Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We're So White

There are times, living in Southern California, that I feel a part of my diverse environment.  There are so many cultures represented by houses of worship, languages, schools, and restaurants.  I'm grateful that Thatbaby will grow up in a place where he's exposed to people from all walks of life.

And then there are times where I realize that despite the diversity, I am as white as white can be.

Like when the inlaws come to visit.

Or when I attempt to make tamales for the first time. 

Because what does a white girl do when she can't find corn husks?  She gringo-fies those tamales.


Aluminum foil.  It's like the duct tape of the kitchen.  And for my first time making tamales - these came out really well!  And they keep well, so they make an excellent dinner alternative for Thatbaby when Thatboy and I have something spicy on our plates.

Black Bean Tamales (From Cate's World Kitchen)
1 8 ounce package of corn husks (I obviously used aluminum foil)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp chile powder
1 cup dried black beans
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups water
1/2 cup diced or shredded jack cheese (cut into 1/4″ cubes)
Tomatillo Sauce:
4 large tomatillos
2 cloves garlic
1 poblano pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups masa harina
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chile powder

  1. If you're using corn husks, completely submerge them in water and  soak for 12 hours.  (If you use aluminum foil, you can skip this step, since soaking foil in water doesn't make it any more pliable) 
  2. Make the beans - combine the garlic, onion, oregano, chile powder, black beans, salt, and water in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Stir the cheese into the beans and set aside.
  4. Make the tomatillo sauce - Broil tomatillos, garlic, and poblanos until black and blistered.  
  5. Place poblanos in a brown paper bag for 10 minutes, then peel off the skin and remove the seeds.
  6. Place poblanos, tomatillos, garlic, cilantro, and salt in a food processor and puree.
  7. Stir 1 cup of the puree into the beans, and save the rest to serve with the tomatillos.
  8. Make the masa - Combine the masa harina, shortening, 2 cups of broth, chile powder and salt and mix well. 
  9. Make the tamales - place a corn husk (or rectangle of aluminum foil) on your work surface with the narrow end toward you.  
  10. Pat 1/4 cup of masa into a 3-4" square in the center of the husk or foil. Spoon 1-2Tbsp of bean mixture in a line down the middle of the masa square.  Fold the sides of the husk/foil in, then fold the bottom up.  
  11. If using the husks, tear a strip off one of the husks and tie around the tamale.  If using foil, just pinch it closed.
  12. Place a steamer basket in a large pot over an inch or so of water and bring the water to a boil.  Stand the tamales up vertically in the steamer basket.  Cover the pot with a lid and steam for 15-20 minutes. 


  1. This looks yummy. It is too early, in the morning, for me to be looking at such good food. Now, I am hungry.

  2. I never have any idea where to find corn husks either so I feel your whiteness. I love your quick fix though! Husk-finding has always been the limiting step in me making tamales...but not anymore!