Friday, January 10, 2014


Across the street from our old place was a fantastic Mexican grocery store with the best nachos and burritos.  I miss that place so much that I go back at a least once a month (twice in the last week to make up for missed times!) because I crave it.  It's a guilty pleasure.

Anyway, around the holidays, there are always big bags of prepared masa and corn husks on display.  It's always got me thinking of making tamales.  I know it's a big, time intensive thing so it's great to do when family's around.  Well, I don't have family around now, but I just made a batch of carnitas and we were there, so we got masa and corn husks.

I spent some time googling  and YouTubing "how to make tamales".  Then, I decided to just go for it.

1. Soak corn husks in hot water.

2. Prepare filling.  I had carnitas that I shredded.  It was in the fridge so that juice and fat were a bit congealed, which turned out to be a good thing - it made the filling juicier and not dry. 

 I also had some leftover turkey so I mixed that with some salsa verde and even though it's not very authentic, a couple tablespoons of cheddar cheese.  Shredded rotisserie chicken would be good too.

3. Spread masa on corn husks (about 1/4" thick).  What I read was use the back of a spoon.  I tried this but found pressing it out with the heel of my hand worked better.    Rolling it into a ball...

then into a fat log...

then pressing it out worked even better.

4. Put a tablespoon of filling in the center, then roll the corn husk from one edge to the other.  

Tuck in the sides.  You can tie the tamale with a thin strip of the corn husk.  From what I read, one side is typically open, so you want to steam that side up.  I decided to tuck both sides in and ended up tying both ends.  A little more work, but since I don't have a steamer to stand the tamales up, I figured this was a good idea for me.

5.  Steam for one hour.  Apparently, there are actual vessels out there for tamale steaming.  I suppose a pasta pot with strainer type thing would work too.  But the closest I have is my big sauce pan and a wire rack from my toaster oven.  

I could only fit 7 at a time, but maybe I could fit them on top of each other too?  To do list: get a steamer thing.

The result? Probably not the most authentic tamales but pretty tasty.  I think the key is the masa, which I bought pre-made.  My trouble has been that the masa comes in a 5 pound bag and I can't seem to make enough tamales to use it up.  Maybe it's time to have a tamale making party!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


You know how when you make burgers, they end up being half the size they started out as?  Like how you made a patty and then it's shrunk to half the size of the bun?  Frustrating, right?  My solution - sliders!  Make mini burger patties for mini burger buns.  Genius.

1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion, grated
2 shakes of worcestershire or steak sauce
1/8 tsp Garlic powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper

1. Combine all ingredients.  Do not over mix.

2. Form approximately 8 patties.  Slightly push down the center of the patty to make an indentation.  This will help the patty cook more evenly.

3. Heat a large pan.  Place patties in pan, leaving approximately 1 inch space around each.  Cook for 2-3 minutes per side.

4. Remove from pan and let patties rest on a plate.

5. Serve with favorite toppings.  (I went with pepper jack and guacamole.)