Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hot Tamales!!

Being the whitest, white girl I know, I thought I'd make tamales for our Christmas Eve celebration, as well as our McAllister family gathering.  I have always loved eating them, and I found a recipe for Mini Tamales that seemed pretty easy, so I volunteered, well, actually just decided to make them without anyone asking me!  Here is some pictures of the process, as well as the recipe.  I am pretty impressed with myself, and am maybe not as white as I seem!!  :)

I started with prepared masa and prewashed corn husks from Vallarta, a local Hispanic food store.  It has the best of the best produce and meat for all varieties of Mexican food.  I was at first intimidated to go there in Lancaster, but now that I've been a number of times, I knew they'd have what I needed!  To the masa, I added shredded chicken (off a store bought rotisserie chicken), pepper jack cheese (cut into cubes) and canned red enchilada sauce. 

Once the masa and other ingredients are all mixed, place 1 tablespoon into the center of the rinsed, damp corn husk.  The first batch I used was with the prewashed packaged corn husks from Vallarta, and they seemed to work better than the dry ones you have to soak on your own from the general grocery store. 
 The first batch I used was with the prewashed packaged corn husks from Vallarta, and they seemed to work better than the dry ones you have to soak on your own from the general grocery store.

Then, fold the corn husk so that the masa is snugly wrapped in the middle. 
 Next, with strips of the prepared corn husks, tie the wrapped tamale, close to the filling
 and snip off the access with kitchen scissors.
 Once they are tightly wrapped and prepared, steam them for about 30 min.  I don't have a "Tamale Steamer" so I just placed a cake cooling rack in a shallow skillet.  I made sure the water level was just to the bottom of the cake rack.  I put the lid on it, and let it steam, checking occasionally to make sure I didn't boil all the water away. 
 My littler helper!!  If I'm in the kitchen, he is at my feet!!
 Some of the tamales, ready to be steamed!  I love how they are all different sizes!!  :)
 The finished product, a little mini tamale...sooo good!!
A note about storing them...once cooled, I wrapped them in press'n'seal, then foil, and then in a freezer bag.  To me, there is no such thing as too much wrapping!!  Once I'm ready to eat them, I will steam them again for about 10 min if thawed, about 20 if still frozen...or until heated through.  If they are thawed, you can also microwave them for a minute (give or take 30 seconds).

Here is the recipe, if you can't find prepared masa:
2 cups masa (corn flour)
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2-2.5 cups chicken broth
1 package dried corn husks, soaked in hot water for 1 hr, drained (although, this took about 2 hrs for me, to get them as soft as they needed to be to not break when being folded)

1.  Place masa, butter, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Using an electric mixer, beat in enough broth to make a soft dough.
2.  Stir in desired filling ingredients.  I used 1.5 cups of shredded chicken, 1 cup of cubed pepper jack cheese and 1/2 cup enchilada sauce.
3.  Spoon about 1 tbsp of mixture into the center of each corn husk.  Roll up to enclose, and tie the ends, snipping off excess.
4.  Place in steamer basket and cook, covered for 30 min.  Remove from heat and let stand 10 min before serving. 


Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

The Holidays are here!!  YAY!!  I am so ready for this season, and ready to celebrate.  The first thing we did was decorate our house and now it is all decked out.  I often have visions of my house looking like a catalog and every inch covered, but I love what we have.  It is great to take out the boxes and relive Christmas' past.  Next up, is hoilday baking with my mom, sis, and grandma next weekend, followed by Christmas lunch with my Biola Babes and Em, and then an annual Cookie Exchange.  This year we're looking forward to some time off and relaxation.  We've been workin' and workin' and for me to take a week off between Christmas and New Year's is going to be sooo nice and necessary.  Here are some pics of our house, enjoy, and after all is said and done, I'll be sure to update!!