I made that!

There’s a new tamale lady in town*

Posted in I Like Salt Too by brandi on February 25, 2009

Wow. Tamales.

They’re actually much easier than I anticipated. Which should have been obvious since everything I read about tamale making started with “they’re not as hard as you might think”. Lots of ladies over tonight to celebrate the arrival of Maggie in town. I wanted to make tamales, and was inspired by the local company “Primavera” that makes yummy veggie tamales. I had a butternut squash hanging out in the pantry, just BEGGING to be diced up, so I decided to freestyle a tamale filling with that. While I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming spring veggies (peas!!!), I will miss the trusty old butternut.

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We are very lucky in SF to have tons of great Latin markets, so I didn’t have to look too hard to find fresh masa and banana leaves. I’m not really sure I chose banana leaves, corn husks seem to be more traditional. I was holding both in the store, having a hard tome deciding. It must have been the color of the banana leaves that got me, they’re so shiny and pretty… Anyways, I cut the banana leaves up into what seemed like the right size and smeared on some masa dough.

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I had cooked the butternut with some onions, garlic, chili verde sauce, jalepenos, spices and a few other things that I threw in during a panicked moment of “It doesn’t taste GOOD ENOUGH! Why the f*ck did I decide to use this squash!”

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Around this time everyone showed up and went to work in the tamale factory. They even tied cute little belts on them! Such lovely friends…

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We put them in the steamer and then I realized that it takes 75 minutes of steaming, not 20 minutes. Oooops. So there was lots of waiting. Thank you Leila for bringing chips and salsa. And everyone else for bringing wine and beer! It was enough time for me to spin versions of the evening that ended in mushy, gooey blobs of unappetizing orangeness. At some point Liddy mentioned that tamales were one of her favorite foods and I kept thinking “She’s gonna know that I’m a fraud! What do I know about tamales?”

But it was worth the wait. We ate them on a plate of spicy black beans, with some chunky guacamole, my chipotle creme fraiche, and the fresh queso fresco. A delicious meal it was.

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And of course, there was dessert. I fried up some churros and made a thick mexican hot chocolate for dipping.

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*That only makes sense if you live in San Francisco. We have a nice lady that pushes a cart around the mission bars selling tamales. We love her. But I think my tamales were better.