Tag Archives: homemade

Tamales, estilo Ranchero!

28 Jun

My husband and mother-in-law and sister-in-law often complain about the state of tamales these days. “Pura masa”, they often say–all dough, no filling. They just don’t make things like they used to, do they?

We finally decided to take matters into our own hands. Ooh, what a busy, delicious day!

First we had to fatten the rooster. We got him up to 8 pounds.

Here are the ingredients we used:



Then we soaked the dried red chilis in hot water.


We then puréed the chili water mix in the blender. Half we used to marinate the chicken (along with salt and olive oil), and the other half we used to make the dough, or masa.

Here is my mother in law prepping the masa into balls.


Meanwhile, everybody was chopping the vegetables. Leon even got in on the action.



Here’s where it gets really fun and we start assembling the tamales. We did some in banana leaf (preferred by my family because they come out moister), and the rest with corn husk.

You can see a tortilla press in the there. We pressed the dough circles flat onto the leaf or husk, then filled with the ingredients.




Yummy, looking so delicious!!

Then we used strips of palm frond to tie them off. My mother-in-law prefers datil fronds, but no one went out to the desert to harvest any in time.


Now, it’s into the pot! We used a grate on the bottom, filled the bottom with water, and set all the tamales on the grate, and we let them cook for about an hour. Except, when we went to check on them, we were out of gas. So we had to hook up an extra gas tank to the stove. Here’s everyone waiting around for the tamales.






They came out perfect! Now Carlos wants to start a tamale business. Yes yes, in between construction, farming, teaching, and 3 baby boys, I’m sure we will find the time!


Mmmm! Lets make yogurt!

19 Mar

Yogurt is so easy to make at home, and if you have your own milk, there’s no reason to buy it. If you don’t have your own milk, it still might be cheaper to make.

Gather materials
Container that will fit in the crock
Leftover yogurt, at least a half cup
Milk to fill the container

Preheat your oven to the lowest temperature setting and turn it off when it’s about 100. I just guesstimate and it works fine. We want to create a warm environment but not so hot that it kills our cultures.

Heat the milk on the stove until its hot, but you can still stand to put your finger in it.

Put the yogurt in the container and stir the warm milk into it.

Wrap the container with the towel and set it into your crock. I put a lid on the container and the crock.

Leave it all in the warm oven and let it sit for 8-10 hours.

When you come back to check on it, it should be thicker and yogurty but it will likely be rather runny. I put mine in a ketchup bottle and use it as a condiment. I also like to use it in smoothies.

If you like thick Greek yogurt, there’s one more step. Drain it, like you would cheese to get the extra whey out.

Double up your cheese cloth and place it in a colander, and place that in a bowl. Pour your yogurt in there, set a lid on top and leave it all in the fridge for a long time. Check frequently until its the consistency you like.

Of course, there’s a use for that whey! Have you noticed that cooking with real foods is a lot of work because you can’t throw anything away and there ends up being a million sidesteps? We raise our own chickens, so every time we kill a batch, we have to make liver pâté and chicken stock. So back to the whey.

Squeeze a lime into it and a few spoonfuls of sugar and leave it in a covered jar for a few days. Taste until the microbes have eaten some of the sweetness–until it tastes good to you–and then enjoy whey lemonade!