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Friday, November 26, 2010

Got Tamale?

Hurrah! Today, my friends, the Terrys held a tamale making party. There was quite a crowd when I arrived late. Bugger! Though I recieved their invite I had immediately lost it - electronically! Yes - I am now clever enough to misplace things in 2 different mediums.

'Little Terry' was heading up the tamale making when I arrived

All were already busy getting the masa meal on to the corn husks. Some used dinner knives, but many used a new implement of destruction! Genuine, 'Texas Rolling Pins'. I actually saw the things and assumed at first that the Terrys found a new use for spackling tools. Nope, they were just using the latest development in the long history of tamale making.

Using a handy dandy "Texas Rolling Pin" to spread the corn masa

There were so many of us there were 3 work stations

Big Terry was the lead tamale maker. She also set the theme for the party by buying and designing the 'Got Tamale?' aprons we wore. She designed the logo on her computer, then the patches on our aprons. All the Terrys guests got one of the cool & official cook's aprons. I told her I can't wait to steal her ideas for some future hen party.

Soon enough there were piles and piles of masa spread corn husks covering all available surfaces - it was time for some stuffing! Pre-party, the Terrys prepared tray after tray of pork in a lucious green 'verde' sauce. The next step was spooning the pork and sauce onto the husks and folding them. Big Terry gave us all a demo of the method. I learned to roll tamales by a different method at a Nancy & Rick tamale party last January. So it was remedial tamale training for me to get used to not rolling and securing the tamales using a strip of husk to tie the tamales shut. Happily I got over that and was soon stuffin', foldin' and pilin' with the best of them.

The tamales piled up pretty quickly

Before long there were humongous piles of Texas roll 'em and hold 'em tamales, all ready for the next step. Terry put HUGE steamer pots on the stove. She put pennies in the bottom of the steamers so she could hear the pennies bopping around and know there was still water in the steamer bottoms - another clever idea for me to remember. The pork tamales needed to steam for up to two hours.

Loading tamales into the steamers

OH NO! A Problem - sort of... we were out of the green chile verde pork meat but we still had loads of masa spackled corn husks. What to do? I think it was little Terry's idea, or someone's to make dessert tamales. Soon, Little Terry was thawing large bags of frozen blueberries and Big T was making a nice cinnamon and quesso cheese mix for mixing the berries in.

Lots of hands make light loads - or some such - soon the blueberry/queso dessert tamales were complete.

We all realized that if we waited for all the tamales we made to get steamed, we were going to be camping out at the Terry's home until the wee hours. So! It was time to bag up pork and desert tamales for everyone to take home. We could all take our tamales home and steam them for ourselves. Shucks! I had to get home before dark to lock my hens in their run so the local wild raccoons wouldn't also have a tasty treat to look forward to.

Bagging up the tamales at the end of the day

Before I knew it I was on my way home with a tamales my precious bag o' tamales. That was such a nice way to spend the day-after-thanksgiving. Really, from the shared stories of the participants, it was easy to tell we all really needed something fun to get our minds of the economy and onto more pleasant things like spending time with new and old buddies.

P.S. Just tried my first chili verde pork and blueberry queso tamales: YUM! Honestly, they are savory and succulent. Tamales are well on their way to being one of my favorite foods.

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