Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tamales 101

There is no better way to spend the day when it is -30 than in kitchen cooking up dozens upon dozens of tamales.  No doubt about it, making tamales is TIME CONSUMING...plan on two days AT LEAST and a clean pair of pajamas to change into while you are making these.  In years past I always made tamales the first week I was out of school for the summer.  I've always viewed my tamale-time  as a gift to myself--to breathe again and not worry about anything except for listening to the timer on the stove singing the end of another process.

Nothing speaks to me of sunshine and happiness than taste buds that are awakened by real, authentic chile.  My Land of Enchantment roots run deep within, and I grab every opportunity to cook tasty southwestern flavor for my northwestern friends who, some, have never experienced green chile outside of a can, or know there is choice between red and green.  This year I am trying a new tamale recipe that I think everyone will enjoy.  Please go to the link to get the recipe.  I actually like his masa recipe better than any other I have found.  It spreads easy and the cumin adds a whole new dimension to the flavor.
I made 80 tamales using the website recipe I have included and another 80 with the traditional recipe I have used from the La Posta Cookbook in Las Cruces, NM.  I hate to say it, but the Las Cruces recipe that calls for lard spreads better, while the one from sonofthesouthwest seems to have more flavor...Dang...guess that means I should eliminate the oil called for in son's recipe and put in lard?  Jim would die if he knew I put lard into the last batch.

In addition, I made 50 vegetarian tamales for my vegetarian friends at school.  This is a mix of black beans, corn, rice, pinon nuts, and a red chile and garlic sauce.  The masa was made from vegetable stock and peanut oil in lieu of lard and meat stock.  They are not only healthy, but yummy, even for us died-in-the-wool traditional tamale eaters!

  The Good and the Bad

The Bad:
1)  Making tamales is time consuming (ha!  a minimum of two days-and that from sun-up to sun-down) and should be made en-mass.
2)  Forced to shop at Wal-Mart, which I boycott at every opportunity, but they have the ingredients I need.
3) Ingredients can be costly---5 lbs chicken and 8 lbs pork roast...never mind the masa and other stuff
4)  Multiple steps and multiple opportunities to taste-test.  Forget cooking dinner---it won't happen.
5)  Serious excuse for a long, hot tub bath with aromatic salts to rest those feet, you will be on them for at least 24 hours.  Is this a good or a bad?

The Good:
1)  This is a great excuse to invite friends to come and help. Maybe serve up some margaritas?  I'll take mine on the rocks with salt please.
2) The freezer protrudes with tamals and you don't have to worry until you run out again.
3) You know the time and work you invested in this project and it truly becomes a gift of the heart to those with which you share.

Espero que les guste
(I hope you enjoy)

No comments:

Post a Comment