Thursday, June 3, 2010

Beginning a Tradition

Dan and I have talked for such a long time about making Tamales. We have also talked many times about creating family traditions to have as our family grows up. Dan used to make tamales with his family every Christmas. They have since lost this tradition and we keep talking about starting it up again.

Memorial Day began and we had no plans. The weather did not look too promising, and we laid in bed reading books and tickling and talking for a long time. Luka had a sleepless Saturday and Sunday and it seemed that she would be catching up on her sleep for Memorial Day. She went down for an early nap, and Dan said... "hey we should make tamales! I'll run to the store and get the ingredients." I was penned with cleaning the kitchen after our delicious breakfast, while he shopped.

He came home with all the fixings. My mouth was watering already! We researched a few recipes online and in an old Mexican Cookbook I have from the 40's. We did a combo of them but mostly followed this recipe. We added a few things to suit our own tastes--------

We ended up getting a 3 hour nap out of Luka! Dan and I enjoyed an unusual morning of working together to craft these tamales, with out interruption from a little one.  It was so pleasant, fun, and something that we both miss - time for just us. You know, us?? The people who are making this family. Oh yea, we still exist. We got the meat boiling and the peppers softened. By the time Luka awoke, we had a break in the cooking action that was coupled by a break in the clouds and some actual SUNSHINE!! We took off to the park and a visit to Grandma.

Luka decided one nap was not enough and she went back down for another 2+ hour nap when we got home. We put her down, and set back in the kitchen working hand in hand. Making Chile Sauce, making the Masa, and shredding the pork. We shared some laughs, and talked, and really were able to enjoy the company of one another. I enjoy so much being able to work together on projects with Dan. He's a great teammate, and it's so easy to talk while we work. We really do work well together, and both love being productive. It was wonderful to have an experience like this to reinforce our relationship.

The Chile Sauce came out great, the meat made the house smell amazing, and the corn from the Masa really made me think of the smells of dinner time in my neighborhood as a kid. I grew up in Southern California and the streets at night had a very distinct smell of tortillas on the stove. It's one of those things that you suddenly realize one day is ingrained in you. It took a trip back to that town for the smell of cooking Mexican food, and the smell of Eucalyptus trees reconnect me with my childhood in a new way.

The recipe made enough meat for 30+ tamales, but we fell short on the Masa dough for some reason. I had to borrow ingredients from the neighbor so we could make another batch of the dough. (another thing I love to do.... silly I know, but it makes me feel safe to know that my neighbors are there for me in my times of need, however small.)

By the time we were done rolling the tamales, we had some meat left over, and we made taquitos for dinner with it. I am not quite sure how there was any meat after all the bites we took as we made them! Infact, I had to wake Dan from a small food coma over the tacos we made so that he could try some of the tamales once they finished.

We took the tamales to Amy, Phil and Else for dinner the next night. They were heaven. Good company, delicious food, and happy babies. Life does not get any better.

Thanks for reading my most giant blog ever.