Monday, November 12, 2012

Hot Pickled Carrots

You know those hot crunchy pickled carrots that they serve in some of the more authentic Mexican restaurants?  Yep, you know what I'm talking about!  The husband brought home a bag of assorted hot peppers last week that a friend had given him.  Just a few I would have grilled, filled with cream cheese and wrapped with bacon (that's another post, my friends), or made into jalepeno jelly, but there were more than I could use, even if I made BOTH of those tasty concoctions.  So I did a little research and came up with the idea to make hot pickled carrots.  I've been toying with the idea for some time, and now I had one of the crucial ingredients. I couldn't come up with a recipe that called for fresh jalepenos, so I used a couple I had found as starting points and charged ahead.  I opened a jar after 4 days, they are wonderful, but hardly spicy at all.  My research told me to remove the seeds and membranes to keep the heat down, but I'm not sure I would do that again.  We like them HOT!!!  Also, I believe that the heat will increase as they age in the jar, but I JUST COULDN'T STAND IT, and had to crack open a jar this morning.  Time will tell.  Here's the recipe--enjoy!!!

Hot Pickled Carrots

5 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into uniform pieces, about 1/4' thick (make the skinny end pieces bigger so that they all cook evenly)
Jalepenos--lots and lots of jalepenos (I think I had about 50-60--including some that had matured to a red color and some that appeared to be habeneros)
2 large sweet onions
12 large cloves of garlic
4 t. dill seed (hard to find--Fred Meyers has it in the bulk spices)
8 cups cider vinegar
8 cups water
2/3 cup canning or Kosher salt

Prepare the vegetables, combining peppers and onions in one bowl.  Layer pepper/onion mix, carrots and another layer of the pepper/onion mix tightly into pint jars.  Add one garlic clove to each jar.
In a large pot, combine vinegar, water, salt and dill seed.  Bring just to a boil, then ladle hot liquid over vegetables, leaving 1/4" headspace.  Slide a table knife down the sides of jars to remove any air bubbles.  Wipe rims of jars and place sterilized lids on each.  Secure with jar rings.  Place in water bath and process for 20 minutes.  Yields 12 pints.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The recipe....finally!

Tamales are labor intensive. Save yourself some grief and make at least the pork ahead of time. It cooks easily in the crock pot, then you can shred it and freeze it in large zip-loc until you're ready to use it.

Pork Filling

4 pound pork loin-I buy a large one at Costco and slice the rest into chops & freeze
Small can of chopped green chiles
1 t. Ground coriander
1 t. Ground cumin
1 medium sweet onin, coarsley chopped

Cook on low in crockpot for 6-8 hours. Reserve liquid for chile sauce.

Chile Sauce

You can make this ahead of time, too. I don't know how it freezes, but it should keep in the refrigerator for at least a week.

3 oz. bag dried New Mexico chiles-at my store, these are called California chile pods-El Guapo brand (buy & add 4-5 Arbol chile pods if you want a little heat)
4 cloves garlic
1/2 t. Coriander
1/2 t. Cumin
1/2 t. Salt
1/2 cup reserved liquid from pork
With gloves on, remove stem ends from chiles and shake as many seeds out as possible. If a lot of seeds remain, break chiles in half and shake out the rest of the seeds. You can rinse under cold water to remove any remaining seeds, but I don't think it' necessary.

Toast the chiles in a large, dry skillet, about 45-60 seconds, just until aroma is released. DO NOT burn them! Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered for about 8 minutes. Take off heat and cool.

In the meantime, place the garlic, spices and reserved liquid in blender, drain the liquid, reserving 1/2 cup. Add the liquid and chiles to the blender. Process until smooth.

The day you are putting them together, soak full package of corn husks for at least an hour. Drain.

Masa Dough

2 lbs corn masa
3 T. Smoky paprika
3 T. Salt
3 T. Cumin seeds-buy these in the Mexican section in the little bags, it's much cheaper
3 T. Chile powder- we used 2 regular & 1 chipotle
2 cups vegetable oil
8 cups chicken broth (2 boxes)

Blend dry ingredients together in a LARGE bowl. Add oil and blend with a wooden spoon until oil has moistened all dry ingredients. Using mixer, blend in broth, about 2 cups at a time until dough is the consistency of thick peanut butter. Most likely you will use all the broth.


Mix chile sauce with meat, adding reserved liquid or water if necessary. Sauce should just coat the meat, but not runny.

Set up your assembly. Corn husks, masa dough, meat mixture, steamer basket.

The corn husks are shaped like triangles. Place about 1/4 cup masa on one side of the wide part of the husk and spread evenly. Place 2-3 tablespoons of the meat mixture in the middle of the masa. Roll the husk up lengthwise, ending on the side that has no masa. Then fold the top down. You can tear off thin strips of the husk and tie the ends if you want. Place the tamales in the steamer, open side up. Fill the steamer a little loosely--the masa will expand. Steam for about 2 hours. The masa will be fairly firm to touch when done--take one out and let it sit for a bit before you check it. Be careful not to run the steamer out of water!

*note: one of the most difficult parts of the tamale making process was finding the right kind of steamer. You will need one that allows you to stand the tamales upright in the basket to steam.

Gringa Tamales

I've been putting off posting my tamale recipe because it is complicated and I want to make sure I get it right. In November 2010, we visited the Mayan Riviera in Mexico with our good friends Debbie, Butch, Sandi & Mike. Of course, we ate a ton of really good food. When Christmas rolled around, we decided to try to make tamales for our Christmas dinner. I had been thinking about trying to make them and collecting various recipes for quite some time, so I gathered the recipes and set about combining them into a tasty, but easy version. That first year, they were well received, so last Christmas we decided to make them again. This time, of course, we had the basics down pat and tweaked the recipe a bit. Today, Deb and I are making them again, joined by our good friend DeNise. DeNise has been bugging us to make them and her BUSY schedule is finally allowing us all a day in the kitchen. Deb cooked the pork ahead of time and shredded it, so this morning we made the chile sauce and the masa dough. We're now just waiting for DeNise to show up with the makings for ceviche (YUM!!!).