Guru Rabbit

Turn a new leaf (and EAT it)

They Knew… April 17, 2013

Filed under: Random,Recipes — rabbit @ 4:10 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

So I was going through some photos, making myself feel old

When I stumbled across the first pets I ever had.

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I tried to feed them Trix cereal because I felt sorry for them.

(Does anyone else remember Trix before they were fruit shapes?!?)

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Anywho.

It occurred to me that Thumper and Snowball were the prophecy of my future rabbit food lifestyle.

Talk about a revelation :p

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This salad is not exactly a revelation.

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But I’d like to think it’s just as tasty.

At work last week we had our minds on arugula.  We like arugula…  So I started thinking of something light, yet rich.  Something with personality.  The peppery bite of arugula; buttery-smooth avocado; and the nerdy-looking, often ridiculed, asparagus.  But asparagus gets to be cool here.  Because it’s shining in it’s raw form: crisp, a little bitter, but sweet, and dressed in simple spices and lemon.  And this bunch was purple.  Yeah, purple!

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Arugula, Avocado & Asparagus Salad

Ingredients:

2 big handfuls of arugula

1 1/2 cups (more or less if you’d like) of chopped raw asparagus*

1 medium avocado

1 lemon

salt, pepper, and smoked paprika to taste

Optional: Nuts or seeds, dried fruit, sprouts, etc.

*If you’re really against eating asparagus raw, you can lightly steam it.  Pansy.

1) Dump that arugula in a medium bowl!  Good job!

2) Now toss in the asparagus!  Yeah!

3) Okay, for serious now…  Slice the avocado in half, remove the seed, and criss-cross the flesh with your knife.  Then just scoop the cubes out with a spoon into the salad.

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4) Sprinkle salt, pepper, and paprika onto the mixture.  I like to be generous with the paprika for its sweet and savory touch.  Zest the lemon onto the salad and toss the mixture to distribute the spices.  Add the juice of the lemon, and toss again.

The salad is good to go at this point.  But as indicated above, you can add other tidbits.

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Such as walnuts and dried figs…  Ooh

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For serious.  This salad.  Rabbit approved.

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My Brain vs. Reality March 27, 2013

Filed under: Random,Recipes — rabbit @ 7:14 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

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I wish you could see the recipe ideas I have in my noggin, the list of inspirations sitting in my laptop that have yet to be attempted.

I wish you could be there when the light bulb over my head brightens, and I start getting all food-geek on whoever’s next to me.

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It’s frustrating when you have all these sparks going off in your head…

But you lack the ingredients, time, money, energy, or motivation.

To.  Just.  Focus.

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Fortunately, other things still happen.  Everything just kinda falls into place…

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Much like other things in life.

Millet & Black Bean Stuffed Poblanos

This recipe is an impromptu result of seeing poblano peppers on sale at the farmer’s market.  The Mexican in me cannot resist.  Everything else I had on hand, but at the end of the recipe I shall offer variation depending on what you have.

Ingredients:

4 medium poblano peppers

1/2 cup finely chopped carrots

1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms

1/2 cup diced onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup millet

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 cup cooked black beans

a handful of chopped fresh cilantro

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Brush the peppers with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and roast until the skins become wrinkly and tender.

2) While the peppers are roasting, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan.  Add the carrots, mushrooms, onion and garlic.  Cook over medium-low heat until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add the millet and spices (cumin through thyme).  Stir the mixture around to toast the millet and distribute the spices.  Add 3/4 cup water, lower the heat to a simmer, and cover.  After 20-30 minutes, all the water should be absorbed and the millet fluffy.  It’s like cooking rice, don’t freak out.  Once the millet is done, remove from heat, and add the black beans, cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

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3) The annoying part:  once the poblano peppers are cool enough to handle, cut out the stems, and slice the peppers almost in half lengthwise,  leaving some connection so that they resemble wings.  Use your fingers to scrape out the seeds.

4) Generously fill one half of each pepper with the millet mixture, fold over the other half, and place in a baking dish.  Repeat until all the peppers are stuffed.

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At this point, you can refrigerate the peppers until you are ready to heat and serve.  Otherwise, pop them in the oven until hot.  Any temperature between 350°F and 450°F  should be fine.

