Thursday, December 25, 2014

Do You See What I See?

This Christmas and for the last few holidays actually my sister and I promised ourselves we would make tamales.  It's quite an undertaking in some respects but it sort of comes with all these memories and myths.  What you need to do, like make sure the masa floats in a glass of ice water.  To add baking powder or not?Don't under season your masa or it'll taste like cardboard.  Don't steam them too long or they'll be hard.  Don't put in too much meat or too little either.  I've made them a few times and have screwed them up in a variety of these ways.  This time I cleared my mind and just went with it.  Sometimes we over complicate things.   We went back and forth on doing traditional or trying one of these new fangled healthier recipes.  I've done pork every time in the past, so I went with a green chile chicken tamales and R went with pork. I used Greek yogurt to replace lard and a roasted green tomatillo chile sauce to season the meat and masa instead of red powdered chile.  I couldn't find one cohesive recipe so I made due with mixing three together.  The homemade rich but defatted chicken stock would also serve as a flavoring agent to replace some of the body that porks gives you. 

They were really good. Especially with the sauce and guacamole over top or even better for some reason, the red roasted chipotle sauce over top.
 ..or both!
My sister wrote and said her pork tamales were so good she almost cried.  The hand of God may have been involved in her Christmas bundles.  I've written about sister's way with food before.  There is a beauty in it, an art.  It the Goldilocks principle, where everything is 'just right'. People have tried to film it in movies like Chocolat or Like Water for Chocolate.  Well, she has it.  And it shows, even in her photos.
 Any seeing man can taste this pork with his eyes....Nothing really can replace the combination of red chile seasoned pork and corn masa.  Like a pepperoni pizza.  It's most popular because it works for a reason.  Look at the shredded meat all moist and gorgeous.  A tablespoon of it is enough to make a tamal sing.
 The masa is the correct texture, wetter than a cookie dough, dryer than a cake batter.
 ...and looky they stand up straight for her. Mine got a little smashed down with my steamer lid.  They are just the right size too.
 ..and she freakin' tied them up, just like they tell you to but I always think, yeah right, no way man, there are dozens of these babies.  But she did it.  She took that time and made them special.
Sister is awesome and I knew her tamales would be too.  
I miss her so much.  This was a way to share the holiday across the miles with a good memory food, making it with love and attention like our mom used to do and making lots of others happy along the way.  

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