Monday, February 2, 2009

Salsa Superbowl

It is a tradition in our family to get together on special occasions. We gather for holiday celebrations, birthdays, weddings, reunions, etc. throughout the year. This weekend a bunch of us spent quality time together for a couple of reasons.

Saturday was the birthday of one of my nieces (Kayloni) on my husband's side of the family. Thirteen of us journeyed to Idaho Falls to enjoy a fabulous dinner at one of our favorite restaurants: Chili’s. A good time was had by all. ;)

As we enjoyed a luscious dinner, we decided it would fun to put together homemade tamales and chips complete with fancy green salsa for Sunday dinner the next day. I’m sure it was just a fluke that this dinner coincided with what some people call the Super Bowl. ;) Since we were all together anyway and we did eventually have to consume food, we figured it would be great fun to create fun dishes for everyone's benefit.

Here is a documentary of the process we endured\enjoyed as we put this dinner together:
First, my noble brother-in-law, Curt, tidied the kitchen so we could dirty it all up again. We appreciated his efforts on our behalf. =D

Next, we cleared off the bar in my sister-in-law's (Jackie's) kitchen, sterilized the surface, then cut up a large bag of corn tortillas into triangles to make our own chips. We used a cutting board and a pizza cutter for this process, then left them to dry before we deep fried them.

While they were drying, we made up the tamales. We began by soaking the corn husks in a sink full of water. You can buy bags of corn husks in any grocery store. Soaking them in water for a little bit helps them become pliable when you use them to make up the tamales.

As these corn husks soaked, we browned the hamburger for the filling. Then we added taco seasoning to make things tasty. We placed the seasoned hamburger, refried beans, and cans of chopped green chilies into the blender and made up a delicious hamburger paste.

Next, we mixed up the tamale dough. Using a mix we purchased at a local store, we added all of the other needed ingredients to form the dough. When it looked like this, we covered it with a towel to keep things moist.

Now the real fun began. We dried off the corn husks and began to spread a thin layer of the tamale dough over each husk. It's a bit like spreading peanut butter on bread. ;) Jackie and her two beautiful daughters, Cassi and Cori, helped me with the process. We formed an assembly line, with part of us spreading the dough, as others placed a strip of the hamburger paste in the center of the dough.

The final step was to fold each completed "husk" so it was ready to be steamed. I'm sure there are a variety of ways to do this. We fold each side of the tamale dough over top of the meat strip to form a nice looking tamale, making sure we sealed the ends:

Then we folded the husk, beginning with the ends. We folded them up over the tamale, then rolled the husk up on the sides to form a neat looking package:

The next step involved placing all of our tamales (we made around 32) inside a juicer that also works great to steam foods. Since these tamales have to steam for an hour to cook, we like using the juicer since it's an easy way to accomplish our goal. =)

We made up green salsa for the tamales. We had purchased tomatillos, Annaheim and jalapeno peppers, onions, cilantro, & garlic paste for this adventure. After carefully washing the tomatillos (we removed the husk from each one first) we placed them in boiling water for just shy of two minutes. You never want to overcook the tomatillos or they ruin the salsa by tasting bitter. I'm just saying . . . ;) Then when they're cooked, you throw everything into a food processor and mix it all together with a dash of salt. This makes extremely yummy stuff that looks like this:

We placed it in the fridge to cool so the flavors could "marry" and began frying up the chips which were now dry. I forgot to mention that we had flipped all of those chips over to dry on the other side before we fried them. It's crucial to let them dry out---it makes for crisper chips and less chance of the oil splashing when you add them to the Fry-daddy. =D

It doesn't take very long to cook up each batch, and you place them inside something layered with paper towels to absorb any oil that might have latched onto the finished product.

Yummy!!! =) We were now ready to feast, and we did. A good time was once again had by all. I heartily endorse gathering together with family members to celebrate special occasions. Even if we sometimes invent reasons to celebrate, it's still a lot of fun. =D


Doran & Jody said...

Oh man oh man. Can I just order all this from you?

Cindy Beck said...

Looks yummy! Even if you (like me)don't enjoy watching sports on TV, you can still celebrate with yummy foods, watch the commercials ... and let the GUYS watch the game! :)

Cheri J. Crane said...

Jody, they're easier than they look. ;)Just a little time-consuming. If you ever want the recipes, just let me know. =D

Cindy, you said, it. =)Words to live by. =D

Dannyel Crane said...

It was absolutely delicious! I am still feeling bad about not helping. I was not feeling well that day and just got to enjoy the fruits of your labors. Thanks for sharing your talents!

Cheri J. Crane said...

Dannyel, you brought over scrumptious food to add to our bounty. Those chicken wings and the fish were wonderful. =) Not to mention the dip, etc. It all made for a fun party. Hope you're feeling better. =)

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Wow, wow. I've never made this yummy stuff before. I'm going to have to try it all! The most ambitious I get is making tortillas.

Cheri J. Crane said...

Nancy, making tortillas takes quite an effort. Way cool. Maybe sometime we'll have to have a south of the border party, and let everyone make their favorite treats. =)