This is the book I use every year as a source for tamale-making. It is fantastic!
You need to for sure get some masa; I've found mine at pretty much any major grocery store, including Safeway, so it hopefully shouldn't be too hard to find. This year, I made a combination of three types of tamales: green chile/pepperjack, black beans/corn, and olives/tofu in a red chile sauce. My book had a recipe for how to make the sauce, but I decided since the rest was so much work, I would take any shortcut I could get (hence the El Pato tomato sauce up there.)
When buying olives, I usually just get regular, extra large ones. I have never even heard of Colossal olives. Boy, are we in for a treat!
Look how huge these are!I really couldn't believe it either!
Part one: Soaking the corn husks
You will also need to get a package of dried corn husks (hojas). Get a giant pot, put in the corn husks, and fill it with warm to hot water. You will need something heavy to hold down the husks, so find a bowl or mug or something. (see above!) Let them sit in the water for at least 8 hours, up to 24 or so. I usually start this either in the morning when I want to make tamales, or the day before.
Up next? Making tamales!