It’s Native American Heritage Month and to honor my ancestors I whipped up some traditional ingredients using some modern cooking methods, even the use of mayo on my steaks. Yes, I used mayo, and it came out great!
I have been researching our upcoming podcast pilot episode and recently stumbled upon an exciting food trend. The trend is the use of mayonnaise in place of oil for searing meat. Yes, you can re-read that statement, I said mayonnaise. At first, this struck me as very odd and made me slightly uncomfortable because who would put mayo on a perfectly good piece of meat? I dug a little deeper into the proposed science behind the “why” and I was surprised at the results.
An article from the LA Times explains, “Mayonnaise is an emulsion, which means you have small droplets of oil surrounded by egg yolk, and that has a couple of really cool properties.” They go more in-depth, “This emulsion allows the oils in the mayonnaise actually to stick to the food, unlike plain oil. Oil and water don’t mix, which is why it’s so hard to get the fat to adhere to foods you want to grill, particularly meats.” This process, I learned, is not limited to grilling. I slathered a couple of Antelope steaks in a mayo spice mixture and tossed them in a piping hot cast iron pan.
Read the written version of this recipe as prepared by Justin Townsend
Hominy is basically dried corn kernels, also known as maize in much of the world, that have gone through a process called nixtamalization, or an alkaline treatment.
So…. dried corn kernels, that’s easy enough; but what is nixtamalization?
Nixtamal is a word that comes from the Nahuatl language, a portmanteau meaning lime ashes and corn dough. The process of nixtamalization involves cooking and then soaking dried corn kernels in an alkaline solution, usually lime water, which causes a number of chemical reactions to take place in the corn.
During the process, the cell walls in the kernels, which are full of alkaline-soluble hemicellulose and pectin, begin to break down, softening the outer hull. Starches inside the kernel expand and gelatinize, helping the corn to be ground much easier and hold its shape as a dough.
Many proteins and nutrients are also unlocked in the process, making them available for absorption by the human body.
After treatment, the hulls are removed from the kernels and the corn gets washed to remove any unpleasant flavours. From there, the corn, now hominy or nixtamal, can be dried, frozen, or canned. It can also be ground in order to make corn products like masa, tortillas, grits, tamales, and tortilla chips.
About Adam Berkelmans:
Adam Berkelmans, also known as The Intrepid Eater, is a passionate ambassador for real food and a proponent of nose-to-tail eating. He spends his time between Ottawa and a cozy lake house north of Kingston, Ontario. When not cooking, he can be found hunting, fishing, foraging, gardening, reading, traveling, and discovering new ways to find and eat food.