Chelsea made the first tamale I’ve ever eaten. Trader Joe’s made the second one I ever ate which, while good, wasn’t even in the same ball park as the ones Chelsea made. The third time I ate a tamale I made them myself and couldn’t figure out why I thought they were so complicated that I waited years to do it. In October I got the hankering for tamales and knew that Chelsea would love to do that with me.
We used the cookbook “Tamales 101” by Alice Guadalupe Tapp for reference but didn’t follow any of her recipes. It’s an awesome little book and if you want to learn to make tamales and are scared to try it – this book will take all the fear out of it. Plus, cool pictures, great husk folding instructions, and lots of inspiration for coming up with your own recipes.
I love that the book includes meat, vegetarian, AND vegan recipes.
Chelsea made a cilantro pesto using pepitas, no cheese, garlic, cilantro, oil, and salt and pepper. The winter squash ended up having no discernible flavor in the tamales but nutritionally I think it was a good ingredient to include. We used pink banana squash but there are other varieties with a more robust flavor. Black beans were the protein we used and we added three pickled jalapenos in each one. These are the jalapenos I made this year. Chelsea doesn’t eat dairy and I don’t eat meat, so we made these completely vegan.
They were very good. When I steamed mine at home I steamed them too long and dried out the tamale dough. For the dough we used vegetable stock, chilled (hardened) olive oil, and some squash. I have to admit that I liked my dough made with butter a little better. The cilantro pest was amazing in these – gave them a really nice herby flavor and the jalapenos added both heat and a tangy finish.
I don’t intend to wait another two years to make these again. I want to make more in the next couple of weeks. I just have to figure out what filling I want to try next. If I come up with something really good that’s my own creation I’ll be sure to share it with you here. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a recipe.
I’m going to end every post with a link to my novel because I need people to buy it so I can become a full time paid novelist. If you haven’t bought a copy yet – go buy it! It’s a great book about a small town apothecary who gets herself in a lot of trouble when her father dies. It includes an old inarticulate distiller who makes amazing pickles and cured meats. The book is available in e-book format only but will soon be available in trade paper and hard back versions.