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Archive for the ‘Mexican’ Category

Primero fiesta

I decided the first meal for “Dishing It” would be tamales, which would be a festive way to usher in spring and which I’d never made before, so the meal would be something special. Since Stew and Mike are vegetarians, we made chile, cheese, and corn tamales. The recipes we used in combination were this and this . We used the first for its filling (which we changed slightly by using pepper jack for more spice in place of regular jack cheese; we also didn’t make the salsa, but in retrospect it would have been a great addition to cut the dryness of the tamale) and the second for its dough (butter instead of lard, though). The process took quite a while– from roasting, sweating, peeling, and dicing the pablano peppers, to cleaning and trimming the corn husks (neither recipe explains this part, but the back of the corn husk wrapper does, so do it!), to soaking the husks in boiled water (1+ hour), to finally steaming the prepared tamales (1 hour). The result was pretty tasty. But we all three agreed that the amount of time and effort (2-3 hours) didn’t really show in the food that we devoured in minutes. Quality-wise, the tamales were as good as any we’ve had before, though perhaps a bit dry. We would definitely recommend making sure you press your dough very thinly– maybe even thinner than 1/4 inch as the recipe says– so that the tasty filling isn’t overwhelmed by thick, dry dough. We also ran out of dough after making about 6 or 8 tamales, so we had to make another 1 1/3 batch. With this second batch of dough, we used olive oil in place of butter   (surprisingly, these tamales came out moister) and a bit of the extra filling we had to bulk up the quantity. Overall, this made us appreciate the work others, like Stew and Mike’s co-worker, put into making tamales and we decided this meal is only a couple times of year thing!

For sides, I made homemade refried beans, which are amazing and easy but also require some day-ahead planning. Here is my go-to crock pot recipe for those. I recently learned to not throw away the water you soak the beans in as I’ve always been taught but instead to cook the beans in it (and maybe some broth if you have it) as its full of nutrients.You can cook the beans stovetop, but I’ve found the flavor isn’t as rich and complex because they cook faster.

Yummy refried beans

Yummy refried beans

I also made simple spanish rice. I can’t find the recipe now, but there are plenty of good ones online. I finish my rice off in a rice cooker after it’s been browned on the stovetop. I also always use broth– not water– and tomato paste to cook the rice in. Both the beans and the rice are unbelievably better than anything you get in a can or a box.

Perfect Spanish rice

The 3rd part of the meal was a clementine granita, an easy and perfect way to finish up a heavy dinner and to use up that box of clems you buy because they’re on sale at the store. I used this recipe with a few variations. I didn’t have enough clem juice, so I added the juice of two lemons, which ended up being a good way to counteract the sweetness of the cuties. I ended up making a 2/3 batch because of lack of juice, but it ended up being the right amount.

Clementine granita

And the drink. I had been saving the recipe for years. I found it on one of those racks of free recipe cards in the Safeway produce section. Man, it sounded sooo good. And it looked sooo good. The ingredients were simple: white rum, blended watermelon, sugar, a pinch of salt, and vanilla. It was the vanilla that killed it. We found out that vanilla has no place in a fresh fruit cocktail. We got desperate and started adding Mexican fruit punch soda and lemon mineral water but to no avail. And if Stew and I can’t finish a drink, you know you’ve got problems. But here are the pretty pictures anyway.

Now all that’s left to discuss is The Real Housewives of New York… Let’s see… All those girls are nuts. Last night’s episode was full of dog poop (literally and in the form of Perez Hilton), Jill being evil, Kelly wearing short shorts, throwing down in public, and Ramona’s crazy eyes. I’m looking forward to the New Jersey chicks on Monday.

Jill: "Your evite sucked!"

Crazy eyes!

Alex: "I have a message for you, bitch!"

The Throwdown

Adios!

Pork

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