Variations: Millet is a wonderful, relatively inexpensive grain I finally tried, but rice, quinoa, barley, etc. can be substituted.  Just check the water and time requirement for cooking.  Any type of cooked bean, peas or lentils can also replace the black beans.  And if poblanos are too hot for you (though they’re fairly mild), you can use bell peppers which have no heat at all; the only issue is that bell peppers tend to be larger, so you may need to make more filling

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Ideas on how to serve…

Melted cheese.  Avocado or guacamole.  Hot sauce.  Salsa.  Sour cream…

Y’know. Whatever you got.

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On the First Try! February 25, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 7:30 am
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So, I’ve realized that I haven’t provided you all with very many sweets lately.

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My sincere apologies, people.  Really.

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You have to understand that when you bake and make sweets for a living, you tend to want to get away from them at home.

You develop a desire to put salt, vinegar, or hot sauce on everything.

You eat packets of mustard.

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What?

Am I the only one who will eat a packet of mustard?

…I just love mustard…

=(

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Whatever, I hate you all.  So anywho, I got back into a little gluten-free experimental baking.  In the past I’ve had some successes, but also many failures.  It’s one thing when you’re doing strictly vegan or strictly gluten-free, but when you want to do BOTH in one recipe…  Woof.  Without eggs or gluten, you gotta work on your method of structure.  It’s like being an architect or construction worker.  And a chemist.  Well, damn, I didn’t know I was so versatile…

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I got lucky with this one.  I pondered for a bit on how to make a successful gluten-free, vegan banana bread that tastes awesome and is not flat and dopey-looking.  I’m familiar with amaranth and tapioca flours, and find them to work very well in various recipes.  Amaranth for its protein content and sweet, nutty taste, and tapioca for its elasticity and blank flavor (like a ninja…).  Then I researched a bit on baking powder and baking soda, since there would be no eggs to help the bread rise.  I took my usual banana bread recipe, made some adjustments, and voila.  Well kids, I guess this is (one reason) why I”m the Guru Rabbit…

Delicious Vegan, Gluten-Free Banana Bread

Ingredients:

2 cups amaranth flour

1 cup tapioca flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp guar gum

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp cinnamon

3 ripe bananas

1 cup sugar (brown, white, or a combination of both)

1/4 cup flax seed meal

1/2 cup vegan, gluten-free butter substitute*

1/4 cup non-dairy milk

1 tsp vinegar (white or apple cider variety)

2 tsp vanilla

Optional: a big handful (or two) of chocolate chunks, nuts, dried fruit, candied ginger, dried coconut, whatever you want.  I added chocolate chunks and chopped pecans

*I used non-hydrogenated palm oil shortening, which is stored at room temperature, and is always soft.  If you use something like Earth Balance, which is refrigerated, make sure you let it soften, or melt it slightly.

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease an 8×4 inch loaf pan.  (If baked in a 9×5 inch pan, it may bake faster, but will look flatter.  It will still taste awesome though.)  In a small bowl, whisk together the first seven ingredients (all the dry stuff, amaranth flour through cinnamon).  In a medium bowl, combine the bananas, sugar, flax seed meal, and faux butter.  And in a small cup, combine the milk with the vinegar and vanilla.

2) With an electric mixer, beat the banana and sugar mixture until it’s as smooth as possible.  It may look like vomit… Just sayin’…  Add the vinegared milk and mix well.  Then fold in the dry ingredients and your optional additions until well incorporated.

3) Spread into the prepared pan and smooth the top, allowing it a bit of a dome.  Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes.  I know, it’s a while, but it’s worth it.  Go watch a movie or something.  Test with a wooden skewer or toothpick to make sure it’s fairly dry inside (there may be a trace of moisture on the tester, but there shouldn’t be any batter).  Allow to cool until at least lukewarm before you cut into it.  This will keep just like regular banana bread– at room temperature, in the fridge, in the freezer– it all depends on how fast it’ll go.

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So here’s to tooting my own horn.

Toot. Tooot!

 

Because Hello Kitty is a Fame Whore… January 29, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 5:46 pm
Tags: , , ,

One of the most difficult aspects of being super awesome and hardcore in the kitchen…

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Is storing chives in your Chococat mug while you think about cool ways to use them.

Yeah, that’s right.  I have a Chococat mug.  Suck on it.

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Suck on some garlic while you’re at it…

And cashews, salt, pepper, garbanzo beans, white wine vinegar…

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It’s hummus time.

(Hmm…  That would be a good name for my own brand of hummus…  I call it!)

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See, I was thinking about what to do with leftover chives

from this DELICIOUS Shepherd’s Pie I recently made…

Y’know, kinda like when I was all like,

“What-am-I-gonna-do-with-this-leftover-cilantro?!#%^$”

It happens.

