Cooking Together

Nicole has turned into a good cook and more importantly, she seems to enjoy it more than she once did. 

We’ve madeEnchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas

We’ve made the tamales that I’ve already shown here.

Tamales

Tamales

We’ve made homemade pasta and fresh tomato sauce.

Pasta

Pasta

We made pork stroganoff twice.

Pork Stroganoff

Pork Stroganoff

I didn’t take a picture, but we also made Meat Lovers’ Quiche and it was delicious. This would be an easy dish to make ahead (meats) and then add the eggs and milk mixture at the last minute, and serve for breakfast when you have company. Sorry I didn’t take a picture!

Again, no photo but we made tomato soup and it was also good. Chad probably had never had homemade tomato soup and even though he thought he wasn’t going to like it, he did.

Tonight we’re having the pork chop dish that I make often and then . . my cooking with Nicole will end. Back to me cooking in my kitchen and Nicole cooking in her kitchen!  

 

My Favorite Flour

My favorite flour is not easy to find and when I find it, I buy all I can find. This time . . it was 50 pounds of Wheat Montana flour.

Wheat Montana Flour

Wheat Montana Flour

The Walmarts in my area don’t carry this and even the Walmarts in the area surrounding Nevada don’t carry it. The Walmart in Nevada is the only place I can ever find Wheat Montana flour.

I’ve taken an empty bag to my local Walmart and asked them to get it but they say it isn’t in their distribution center so I’m out of luck.  I’m ok using a couple of other flours but Wheat Montana has been my favorite for several years and I sure am happy to have a little supply of it .. while it lasts.

Tamale Making Day – Practice

Before we have our “official” tamale making day on September 12, I had wanted to try the recipe and make sure everything was good – not that I didn’t expect it to be. Since I only make tamales once or twice a year, there were some things I remembered that I wanted to tell you before you start.

As a reminder, we’ll basically be following the recipe from Pressure Cooking Today. We made a double batch, which I probably wouldn’t recommend if you’ve never made tamales. With the two of us working, we didn’t get started til a little after 9 this morning and then we were done, had them steamed and cooling down before noon, so it wasn’t bad at all.

My tamales are probably smaller than the average tamale  .. Vince eats 3 and I eat 2, but we made 86 tamales total. We put them up for Chad and Nicole, in vacuum seal bags, in bundles of 7 or 8, depending on the size of the tamale (mine are not very uniform). We put up 10 bags in the freezer for Chad and Nicole and we had them for lunch.

The recipe from Pressure Cooking Today is delicious. I wouldn’t change anything about the ingredients.

Here are a few tips and I’ll try to remember to bring these up again before we start our tamale making on September 12.

  1. For the spices, if you like food on the mild side, you may want to use less of the chipotle chili powder. Nicole doesn’t like spicy at all and it wasn’t too hot for her but it was close.
  2. For the meat, the Pressure Cooking Today recipe says to shred with forks. I do that but then I put it in a zipper bag and leave it overnight. The next morning, I put the meat in the Kitchen Aid mixer and with the whisk attachment, add a little of the cooking liquid from the meat. It doesn’t make the meat like ground meat but it makes it more of a consistency that I like.
  3. When folding the tamales, be sure that they’re short enough to fit in the pressure cooker basket. In my photo below, you’ll see that some of mine were not very uniform.
  4. If, while folding a tamale, the wrapper tears, simply wrap it in a second wrapper and keep going.
  5. If your tamales fit in the pressure cooker, this probably isn’t an issue but I like to turn mine sideways in vacuum seal bags so I don’t like to make them too tall.
  6. As far as spreading the masa mixture, to the 4 cups masa, I added 2 cups of cooking liquid and 1 cup of warm water. I do not strain my cooking liquid. Since I’m using the mixer, the cooked onions, and any meat remnants get shredded and add flavor to the masa mixture. A bit more liquid was added and the description . . “loose cookie dough consistency” is a good one. Nicole and I spread our masa with a butter knife and even though she had never made the tamales before, she had no trouble getting it perfect.

We cooked the meat the night before, removed it from the liquid, placed both in the fridge til the next morning.

Tamale Meat

Tamale Meat

Here’s how we spread our masa:

Tamales

Tamales

Here’s how we added the meat:

Tamales

Tamales

Here they are in the pressure cooker. We were using both of our cookers.

Tamales

Tamales

Out of the cooker:

Tamales

Tamales

All vacuum sealed and ready for the freezer.

Vacuum Sealed

Vacuum Sealed

If you’re wondering why some of them look white, it’s because of steam/fog inside the bags. Some were cooler than others when they got bagged up.

They didn’t take that long to make, they are so delicious and we had fun together.

Making Tamales

Making Tamales

By the way, there was a local place selling tamales for $13/dozen. We figured they cost us less than $4/dozen to make and we paid full price for the meat. If we had been able to get the meat on sale, we could easily have made them for $3 per dozen. Granted, mine are probably a bit smaller than the ones being sold but there’s no way, even if I had made bigger ones, that it would have cost over $7/dozen to make them.