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Tamal de Fresa (Strawberry Tamales) {she made, ella hace}

Tamales.  I like 'em.  I like eating them.  Sometimes I even like making them.  I'll usually go for a pork bathed in red chile sauce or pulled chicken in a salsa verde.  Toast 'em up on the comal and add a shmear of crema.  Doesn't get much better than that.  So, when Leslie and I decided that we were going to talk about tamales for this month's edition of she made, ella hace, I decided I wanted to change things up a bit.  Go sweet.  

I don't usually...okay ever...make sweet tamales because hubby always seems less than enthused when I mention them.  He's not much for the ones with raisins and nuts in them.  So, I decided to make a small batch and put him to the test.  All hot air?  My guess was yes.  I was seconds away from making a bright green lime version, but at the last minute I went with strawberry.  That's just what I was feeling that day.  Ah, who am I kidding.  Hubby loves strawberry anything.  That had something to do with it.
I was on the look-out for some pink masa...or some blue masa...but short of grinding my own, there was none to be found.  I would have loved to find some pink- can you imagine the glorious color when you peel back the corn husks?  I can.  And even though I knew it would turn my strawberry tamales purple, I decided on using blue masa.  Well.  Sort of.  I had blue cornmeal and I poured it into the blender and ground it up as fine as I could get it.  Then I went half and half with white masa.  And purple was indeed what I wound up with.

They were good...but they weren't my favorite.  And it wasn't the color.  I don't know what it was really.  I'm trying a lime version next time.  Oh, as for my prediction.  Hubby being all hot air and such.  Do I know him or what?  He ate them all minus the couple I ate.  He took them to work and shared them.  He gave me (what I consider to be) the ultimate compliment.  After his first bite, he said "I'm back in Mexico".  

So really, it's all a matter of personal tastes.  What are your feelings on sweet tamales?
Tamal de Fresa (Strawberry Tamales)

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 30-45 minutes
Cook Time: 1-1½ hours
Keywords: steam snack dessert vegetarian masa strawberries Christmas Dia de los Muertos Mexican

Ingredients (~2 dozen)
  • 30+ dried cornhusks
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries
  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 8 oz. (1 c.) butter, at room temperature
  • ½ c. vegetable shortening
  • 1 c. superfine sugar
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 2 c. masa harina (white, blue, pink or a mixture)
  • 1¼ c. whole milk, at room temperature
Rinse cornhusks under cold water. Place them in a deep dish or bowl and cover with boiling water and put a plate or something else on top to keep them submerged. Let sit for at least 30 minutes or until soft.

Wash and dry the strawberries. Remove the stems and place in a bowl. Mash with a potato masher, but leave them a bit chunky. Stir in vanilla and salt. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine butter, shortening, sugar, and baking powder. Mix with paddle attachment until very creamy. Add masa harina and mix well (it should look like coarse meal). Continue to mix, adding a bit of the milk and alternating with the mashed strawberries until fully combined.

Drain the cornhusks and scoop about ¼ cup of the batter in each husk, spreading it around with your fingers or the back of a spoon, leaving at least an inch all the way around and a little bit more on the long sides. Fold one of the long sides toward the center, and then fold the other long side on top. Tuck the exposed sides underneath and tie with a thin strip of husk. If your husks seem too small, overlap two of them to make a large wrapper.

Fill a steamer pot with enough hot water to almost touch the steam tray. Cover bottom of tray with leftover cornhusks and arrange tamales vertically, standing them open-side up so that they rest against one another. Cover with any remaining leaves or scraps. Put on the lid and cook over medium heat until the tamales slide out of the wrappers, ~1-1½ hours. Add more boiling water to the bottom of the pot as needed (you don't want it to all evaporate).

Serve warm. The tamales can be cooled and stored in freezer, wrapped tightly, for up to 3 months.
slightly adapted from My Sweet Mexico by Fany Gerson
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I almost went savory and shared these Tamales Verde with you today.  Really, they're pretty basic.  Cooked, shredded chicken thighs tossed in a charred salsa verde, wrapped in masa, rolled and steamed.  Serve 'em with extra salsa verde and you're good to go!  Tamales for dinner and dessert.

And honestly, can you ever really have too many tamales?  I think not.  On that note, why not head on over and visit Leslie.  She made some tamales de puerco I know you'll want to add to your plate!
What happens when two American girls who are both married to Mexican guys find out that although one of them lives in the U.S. and one of them lives in Mexico, they both love eating the same food?  Well, naturally they decide to get "together" the only way they can and cook up the same dishes.  Or perhaps take the same ingredients and talking about them in their own voice or using them in their own way. 

Leslie and I have teamed up to occasionally cook/bake/make a our own versions of the same food.  We want to see how similar (or how different) they turn out.  Other times we will pick an ingredient and use it however we choose...or maybe just talk about it.  Good food knows no borders and we hope to share the food we love with you.  It's not a competition, it's a showcase.  We will post on the same day as each other and would love to hear your thoughts on what we've made and how you make it. 

Join me (here at girlichef) and Leslie in her kitchen (at La Cocina de Leslie) for some delicious food.
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crazy sweet tuesday sweet treats thursday SweetToothFriday sweets for a saturday Miz- Helen-Badge-ALT5 foodfriday