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Friday, November 10, 2017

Tamale Pie

It has been really cold here lately.  We even had snow (twice!) in the last week, which is pretty out of the ordinary for the PNW.  I was craving some tamale pie the other day, and discovered a bag of masa hiding out in my cupboard.  I searched through every cookbook that I had for something mildly authentic, and realized... yeah, tamale pie is probably made up by white people.  :)  Regardless, I persevered!

Tamale Pie: 

1 bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 c. frozen corn
1 can diced tomatoes
Half of a bag of Morningstar Farms crumbles/other fake meat (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
2 c. dry masa
1 3/4 c. water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. salt

In a large pan, heat about 2 tsp. olive oil, or spray the pan with cooking spray.  Cook the onion, pepper, garlic, until they are cooked through and the onion is translucent.  Add the spices, beans, crumbles, tomatoes, and corn, and cook for 10 minutes. 

While the vegetables are cooking, mix together the masa, water, oil, and salt in a small bowl.  Take the pan off of the heat, and add some water if it seems dry, about half a cup.  Sprinkle the cheese on top, and then spoon the masa mixture on top of that.  Try to spread it out a little.  Cook at 350* for 30 minutes, until all of the topping is brown and cooked through.  

Serve with avocado, sour cream. or salsa.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Halloween Candy Houses

Z decided that she wanted to make some houses out of her Halloween candy.  After perusing the internet for some ideas, we decided that the best route was to use graham crackers as the base of the house. and use frosting for glue.  (I wasn't against the idea of using cardboard, but she really wanted to be able to eat everything.)  She drew out a whole plan, and gathered up the ingredients.

First, I made some chocolate frosting with melted chocolate chips, butter, coconut milk, and powdered sugar. (We just did a small amount, so probably about 2 handfuls of chocolate chips and about 2 1/2 Tbsp. of butter.)  Then I experimented with a few ways to get the house to stand up.  I ended up using frosting as cement on the plate, then using a cracker as the base of the house, smushed the 4 sides around it.  It took more effort than I expected!  Then, I let Z start on her house, mostly with decorations.

 After carefully getting the roofs (rooves?) on, they needed a bit more to stay stabilized.  Since we had already unwrapped so much candy, we used some Twix to hold them on.  I threw some sprinkles on mine, and Z looked for ways to make lollipop trees stand up.


Peppermint patties were the perfect size and consistency to act as tree bases.  (and since none of us really like them, it wasn't such a loss.)  The M&Ms were a little too heavy to stay on as decorations, but we persevered!