Monday, December 6, 2010

Taco Shells

Readers have been complaining about infrequent updates.  They want to know what is going on.  Why am I not updating OilChanges more frequently?  "What on Earth" they ask, "have you been doing with your time?"  Well, it's like this: I moved into this new office recently and I've been leaving my camera up here.  I make some food, sit down to eat, look for my camera, and realize that there are two flights of stairs between me and it, and so I say, "Fuck that.  I'm not climbing a bunch of stairs just to take a snapshot of some tacos."  So here are some tacos I made this summer.  Tacos that I think I already posted about.  In compensation for that, some pointers on frying your own corn tortillas will follow the picture.


Clearly, those taco shells are brilliant.  And you can do it, too!  Seriously, you can.  You too can make taco shells, tostadas, and chips.  There is nothing like the smell of a good corn tortilla that is getting crispy in some hot ass oil.  Seriously, it rules.  So here are some pointers:

1) start with the best damn corn tortillas that you can find: I think that coarsely ground, maybe stone ground yellow corn tortillas—not white corn—are the best for frying.  You get a harder, crunchier result with yellow corn tortillas.  To know if you have found the right ones, simply use your eyes: does the "grain" look smooth or somewhat rough?  If you can easily roll a room temperature tortilla into a tube without that tortilla cracking, spend some time looking for tortillas that will break if you attempt to tube them.  

2) get yourself a pot or a big deep cast iron skillet: you want a vessel that will retain heat.  Hot temperatures are essential to good frying.  If you are making tostadas, you can use a fairly shallow pan, but for chips you want something deep.  I use a 2.5 quart stainless steel pot with a heavy-duty bottom.  Now about oil...

3) the darker the oil, the lower the smoke point.  The smoke point is the point at which the solids, i.e. those things in the oil that burn, well, burn.  Dark oils like sesame oil are totally unsuitable for frying.  They will never reach a temperature that is hot enough to get a good result.  Same is pretty much true for most olive oils—don't use them.  I heard about a recipe for french fries fryed in olive oil and I politely said, "hmm, yeah, maybe," but I really meant, FUKCING STUPID.  Basically, buy Canola or vegetable oil by the gallon and use that.  Then, crank up your heat to pretty much full flame.  If your chips or shells are burning before getting crispy, uh, turn that shit down a notch.  Not rocket science, folks.  

4) reusing your oil: oil is good for many sessions of frying, like 20.  I keep a five gallon bucket in the garage for discarding wasted oil.  One day I plan on giving it to someone who has a vegetable oil powered car.  Anyway, when you are done frying, leave the pan or the pot on the stove until the oil has cooled.  Then, do like I do: pour it into a big jar and save it for the next purpose.  Or, get a pot that is only for frying and leave the oil in that pot.  You don't even need to cover it.  Just shove the pot into an out-of-the-way place and forget about it until you need it again.  Oil does not spoil.  No spoil oil.  

Peace, and look forward to some more posting soon.  Oh, and if you are making chips, hit them with some salt right after they come out of the oil.  Tools needed: slotted spoon, forks for making taco shells.  You need two forks; tongs will work, too.  Come back another time for the technique, or simply go on youtube and watch some demos.  Later.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oil will go rancid after a time.

Anonymous said...

Oil will go rancid after a time.

earl parker said...

--- turkey, mayo, tomato, salt, and pita bread sandwiches. No kitchen around here. There was a metal head deal at the local bar. I wonder what they eat. If I was a metal head I would still attempt to pull off soft stools, despite how uncouthe it may seem, to eat the afformentioned variety of lunch/snack. Soft stools, metal music, the Hollywood sign, pictures of fine art, and a temper that goes alongside the approaching new year, I feel fit, oversmoked, and healthy as ever as I sweat less, and eat from the heart. There is some of the heartland in the southwest. You have to feel the mediocrity of the media and then you will be set free. Some say the US isn't free anymore, but we will leave that up to the damn fortune 500 countries to decide. I have met no man or woman from the internet in years. But I still try, and come up with nothing. The Web is clearly the void that Los Angeles county is, except for when I log onto yours truly.... Merry Christmas Jono, and evreyone out there in this neat o country. God Bless, and may you have some kick ass feasts to write home about, and stuff that you last fuckin bitch of a girlfriend couldn't cook....

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