Monday, December 23, 2013

Homemade Marshmallows and an Unsuccessful Attempt at Crocheting

So.. My sister tried to crochet a scarf for her boyfriend this year for Christmas. She procrastinated and put it off until about last week. (She had never crochet anything in her life lol). She had so much trouble, that I decided to step in and help her. I didn't want to finish it, but at least get her going.

We got halfway through the scarf and realized it was not going to be long enough. (He's over 6ft tall.) The scarf was long enough for my 4'10" sister haha! 

This was definitely a problem, being that Christmas was only 2 weeks ago. She was at a loss for what to give him. So we took to Pinterest to brainstorm. She decided to decorate and oven bake mugs with their names on them. I'll definitely have to give it a try sometime. :)

This story is going somewhere, I promise. ;)

With the mugs she decided to add hot cocoa, coffees, and teas. My husband thought it would be a nice touch to add marshmallows, however he forgets how crazy we get with a project. Right away we knew we would have to attempt our own. It was actually pretty easy and I don't ever think I will buy store bought ones again!

I won't bore you with all the steps, but I do promise it was easy. Here is the recipe.





Friday, December 20, 2013

Authentic New Mexican Tamales

This year my husband begged me to attempt tamales --He even promised to help with them :) since the ones found here in Las Vegas are nothing like the ones you find back home. There's nothing like New Mexican red chile. 

I was pretty nervous to try again since like I mentioned before our tamales with our mom did not come out good. I set out to find an authentic New Mexican tamale recipe online and also asked my mother-in-law how her family makes theirs. With her input and an awesome recipe I found online we made our first batch of Red Chile Pork Tamales.

Coley and I had a pretty heated debate whether we should use chile powder or chile pods, but other than that everything went pretty smooth. :)

First I put a 3lb. Pork roast in the crockpot over night. You could put it to boil in a large pot as well. Once it is fully cooked drain juices into a large bowl or cup. (Do NOT throw broth away, you will use it later). Shred pork into a large bowl.

Gather ingredients to make the tamale masa. During this time you should wash off corn husks and put them to soak in a large bowl or pot of hit water. (Soak them until they are pliable and easy to fold).

Cream lard using paddle attachment.

Using your hands gently combine lard and corn masa mixture until grainy looking.

Slowly add in broth and knead until masa is formed. 

Next add the pork into a large pot and add chile powder to taste. (You may need to add water if mixture is to thick. However, it should not be runny). 

Next fill a large boiler pot with water, and put to boil. 

Prepare your workspace, with masa, meat, and corn husks. 

Spread about 2-3 tablespoons masa onto a large cornhusk. (Or place 2 smaller ones together). 

Place about 1-2 tablespoons of meat onto the center of masa and then fold in half length wise until masa on right and left side touch (like a taco). Then fold husk over each other  on right and left side. Then fold top and bottom down. You can tie with a strip of corn husk to keep it closed.

Put tamales to steam in pot. They should take about 45 minutes and will seem uncooked when finished. Leave them to set for about 20-30 minutes.


Tamales (Chile, Meat, Cornmeal-filled Corn Husks)
Yield: 5-6 dozen Steaming Time: 45 minutes Freezes Well 

Corn Husks 
Chile con Carne para Tamales* 

*Recipes below

Assembling Tamales
1. Rinse corn husks and soak in warm water until pliable.
2. Spread the center portion of each husk with 2 tablespoons of masa mixture. Top with 1 tablespoon* of chile-meat filling.
3. Fold the sides of the husk toward the center, the bottom of the husk up, and the top down. Tie each tamale with a corn husk strip.
4. Pour 2 inches of water into a large steamer. Arrange tamales on a rack in steamer above the water level. 5. Steam tamales for 45 minutes (Longer at high altitudes. May also be steamed in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes at 15 pounds pressure.)
* Varied amounts may be used.

Masa(Cornmeal Mixture)
Yield: Filling for 5-6 dozen tamales 

6 cups masa harina* 
 2 cups lard 
3 1/2 cups warm water 
2 teaspoons salt approximately 

1. Combine the Masa Harina and water in a large mixing bowl to make masa. Set aside.
2. Cream the lard and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl using a mixer at medium speed.
3. Add the creamed lard to the masa and mix well.
* Six cups commercially prepared masa may be substituted and the water omitted. Masa Harina is available in the cereal section of most grocery stores.

