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Mmm, tamales. They turned out really good, but… They require corn husks that need to be soaked overnight, and they also need to be steamed for around an hour. They aren’t really a ‘ooh let’s make tamales tonight!’ thing, but are eaten as part of a social occasion including the making of them. They were great though! Cheesy and corn-y.
Just look at that gorgeous cheeseeeeeeee~
I’d highly suggest using lard in the tortilla dough, because shortening will never quite give it the fluffiness it should have. This also requires masa harina, though that is easily found in any grocery store carrying anything Latino. It’s corn previously soaked in lye and ground, usually labeled ‘MASA’ with pictures of corn stalks on the package… Think of it as just flour made from ground corn. With using shortening and water for making the dough, this could even be made vegetarian.
This also requires a steamer, but one of those can be rigged up by taking something like a large stockpot, placing a bowl inside of it, and placing a metal colander on top of that and covering it.
They do freeze excellently though.
12 dried corn husks, soaked in water overnight
8 ounces/224 g lard or vegetable shortening
6 ounces/175 ml chicken stock or water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
> Beat the lard in a mixer or by hand until soft and light.
> Place the masa harina in a large bowl and slowly add the water/stock, kneading until the dough is no longer sticky. Add in the salt and baking powder.
> Beat the lard in to the dough by hand or with a paddle attachment of a mixer, a little piece at a time, until the dough is light and fluffy. The lighter the dough, the lighter the tamales will be.
filling & cooking:
½ tablespoon vegetable oil
2 ounces / 56g onion, diced
3 ounces / 84g tomato, peeled, seeded and diced
8 ounces / 225g fresh spinach, or same amount frozen chopped spinach
4 ounces / 112g Adobera, Asadero, Monterey Jack, Mozerrella, or any mild white cheese shredded
> Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions. Sauté until they are translucent, and then add tomatoes and cook until nearly dry.
> Add the spinach and cook until wilted.
> Let cool, and then mix in the cheese.
to make the tamales:
> Place a corn husk in front of you, the narrow end of it facing you. Using your fingers or a spatula, spread the dough thinly on the corn husk, going all the way to the top of it and leaving a good margin down at the bottom of about 1½inches/3.5cm at the tapered end:
Place some of the filling inside, and wrap the long sides of the tamale up. Fold the narrow bottom up, and then secure it tied with a string.
> Line the tamales in a steamer, standing up with the open end facing up.
When all the tamales have been rolled, fill the steamer with water and cover. Replenish with water when needed, every 20 minutes or so depending on the size of your steamer.
Cook for around 1-1½ hours, until the corn husks easily pull away from the tamales.
General Tso's chicken, Fried Rice, and bakabana/gebakken banaan
Getting a good picture while the sun is setting? Yeah, that’s not going to happen.
Well, this was my meal Sunday evening. See, I’d woken up and all day and in to the next evening was haunted by various fandoms after a peculiar dream involving Law and Order: SVU, which led in to me watching X-Men Origins: Wolverine again before watching X-Men: First Class and wailing on early in the morning on here about how I could have helped cater for that movie.
But it’s okay now! I’m better and I got sleep, really! I’m less grumpy, see?
I was going to originally make chicken satay, and well, that didn’t happen because I was oddly out of peanuts and peanut butter. So, General Tso’s chicken is a fine example of Chinese-American cuisine anyway and I had the ingredients on hand, so… This is only 2/3rds of a genuine Asian meal.
The fried rice is of course.. I’m sure everyone is aware of what that is. It’s best made with rice cooked the day before, and is just about one of the ONLY suitable uses for pre-cooked rice.
Bakabana/gebakken banaan is… tentatively sort of like pisang goreng, but is baked instead of fried—‘bakabana’ is the Surinamese name for baked bananas, ‘gebakken banaan’ is Dutch for baked banana. Either way, it’s very simple, and makes for a wonderful dessert instead of just eating a plain banana. Some lemon/lime juice helps brighten it up considerably.
So let’s get started!
General Tso’s Chicken
for the chicken:
1 lb/450g chicken breast, boneless, skinless, and cut in to cubes
1 tablespoon soy sauce
cornstarch, as needed
oil for deep frying
for the sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons chicken broth or water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons cornstarch/cornflour
green onions/scallions, chopped
5-10 small red chili peppers, preferably bird’s eye chili or dried flakes
>Heat oil in a wok or deep fryer at around 350°F/175°C.
>Mix together the egg and soy sauce with some salt and pepper in a bowl. Add in the chicken, and toss to coat. In another bowl, pour in some corn starch. Coat the chicken in the cornstarch, shaking off the excess, and then drop in to the hot oil. Deep-fry until the chicken is crispy and lightly browned on both sides. Remove to a cooling rack to set aside until all of the chicken is done.
>When all of the chicken has been cooked, drain and clean out the wok, reserving a few tablespoons of the oil.
>Heat a tablespoon or two of the oil until it’s hot, and add in the green onions and chili peppers. Stir fry until very aromatic, and then add back in the chicken.
>Mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl, and then pour in to the wok. Once it begins to boil, mix the chicken up together with it, stirring for around 1-2 minutes until the sauce is sufficiently thick and the chicken is coated.
1 cup/225g cooked rice, cooled
1-2 carrots, peeled and chopped finely
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
½ a white onion, peeled and chopped finely, or a few stalks of green onion
1 tablespoon soy sauce
around 1 tablespoon oil
optional: 1 egg, fried, to top with at the end
>Heat the oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat. Once heated, add in the garlic, onion, and carrot. Stir and cook for around 1-2 minutes, before adding in the rice. Make sure to break up the rice if it sticks together.
>Cook for around 5-7 minutes, frequently turning and stirring, until the rice is golden brown and cooked through. Stir in the soy sauce and serve.
2-3 bananas, skins yellow
1 tablespoon butter, cut in to small cubes
1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons brown sugar
>Preheat an oven to 400°F/200°C.
>Peel the bananas, and cut in to half. Then cut in to fourths. Place in to a baking dish and coat with the lime/lemon juice. Top with the brown sugar, and then dot with the butter.
>Bake for 5-7 minutes, until the butter and sugar has melted and serve.
Campbell's Kitchen Broccoli and Cheese Casserole
1 can Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup milk1 (16 ounce) package frozen broccoli flowerets, thawed
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons butter, melted
Stir the soup, milk, mustard, broccoli and cheese in a 1 1/2-quart casserole.
Mix the bread crumbs with the butter in a small bowl and sprinkle over the broccoli mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until hot.
Zucchini Ribbon Pasta
This past weekend, I was up in Murrieta, CA for The Big Potluck for a food blogging conference I’ve been looking forward to for several months. After a 3-hr car drive in the worst LA traffic, we finally made it to the venue. And then after having a bit too much wine the first night there, I severely suffered the consequences of the most “awesome” hangover I have ever experienced.
Lesson learned: alcohol + conferences do not go well together.
LAMB PELAU (Trinidad Version)
Pelau is a stew from Trinidad made with either beef,chicken or Lamb. The unique flavor comes from searing the meat in caramelized sugar then simmering with rice, coconut milk (optional), and pigeon peas.