Posts tagged friends
Tamales for a Crowd
Delicious Tamales! 
Friends came over and we made tamales. We drank Margaritas and there was talking, laughing and of course tamales.

I called this Columbusing a little. To Columbus something is actively tell a person from not your culture that you can make their food better than they can; that your food is more authentic. Sounds awful, huh? 

We didn't do that because that would be wrong but sadly I didn't have an experienced tamale maker in my friend group, so I thought watch some videos and make it happen. This is what we did. 

1 8 pound pork butt or shoulder
salas or the stuff to make salsa 
Ancho chili powder

Cook the pork a day ahead in a crock pot. Don't be shy about salt and seasoning. When it is fork tender 8 to 10 hours later cool and shred. After shredding pour the crock pot liquid over the pork and refrigerate until needed.

Tamale Dough
1.33 cups lard or shortening or a combination
4 cup masa
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
2.66 cups broth or water, broth is better
1 big bag of corn husks

Soak the corn husks overnight or heat in simmering water for an hour. 

Whip the fat until it's aerorated. In a second container combine the masa, salt, baking powder, cumin and chili powder. Into the lard add 1/3 the flour, then 1/2 the broth, scrape the sides between every addition. Continue add the flour and broth in parts until it's all combined. Whip a minute or two longer. It's suggested to cool the mixture an hour then whip it before using. 

Put the corn husk cut side to the top. Spread about a quarter cup of masa onto the husk, it will feel like cookie batter.  3x3 about an inch from the top edge. Put a strip of filling down the middle. Fold over both sides like swaddling a baby, then fold up the top. Tie around the middle, tight enough to hold together but not synched around the middle like a belt. The tamale will expand as it cooks. 

Set the sanding on end, top open in a steamer. Steam covered for 75-90 minutes. Check for doneness by pulling one out of the steamer, opening it and touching the masa for firmness.

I made the dough 4 times to use all the pork and it made about 100 tamales. That's the crowd part, because seriously who is going to eat them all? 

Mussels with Fennel and Cream - Cooking Club
Mussels, Rosemary Flatbread, Zucchini Salad

I've gain entry into a cooking club.

Doesn't that sound exclusive? Really, I put a request out on the facebook neighborhood page to start a club and some like minded people showed interest. We had our first to do and it was a smashing success.

Our main dish was Mussels with Fennel and it was creamy and oh so good. We as a nation should do fennel so much more. We made a quick Rosemary Flat Bread, because we are doing this after work and making a yeast bread seemed to be too time consuming. Plus we made a zucchini salad. Of the three the mussels were the hit.

Frankly it all could have tasted like soap and I'd still be saying it was fantastic because the company was delightful and the conversation non-stop. I will happily spend more time with this group. So yeah!

Mussels with Fennel

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 shallots, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
0.50 teaspoon salt
1 bulb of fennel, about a cup and half
2 cups white wine
3 pounds mussels
1.5 cup heavy cream

Clean the mussels. Discard any broken or dead, opened mussels. Knock them together just in case they are sleeping with their shells open. Remove the beard. In a large bowl soak the mussels in water to which a couple tablespoons of water has been added. Change the water a few times.

In a skillet which has a tight fitting lid, saute the shallots and garlic. When it they are fragrant and soft add the fennel seeds. Let cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bulb and salt and cook 15 minutes letting the fennel get a little color. Add the white wine and and reduce down by half or more. You can off the heat and wait until everything else is ready to serve at this point. The mussels go quickly now.

With medium-high heat add the mussels and cover with the lid. After 5 minutes stir and check to see if any are still unopened. Stir and return the lid for 3 more minutes or until all the mussels are open. Add the cream and stir. Bring the pan to light boil, basting the mussels with the pan sauce.

Serve immediately with wine and new friends.
A Few Hours = Many Days Payoff
PHOTO BY: kikisdad

So many wonderful people traveled to participate in Egg Day.

I am genuinely grateful that people shared their time with me.

Jill came from Portland, well not for Egg Day, but she happened to be in town and we took the opportunity to catch up. Lee came up from Cincinnati, Yellow Springs was represented and my brother traveled over an hour to be there. I was touched by everyone generosity with their time and effort to attend.

And then yesterday morning a wonderful thing happened at work. Dave, a co-worker who came to Egg Day, made a point to come to my office in part to thank me for the nice time, which is lovely, also to praise my friend's child's behavior.

He noted that the child who is 10 did very well being patient with my 7 year old. Also that she was generally pleasant and interesting. High praise indeed for any 10 year old. I in turn, passed the nice words to my friend Liz, the child's mother, along with thanking her for sharing part of her day with me.

At the same time Kim sent me an email gushing all manner of kindness but particularly said something sweet about Gena. Of course I had to share with Gena the kind sentiments because what good is a compliment that goes unshared? Considering Gena is on the hunt for new employment she was particularly delighted to know she was able to make such a good first impression. Also, who doesn't like to hear nice things about themselves?

Anyway, there was just a whole host of cascading joy from Egg Day.

Even today, two days later, I'm basking in the glow of positive juju that was intentionally created Sunday.

Really good things across the board. I'm very much looking forward to Egg Day in August. It's the 23rd, so mark your calendar now. I'll be making sausage gravy and biscuits again. If you can't make it, we'll see you September.