That’s okay.  Fine by me.

Good for YOU.

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Chive Jive Hummus

Ingredients:

1/4 cup raw cashews

1-2 cloves of garlic

small bunch of fresh chives (about 1/2 – 3/4 cup chopped)

1 15-oz can garbanzos (or 2 cups home-cooked)

a few Tbsp of white wine vinegar, to taste and to adjust consistency

salt and pepper to taste

1) Combine the cashews, garlic and chives in your food processor.  Chop and mix until the cashews are pretty much ground up, scraping the sides down one or two times.

2) Add the garbanzos and puree.  Stream in the vinegar until smooth.  Add salt and pepper to your liking.

3) Give yourself a pat on the back and grab some crackers, pita chips, or fresh bread…

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Make a sammich…

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Or something.

Some notes…  If you’re not so much into garlic as I am, you should stick with one clove, and go from there.  I used 4 garlic cloves for no sane reason, and that’s a good idea if you’re trying to avoid the flu or venereal disease…  Yeah.  As far as chives, it’s difficult to go overboard with them, because they’re so much more mild than their relative, the onion.  In place of white wine vinegar, you can use lemon juice, as well as some zest if you like.  And you can use nuts other than cashews, but I like their buttery sweetness to help carry the onion-y flavor of the chives.  I imagine pistachios would be great as well, and add to the lovely green color.  Green is pretty awesome.

That is all.  Carry on.  Chococat 4 lyfe.

 

Give Parsnip a Chance January 24, 2013

Filed under: Random,Recipes — rabbit @ 5:26 pm
Tags: , , , ,

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I’ve been meaning to work with parsnip.  Sort of.

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Because I see it all the time at the markets, and I know how it tastes

and the array of dishes one can make with it…

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But I feel like it it often gets pushed aside.

Is it the name?  Pars. Nip.  Par. Snip.

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I dunno.

To me, parsnip is like… if a potato and a carrot had a baby.

A nice, sweet,  but awkward child that nobody really talks to.

Probably because its name is Parsnip.

(If I ever have a kid, its name will be Parsnip.)

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And little Parsnip will make great gnocchi.

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Parsnip Gnocchi with Caramelized Onions & Gorgonzola

This recipe is based on my Plantain Gnocchi, but I basically swapped out the plantain for parsnip.  Parsnip yields a slightly sweeter flavor and pairs nicely with the onions and tangy Gorgonzola.  You can also try folding in a bit of the cheese into the gnocchi dough… whoa…  Also, when I made this, I was using half the ingredients as listed.  The amount I made could feed two, so these quantities should be good for four peeps.

Ingredients:

4 large parsnip roots, peeled and cut into equal sizes

2 eggs, at room temperature

2 cups flour*

optional: fresh or dried herbs of your choice (I used chopped fresh sage)

salt and pepper to taste

1 sweet onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup or more of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

*I used amaranth flour to make a gluten-free version, just because.  I think the lack of gluten also made these gnocchi really tender, even after they’ve been refrigerated (which is good if you like eating leftovers straight from the fridge).  Using wheat flour will likely make the texture a little more firm, but I don’t imagine in a bad way, since that’s what is traditionally used in gnocchi.

1) Steam or roast the parsnip until tender.  I roasted mine (350°F for about an hour, coated in olive oil, salt and pepper) because I have an obsession with roasting veggies, apparently.  Steaming might make them easier to puree later on though.

2) Once cool enough to handle, puree the parsnip in a food processor, using the eggs (and scraping down occasionally) to help achieve a smooth consistency.  I also required a few tablespoons of water, FYI.  Transfer the puree to a medium bowl, and gradually combine with the flour, until you have a dough that is easy to handle but still a bit sticky (if you need more flour, add a tablespoon or two at a time).  Fold in the salt, pepper, and herbs if using.  Set dough aside to rest.

3) Caramelize the onion by cooking over medium-low heat in a bit of olive oil.  Stir frequently, until the onion is evenly browned and smells like angel sweat.  Remove from heat and set aside.

4) Shape your gnocchi.  Flour your hands and your counter top, or a large cutting board.  As you can see, I did thumbprints (again).  You can also roll the dough into a snake and just cut equal-sized pieces from that, or if you have any special tools or techniques, go for it.  Once all the dough is shaped, bring a pot of water to a gentle boil.  In small batches, lower the gnocchi into the water, and once they float to the top, take them out and set aside.  Repeat until all the gnocchi is cooked.

