One of the things I love so much about travel is that I always feel super inspiration in the kitchen when I get home. We choose our travel spots carefully and food is always a big part. I love learning about the local favourites, traditional preparation methods, and new flavour combos.
Costa Rica was no different and after the trip I was re-inspired to start playing more with my dehydrator in order to have some easy grab and go snacks, hearty fibre rich and flavourful crackers ready for the chaos that is book launch time.
I wanted to bring some corn into the mix and the one thing I knew was that wherever corn goes, lime always follows.
Do you know what Nixtamalization means?
Right, I didn't either. I did know that traditionally there was a relationship between corn and lime in the preparation of tortillas. I just didn't know why. The phrase itself refers to the preparation method where a grain is soaked in an alkaline solution.
Corn subjected to the nixtamalization process:
- Is easier to grind.
- Easier to digest.
- Increases the nutrient availability
- Improves the balance of flavours.
- Decreases the mycotoxins, moulds that commonly affect corn crops and are potential carcinogens.
The primary nutritional benefits of nixtamalization arise from the alkaline processing involved. This alkaline environment helps convert corn's high levels of bound (meaning not available to the body) niacin (vitamin B3) into a bioavailable form that the body can actually absorb and use. Long ago, this was vital in the prevention of pellagra (a vitamin B3 deficiency disease).
The most important thing to know when making anything out of corn...
Make sure your corn is labelled as organic and/or GMO free. This is important as most (though I might even say all) conventional corn grown in North America is genetically modified and we don't want to be human petri dishes- walking experiments on what this nonsense is doing to our DNA.
- 2 10oz bags of organic frozen corn, or about 3 cups of fresh corn off the cob
- ¼ cup lime juice (juice of about 2 limes)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 cup sunflower seeds, ground
- 1 red pepper
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- 2 tbsp dried basil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp miso paste
- In your food processor or high powered blend, mix all ingredients until smooth.
- Transfer to deyhydrator non-stick tray. This will be enough for 4-5 11" squared trays or 3 14" trays.
- Spread thin and than slice into triangles with the back egde of a butter knife (don't want anything too sharp)
- Dehydrate at 105 for 12-14 hours until tortillas are crisp.
- Store in airtight container.