This week in the Albuquerque, NM area, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Balloon week, which is a huge event. The Balloon Fiesta as we call it was started originally by just a few people to celebrate an anniversary of one of our radio stations. And it has continually grown and grown to be considered the world's largest balloon event.
During the week long event, there are many special events and festivities, which are lots of fun. Several years ago, I actually prepared a Brunch on a Burner for the Today Show. I am giving you the Blue Corn Crepe recipe I prepared. Just to help you celebrate--I am offering a 25% off special on our highest quality , pinon roasted flour--so finely ground--it is not meal. (I thought this was a perfect recipe for celebrating our bright blue skies.)
A few notes about blue corn, which has a huge history here in New Mexico. First, the ancients worked to develop blue corn, which they could smoke with Pinon wood to preserve it from vermin. The original corn was white and developed further south in Old Mexico and kept fresh in limestone caves. In the north of Mexico and New Mexico, there were no limestone caves, so they found curing the corn in the wood smoke of pinon accomplished the same thing--preserving the corn from vermin and spoilage.
This history accounts for the fact that blue corn to this day is much more scarce. The Ancients inhabiting New Mexico's Pueblos each developed their very own strain of blue corn and did not work to create large ears or productive growth.. They valued blue corn as having special virtues, as part of their religion. Amazingly, to this day--blue corn is the only known food that has 100% nutrition--containing all of the necessary vitamins and minerals for healthy living. The amino acid that is not read by the human stomach is Lysine. It is present but not assumable by the human stomach. In each of the male dominated Pueblos, blue corn was used for their ceremonies and blessings, basically by men. Women could only consume blue corn if they were sick, There was one exception--the Zuni Pueblo where it is female dominated. This history explains why they were never concerned with high productivity.
When I introduced blue corn flour in my Pecos Valley Spice Co. product line, which at that time was sold in most department store gourmet sections and upscale food stores in 1981, I circulated a press release about it. Well, blue corn became very popular nationwide--almost overnight. There was one huge problem. Blue corn was in very limited production. That is somewhat of a problem to this day, although growers have worked to hybridize it and blue corn is grown in many places outside the US. And, a practice called "filling" or blending in white and yellow corn to stretch the blue corn has become a practice with some, but not in our Pecos Valley Spice Co products. We now sell the Pancake and Muffin Mix in addition to our Blue Corn Flour. I call it flour, because it is so finely ground.
One prevailing issue with almost all New Mexico grown blue corn is that with the limited production due to its religious affiliation and each Pueblo having its own special variety--the kernels are very aboriginal. By that I mean the kernels have a very hard outer cellulosic coating,, making it difficult to mill finely, and that coupled with limited production makes it scarce--and more expensive. Nonetheless, before my much needed price increase, I am discounting our blue corn flour by 25%.
I am happy to announce that we still have openings in our Red Chile Fiesta class, October 27 and our New Mexico Favorites class on November 13 . The Holiday Favorites class on December 8 has a very few openings . Each class starts at 5 PM>
Our next weekend classes are November 4 - 6 and February 10 - 12 and our week long class is April 24 - 28.
With the holidays approaching, you may want to get some friends and or relatives together to prepare tamales. Our Tamale Rolling class is a good teaching tool with lots of hints and tips for fluffy, great tasting tamales.
Here's two favorite Blue Corn Flour recipes.
BLUE CORN CREPES
These light, delicate crepes are wonderful for burritos and other fillings. The batter best if allowed to rest for at least an hour before baking
Yield: 12 crepes
3/4 cup flour
¼ cup blue corn flour or meal
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cumin
¾ cup water
2/3 cup milk
3 eggs, beaten with a whisk
2 Tablespoons melted sweet (unsalted) butter
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- Measure the dry ingredients, taking care to spoon the flour gently into the measuring cup before leveling. Place in a medium-sized bowl. Combine the liquid ingredients and stir into the flours until mixed. Do not beat. Add the butter and set aside.
- Heat a 6- to 8-inch heavy skillet over medium heat. Brush with the oil. A drop of batter should sizzle when hot enough. Using a ¼-cup measure or 4-ounce ladle, place a scant ladleful of batter in the hot skillet only when needed.
Keep the crepes warm by placing in a cloth or crock until serving.
Reprinted with permission from Fiestas for Four Seasons by Jane Butel.
BLUE CORN PARFAIT BREAD
The best blue cornmeal is smoked in adobe ovens and then lava-wheel ground to a fine flour consistency. With the popularity of blue corn, a lot of blue corn on the market is “filled,” or blended with white or yellow corn. For the best flavor, buy pure blue cornmeal, if it is available. The moist quality of this bread has long made it a favorite with campers and picnickers.
Yield: 9-12 servings
1 cup blue corn flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoons salt
2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup dairy sour cream
2 cups cooked or canned whole-kernel corn, drained
¼ pound Monterey Jack cheese or Cheddar cheese, or a combination of the two, sliced ¼ inch thick
¼ cup sliced jalapeno chiles, either pickled or fresh
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9-inch round or square cake pan. Mix the dry ingredients together and make a well in the center. Add eggs, butter and sour cream and blend thoroughly. Fold in corn kernels.
2. Pour almost half the batter into the prepared pan. Cover with the sliced cheese and chiles. Pour the remaining batter over cheese and chiles and smooth to cover the filling. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until golden and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes our clean. Serve warm.