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5) Combine the gnocchi with the caramelized onion, reheating if necessary on low.  Then transfer to a bowl and toss with the Gorgonzola.  Enjoy while thinking about which vegetable you would name your child after.  I also may consider Broccoli…

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Sharing is Yummy January 20, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 9:44 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I like to provide things when I can.  I try to be helpful, generous, solution-giving, etc.  I like to produce.

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So when someone asks for a recipe, because they so adored the dish when I first served it

2013-01-17 18.46.04   Damn right I’m gonna supply.

So yeah.  I made this Shepherd’s Pie for Thanksgiving.  And I kinda winged it, and didn’t record the recipe.

The “meat” portion is based on/inspired by my awesomely awesome chili.

The texture of the finely chopped veggies, legumes, and the wonderful blend of spices makes a great alternative to ground beef.

Lots of flavor going on, people.

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Then there’s mashedly mashed potatoes.

I boiled the tah-toes with their own skins, plenty of salt, and some peppercorns.

Can’t hurt to add a little extras when you boil something…

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(Can you see my reflection in the wonderful Professional Kitchenaid Mixer, Tia Malena??)

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Green things = chives.  Because everyone likes chives, right?

Yellow cube things: buttah.  Because, damnit.

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

for the filling-

1 medium carrot

1 pint mushrooms

1 medium tomato

1 small onion (or half medium

1-2 garlic cloves, depending on your liking for garlic

1/2 cup red lentils (you can use other types of lentils, but they may require longer cooking time)

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp coriander

approx 1 cup liquid (broth, beer, water, etc.)

drizzle of soy sauce or tamari

salt and pepper to taste

for the mashed potatoes-

3 large Russet potatoes

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper or peppercorns (optional)

1 1/4 cup sour cream (maybe a little more if necessary)

1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) butter

1 bunch of chives, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1) Make the filling.  Finely chop the carrot, mushrooms, tomato, onion and garlic.  Drizzle some olive oil in large pot and turn the heat to medium-high.  Now throw in all the veggies and lentils.  When things start to get hot, lower the heat to medium, and cover the pot partially.  Stir occasionally as the liquid from the shrooms and tomatoes evaporates.  Meanwhile, combine the spices in a small bowl.  When the mixture has lost most of its liquid, stir in the spices, then add the broth, or whatever you’re using (I used a combination of hard cider and water).  Also add the soy sauce.  Bonus: I had some fresh thyme and sage from my new patio garden and threw that in.  Allow to cook until the mixture has a chili-like consistency and the lentils are done.  Add salt and pepper to your liking.  Spread filling into a 9-inch pie plate, or an 8×8 inch baking dish (or something equivalent).  Set aside.

2) Make the mashed potatoes.  Peel the potatoes, and combine them with their skins, salt, and pepper (if using) in a large pot.  (The skin adds a bit of flavor).  Add enough water to cover the potatoes and put to boil for about half an hour, or until they are tender.  Once done, transfer the hot potatoes to a large bowl.  Reserve the water they were boiled in.  Break them up with a knife or large fork, then start mashing with either a mixer or potato masher.  Add the butter, and mix/mash it in until it’s melted.  Now mix in the sour cream, then the reserved cooking water as necessary until it’s smooth, creamy and fluffy.  Gradually add chives, salt and pepper to taste, and more sour cream if you feel it’s needed.

3) Spread the potatoes over the filling.  Make it fluffy!!  If you’re like me, more salt and pepper over the top.  Then we’re gonna be bad… and dot some little cubes of butter all over before this baby hits the oven.  And bake at 350°F, though you can turn the temperature higher if you’re lacking patience…  Until the potatoes are lightly browned…  And that butter has melted and adorned the crevices like rivers running through mountains…

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You can serve this right away.  Maybe along a nice salad like this one.

Or this one.

And for dessert, maybe some Cranberry Orange Banana Bread?

And/or irresistible Pumpkin Blondies?

Some notes…  This recipe can be adjusted in various ways.  For one, you can use different veggies than listed.  Just keep texture in mind.  You don’t want a mushy filling, so different types of mushrooms, root veggies, lentils, corn, quinoa, etc, are good options.  Second, you can use different types of potatoes, but some are more waxy versus starchy like Russets, so do your research and see what will be good for mashing.  Third, want to make this a little healthier?  Use Greek yogurt mixed with the juice of one lemon instead of sour cream.  And olive oil instead of butter?  Totally okay.  FOURTH!  Want to make it vegan?  There are plenty of vegan substitutes for butter and sour cream.  But if you have trouble getting them near you, just ask, I’ll help you out with what you got.

