BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘tamales

Sweet Tamales for V-Day!

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Sweet pink tamales for Valentine's Day.

My dear friend Norma surprised us today with sweet pink tamales for Valentine’s Day. They had plump raisins and/or dried cranberries inside. Though savory ones are more common, it appears “tamales de dulce” is traditional for Christmas and Easter. Norma, from Texcoco, Mexico, is the niece of Maria, who taught that wonderful tamales-making class for Slow Food Corvallis a few years back. Speaking of Baltimore and tamales. When available, I think I prefer the moister banana leaf versions. Last spring, an OSU student was selling banana leaf tamales at the Co-op…wonder what happened to her. We’ve also had some banana leaf ones here made by a friend of a friend who works for Spring Hill Farm in Albany.


Parchment packet salmon.

In addition to the pink tamales, we had some pink wild salmon for Valentine’s Day. I cooked it in parchment packets for the first time. I used the salmon with sake recipe from Molly O’Neill massive tome,¬†One Big Table. Next time, I might try this seemingly more aromatic one from¬†famous Seattle chef Tom Douglas. Tomorrow, I’ll give sweet, almost 8-month-old baby Theo his first bite of salmon. He loves sardines, surprisingly. So far, the kid is as omnivorous as his mother.

Jicama ravioli (on left) with smoked salmon.

We try to avoid the restaurant rush and $$$ on Valentine’s Day now, but we did have a lovely multi-course meal at our beloved Le Patissier Sunday night. The most interesting thing to me was jicama ravioli with smoked salmon. The Belgian farmhouse ales in the pairing were intriguing. But by far the best thing I’ve had at Le Patissier of late is the C.B.L.T.A., a croissant B.L.T. with avocado and a basil mayonnaise. I’m trying to not make a habit of the indulgent sandwich.

The indulgent croissant blt with avocado.

Written by baltimoregon

February 15, 2012 at 12:43 am

Tamales for the First Time

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dsc02656Texcoco native and veteran tamales maker Maria Ortiz demonstrates how to knead the masa dough.


Then we soaked dried corn husks for five minutes before spread their surface with the risen masa dough. Be sure to get extra wide, unbroken husks, simply wrapped in cellophane in a stack of five dozen, from your local Mexican store.

The grocery store ones are often cracked and too small to properly wrap. You can also substitute banana leaves, parchment paper or even aluminum foil for the husks. Then you just spread the dough across the top half of the husk and put a tablespoon or so of your filling in its middle. We used shredded chicken and pork with the two salsa and made a third Rajas-style one (my new favorite!) with sliced poblano pepper strips and fresh tomatoes, chopped onions, jack cheese and a sprinkle of the aromatic herb, epazote (found in Mexican stores, it cancels out the gas-creating properties of cooked beans). I want to grow the stuff in our garden (hey, Michael Pollan does). Mexican food goddess Diana Kennedy has a “Tamales Con Rajas Y Queso” recipe I’d like to try.

dsc02647The hour and a half the tamales had to steam went by faster than we expected. We actually all had time to try some before the four hours were up. Everyone went home with a bag of tamales to share, and we still managed to raise money for the new free community dinners planned for low-income residents in South Corvallis. Using a church kitchen meant we couldn’t serve alcohol, so I made the traditional beverages of tart Jamaica (hibiscus) tea and limonada instead. Now I just need to practice making tamales again at home. But the process was definitely demystified. You just need a posse of folks to help you fill and wrap. (See Maria Ortiz’s tamale recipe below):

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Written by baltimoregon

April 28, 2009 at 1:06 am

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