Chile Con Carne Para Tamales (Chile-Meat Filling)
Yield: Approximately 6 cups Cooking Time: Approximately Temperature: Medium 45 minutes 

1 1/2 pounds beef or pork, 
 2 cups meat broth stewed and shredded 
 1/2 teaspoon salt 
2 tablespoons lard 
 1/8 teaspoon oregano 
1 tablespoon flour 
 1/4 teaspoon comino 
1/2 cup Red Chile Powder* 
 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt 
 1. Combine meat and lard in a large skillet and fry meat at medium heat until browned. 
2. Add the flour to meat and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. 
3. Add the chile powder, broth, and seasonings to the meat. Cook at medium heat for approximately 30 minutes, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened.

Tamales freeze well. Just put them in freezer bags and defrost when ready to eat. To reheat you can microwave 1-2 tamales for about 1-2 minutes or you can put several tamales to re-steam.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Biscochitos: A New Family Tradition

As I previously mentioned I wasn't lucky enough to inherit a biscochito family recipe, so I had to find my own. I fell in LOVE with her recipe mainly because she had pictures of the actual recipe card from her grandma ( If that doesn't make them Authentic New Mexican biscochitos I don't know what does.) The cookies themselves were amazing as well.
Coley and I decided to make cookies this year for our annual Christmas party at work as well as a few for my husband to take to his co-workers, plus plenty for us since we love them so much. :)First you should gather all your ingredients.


Then cream the lard.

Next, beat the eggs and add the anise seeds.

You will then add the egg mixture to the lard and mix well.Slowly add in the flour mixture and and combine. (At first you will be able to use your electric mixer, but as the dough gets thicker you will need to knead together with your hands.

Now you will separate your dough into smaller balls and wrap in plastic wrap. ( The recipe says to do 3 balls, but we did 6. It also says to refridgerate overnight, however we put 5 balls of dough in the fridge for about an hour and the 6th one in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Once we took the dough ball from the freezer we rotated another one in.)

While the dough is chilling combine your sugar and cinnamon in a bowl large enough for dipping cookies. During this time you can pick cookie cutters also.

Once dough is chilled enough flour your rolling surface and roll dough. (We like ours pretty thin.)


Dip uncooked cookies in sugar-cinnamon mixture and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.


Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, then immediately dip cookies in sugar-cinnamon mixture once again.

Let cool, then enjoy! (Of course we had to throw some Hello Kitty cookies in!)



Makes 9-10 dozen small cookies. 
1 1/2 cups lard (1 pound box)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 teaspoons anise seed
6 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sweet white wine (plus a 1/4 extra if needed) *We use Brandy instead

1/2 cup sugar + 1 Tablespoon cinnamon 
Cream together the lard and 1 1/2 cups sugar. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and anise, add to the lard/sugar mixture. Mix well.
In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add this dry mixture to the wet mixture. Knead well with your hands until dough sticks together, it should be slightly sticky but able to form a firm dough ball. If the dough is too dry add more wine a teaspoon at a time, if it is too sticky add more flour a teaspoon at a time.
Divide the dough into three large balls  *We did six smaller balls instead and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight so the dough becomes firm and manegable. * We did not let them sit overnight.
The next day preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the dough with a liberally floured rolling pin on a liberally floured surface 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Dip one side of each cookie into cinnamon-sugar mixture and place on cookie sheet sugar side up. To ensure all cookies bake evenly, bake each shape cookie in batches of alike shapes and sizes. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the bottom of the cookies are brown and the tops are golden.
Remove from oven, and immediately dip in cinnamon-sugar again, dipping them while they are warm is key to getting the cinnamon sugar to stick. 
Store in a cool-dry place or freeze for up to six months.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Home is Where the Heart Is (Or stomach, in my case) ;)

So I don't know how your family celebrates the Holidays, but as a New Mexican when I think of Christmas I think of homes and business beautifully lit up with farolitos.

I also think of food (but who doesn't right?) Being a New Mexican transplanted in Las Vegas (Nevada not New Mexico, because if I was in New Mexico I wouldn't be having this problem.. ) you can not find authentic New Mexican food --Not to be confused with MEXICAN food they are two totally different things. We native New Mexicans are very particular about our food.  

During the holidays we often make our favorite traditional New Mexican dishes. My two favorite are biscochitos and tamales. Everyone I know either thinks their families or their own recipes are best ;)  Many recipes are passed on from generation to generation. My family wasn't so lucky, my grandmother wasn't one of those little old viejitas who baked cookies and steamed tamales. Don't get me wrong my grandma was an amazing cook, however I can't recall her ever baking during the holidays. My sister and I would venture over to my Auntie's house to bake biscochitos with her and we once attempted tamales with our mother ( they didn't turn out very well.)

A few years back I found the perfect biscochito recipe, and have since made it my own. One day I plan on passing down the recipe to my children and grand children. 

As for tamales this year my husband begged me to attempt them. I was a bit nervous since my last attempt did not go so good...