. It's got that "we can't decide if it's supposed to be strawberry or watermelon" thing going on. Tastes a little like cotton candy too. It's not all that sweet but you don't want to drown out the complexities of the scorpion (of which I assume there are many), right?

They way it's positioned in there, the head sticks out a bit before the rest of it, as if to say "HEY, BUDDY! NORMALLY I'D BE KINDA MIFFED THAT YOU'RE EATING MY HOUSE, BUT YOU SEEM CHILL" (scorpions are known for their lack of an indoor voice). Scorpion has a surprisingly coarse texture, at least compared to the lollipop. The claws and legs are a bit pointy so watch yourself. It doesn't really feel edible, but yanno, exoskeleton and all.

The friendly little corpse is very crunchy, but has no distinct flavor. Maybe it's just because the sweet drowns it out, but I don't think anyone is melting the candy off to savor the sweet, sweet taste of scorpion by itself, so I guess it doesn't really matter. The organs are slightly chewer and that last big bite is kinda gross tasting, but only because the flavor is suddenly cut with a lot of crunchy nothing.

So, scorpion will not put me off food, but it also won't sell it to me. You're welcome. Stay queer!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Michelada (F'realz this time)

Ok, I said I'd try to make a proper michelada so here goes. There are a ton of recipes for it online and it seems like every single one is accompanied by some stupid argument about how authentic it is.

"Don't use tabasco sauce, use cayenne and diced jalapenos!"
"Fuck that, why didn't you add clamato juice?"
"That's not a michelada, that's a chelada. Also, you're supposed to add tequila."
"No it's not! That would make a michelada cubano and why aren't you using salsa?"
"There's too much lime, use lemon."

And ON and ON and ON. Apparently, the details of a michelada vary from region to region. It's a bit like a bloody mary, except people are really particular about how their version is THE ONE TWUE WAY of making it. I'm sorry if I seem frustrated, but I spent like a half hour trying to find a recipe that didn't seem to piss anyone off and I failed. So, here is a recipe I found somewhere (I can't find it again for some reason). It's automatically rendered inauthentic because I'm a Caucasian American in New York using ingredients I bought locally so at least that takes some pressure off.

You need:
A cervesa (I used Modelo Especial)
Coarse salt
Hot sauce
Worcestershire sauce
Soy sauce
A lime

Cost: $1 - $10

Cut a wedge of lime and slit it in the middle. Run it around the rim of the glass to coat it. Salt the rim of the glass and fill it half with ice. Squeeze the rest of the lime into the glass. Add a few dashes of all of the sauces to your taste and pour the cerveza over it. Emi was kind enough to model it.

Holy shit, this is so much better. The relatively light flavor of the cervasa is mostly covered by the sauces and they all blend together nicely. Unlike the awful lemon blitzkreig in the last post, the lime is more subtle and zesty. Of course, most beer drinkers know that lighter beers and lime are bros, so that's not too surprising. It actually tastes refreshing and I'm reminded a bit of a bloody mary. The people who made that mix need to be slapped. That said, it's not really that great. I found myself wanting a bloody mary instead of another michelada, but that might be because I'm a vodka woman. I don't generally like cerveza that much either (I prefer stouts) but I will say that it tastes better in this than it does straight. If you are a fan of cerveza then you'll probably like this. I bet it's really nice on a hot day. Stay queer!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Michelada Mix

I need a little break from Sweet Hearts, as my mind shattered a bit when I managed to make them taste good. I kind of thought it wasn't going to happen. In the meantime, Emi brought me one of these the other day.

A michelada is a beer that's been prepared with spices, lime juice, and various types of peppers and sauces. You serve it in a glass that's rimmed with hot sauce or chili pepper or whatever and it's considered a hangover cure by some. I've also been told that I would do well to make one with a Corona. Unfortunately, I knew none of that when I tried this. I though "michelada" was the brand name. My flat mate, Emi, picked it up for me because me and beer and spicy usually get along. I'd never seen anything like this before. By the way, this is one of the best packaging warnings I've seen in a while:

Why? After reading that, I had to immediately open it and see if that was legit.

And it totally, totally was.

The red stuff around the top, which I initially just thought was some color to play up the whole "spicy" thing is actually chili powder. Apparently you just dump a beer in it. It didn't offer any suggestions and, as I said earlier, I didn't know that a michelada was a thing so I didn't bother to look up a suitable type or brand. I decided to use natty light because I feel like using good beer in my posts would be kind of inappropriate in most cases. Also, it smells like raisins. I fucking hate raisins. When I added the beer it began to pop, fizz, and bubble in a way I have never seen, nor have I ever wanted to see.

It still smells like raisins too. This thing is a bit of a roller coaster. First, you taste the spices around the top and think "Oh! I love lime and chili corn nuts!". Then you're all "Chili peppers and bad beer is a little weird". That's followed by "I seem to have bitten into an under ripe lemon without noticing and now I am very sad." Then you finish with another wave of the second reaction. It's really more of a lateral shift instead of a straight decrease in quality, but it's not very good. I had to drink this much more slowly than I normally would have because I think the overpowering lemon would have made me ill.

Also, I could be wrong, but I think somehow this made it more intoxicating. At least it feels that way. Maybe it's because of the chili pepper or the fact that I've had to sip it?

So yeah, this was kind of awful, but now that I know that this is a proper beverage and not some lame novelty, it would be unfair to assume that micheladas are gross. I think I'm going to make a proper one and compare it later. Stay queer!