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And finally… Share =)

 

Never Too Late November 4, 2012

Filed under: Interestin' Food Info,Recipes — rabbit @ 4:58 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Ideally, I would’ve posted this two or three days ago, when the timing was more appropriate.  But y’know, stuff gets in the way.  I’m sure he won’t mind…

So I realized the cusp of October and November will from now on be particularly special.  Dad’s birthday is October 31st (Halloween!).  And the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) takes place November 1st and 2nd.  (Um, duh, Dad was Mexican.)

Among a bazillion other things (including but not limited to: how to drive, how to get achieve a good credit score, how to give an obviously homeless person something to eat, how to break someone’s nose should they attempt to molest me, etc.), Dad taught me how to make tamales.

It starts with love.  Like the immediate love one feels for a rescue puppy…

Okay, sort of.  And no, that’s not my puppy…  But for reals, it starts with a very finely ground cornmeal known as masa.  And traditionally, it is mixed with some kind of soup broth and… LARD.  Ugh.  Well, I don’t really mean that.  When it comes to old-time standards, one would raise a happy pig, kill it (hopefully as quickly as possible), and use all parts of its body– meat, organs, fat,and bones.  Food chain ethics, y’ know?  That ain’t the case today :(

But I find non-hydrogenated palm shortening works.  Try Spectrum.  Or if you have an ethical source of lard…?  I dunno, I eat lettuce for lunch, I’m not really the person to ask about this…

Anywho.  Then the masa dough gets spread into soaked corn husks, and filled.

I filled the masa dough with roasted butternut squash and Mexican farmer’s cheese.

(In the last couple of years, Dad would frequently buy buy butternut squash for his rabbit girl.)

Then you wrap it up so the dough seals itself around the filling:

And tie it up, and steam it up.

Tequila shot, optional.

Basic Tamale Recipe

3 cups masa harina*

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening

3 cups vegetable broth

25-30 dried corn husks, soaked in water for a couple of hours*

heatproof, food-safe twine or string (or if you want to deal with tying corn husk strings, be my guest)

filling of your choice, but nothing too runny

*You’ll probably have to go to a Latin or Mexican grocery store to find the masa harina and corn husks.  If you want to try tying the tamales with the husk itself, once you’ve soaked them, take a few and just tear them into strips.  It takes a little practice to efficiently tie a corn husk string, which is why I suggest twine.  But whatever floats your boat.

1) In a small bowl, whisk together the masa and baking powder.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, beat the shortening until fluffy.  With a rubber or silicone spatula, start mixing in the masa.  Once it’s getting too dry and difficult to mix, start mixing in the broth.  You want to end up with a soft, kinda pasty dough, so add the broth gradually, until you have a good consistency.

2) Place a steamer basket at the bottom of a large, deep pot.  The higher you can place the basket, the better, so if you want, put some kind of heavy objects that will survive being boiled underneath.  Fill with water to just below the bottom of the basket.

3) Assemble the tamales.  Spread a few tablespoons of dough onto the center of a corn husk.  Your husks might be large enough to put more dough.  Just make sure you stay in the center so the husk can fully wrap around.  Leave enough empty husk at the bottom to be able to fold it up and tie.  Place a bit your filling on the dough, just enough so that the dough will still be able to encase it.  Wrap up the corn husk so the dough covers the filling.  Fold the bottom tail up and tie it securely.  You can leave the top open.  Set aside and repeat until all your tamales are ready for steaming.

4) Place the tamales in the steamer basket, standing on their bottom.  Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and steam for about an hour, adding more water as necessary.  They’re ready when the dough is firm.

Serve with sauces and sides of your choice– salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, guacamole, etc.  For fillings, you can try spinach, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, different types of cheese, etc.  Whatever you use, make sure it’s cooked already.  You don’t want liquid seeping out the dough while the tamales steam.

This recipe makes enough to feed four people, maybe more, depending on appetites.  You can store leftovers in the fridge or freezer, and heat in the oven.  So it makes a good weekend project to be able to have tamales at your disposal.  Awesome?  Yes.

Oh, and Happy Belated Birthday, Dad.

P.S.  These are by far the hottest chipotles I’ve ever tasted:

La Morena indeed…