Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Tamales

Hey, we're back! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Over the Christmas break I made these spectacular black bean tamales (you remove the corn husk wrapper and inside is a wedge of corn masa stuffed with refried black beans). Some mild salsa is on the side for dipping, along with some sweet mango slices and calabacita (Mexican zucchini) with corn in a marjoram dressing. Beverage (not pictured): Rice Dream Horchata.
Verdict: I wish Little shmoo had been as excited to return to school as he was about his lunch! He loved these tamales, and surprised me by eating all the zucchini, too. The mango was too stringy for him, though (it's so hard to get good mangoes here, or maybe I just don't know how to pick them). 4 stars.

45 comments:

jen said...

happy new year! i'm glad schmoo is back in school even if he isn't -- i missed seeing pictures of his lunches!

Ashlee said...

YEAH!!Welcome back! How we have all missed your inspiring and healthy food, especially during the season of sweets and over-indulgence. My Resolution (like many others I am sure) is to eat healthier this year, and especially to incorporate new and interesting meals into my repetoire, so I look forward to a year of inspiration and ideas from the queen of cool veggie meals herself!

Have fun at school this term Lil Shmoo!! I'm suffering along with ya buddy...I feel like I just finished exams and yet I am back to classes on Thursday :(

Paula said...

I'm so glad to see you back! I love tamales, and I'm sure these are fabulous!

Bethany said...

Yea! Glad school's back in so I can get my lunchbox fix! Tamales are a great idea!

Kamaile said...

Yum! I ordered a laptop lunchbox over the holiday and used it for the first time today, soooo cool!

Thanks for the great lunch ideas, I'm hoping to go from vegetarian to vegan very soon.......

Nell said...

I missed the updates so much.
Welcome back!

rosemaryfromoregon said...

Whew......I thought school vacation would NEVER be over (sorry little Schmoo, but I've missed your Mom's cooking something fierce!). I'm so glad you're back!

Great looking Black Bean Tamales!

Rosemary

Kourtney said...

Yum, tamales. I have trouble getting corn husks here, so I just use aluminum foil. It works just fine :)

Chelee said...

Yum! Tamales are such a great idea. I hope this one is in the cookbook.(-:

Jennifershmoo said...

Wow, thanks for the welcome back! Yep, this one is in the cookbook for sure!

Hi, kourtney -- you can also try parchment paper if you can't find corn husks. The corn husks do add flavor, though (and look cute).

Dee said...

Welcome back! Hey Shmoo just think the sooner you start back the sooner you can get to spring break and then SUMMER! I love love love tamales! I'll have to try this for myself (since no one else in my household likes tamales)

Anonymous said...

Those tamales look great..and also was hoping theyd be in the cookbook...Welcome back and happy new year!

Anonymous said...

I love how your lunches are usually themed! My little brother (7 y/o) won't eat mango no matter how good it tastes to me; he just doesn't like the texture at all.

I was wondering, what do you mix with the masa in your tamales? I don't need the whole recipe...I have been making them with a combination of Earth Balance and veg shortening, but I heard that you can use potatoes for a healthier version. Have you tried this? Just wondering how that would taste before committing so much time to make a batch that way.

Thanks for a great blog, by the way--I come here every day!

Deb said...

Yay, you're back! We homeschool so I don't have to pack lunches, but I sure do enjoy seeing the ones you pack. I miss tamales and corn in general; my nursling is allergic to corn so I'm not able to eat chips and salsa or enchiladas or even drink a margarita when I'm out (I buy non-corn syrup mix for at home), so it was hard to be drooling for your tamales and know I can't have any.

This is a hard time of year to find good mangos, but I have found that Whole Foods has decent frozen ones. We much prefer fresh, but utnil they're back in season we stick with frozen rather than deal with the mushiness and stringiness.

Miriam said...

Yay, welcome back! Those mango slices do look good, but it's really hard to pick out good ones, isn't it? My best bet is usually to pick out one that is very un-ripe and obsessively check it several times a day.

Cordelia said...

'm a vegan whole foods eater (the only one in my famiily) and a 16 year old high school student. for lunch i LOVE to make coconut curry. I think shmoo needs some! Generally I saute chopped onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots, garlic, and tomatoes. Then I add enough coconut milk and veg stock to create a creamy sauce. I add red pepper flakes, lots of mild yellow curry powder, a bit of garam masala and soy sauce. served with brown rice. mmm.

Ashley said...

Mmmmm.

Those black bean tamales look so good.

I LOVE tamales, and miss them! I haven't had them for ages.

Anonymous said...

Hi, got hooked on this site just before Christmas..and I love all the great lunch ideas!!!! Give little shmoo a big hug for me...he's such a cutee! I am really looking forward to the cook book too.

Anonymous said...

Your lunches look way too good! Hmmm... You have inspired me to get crackin' to give my vegan daughter's school lunches some life! I am about to offer the Laptop Lunches line on my webstore due to popular demand, probably will be available mid to late January. The tamales look great, and in regards to the mango, if it is too stringy, it's sometimes not because it is not too ripe or not ripe enough, but it may be because of the growing conditions, type of mango, etc.

Jeenuh said...

I'm glad you're back! my new years resolution was to go vegan & your site has been a HUGE inspiration for varying my diet. I'm actually really enjoying my food and I feel a lot healthier. :)

I looove tamales, I live like 40 miles from the mexico border so everyone here makes theirs with pork (blllegh!) I never heard of a vegan alternative so I kind of jumped when I saw this. :)

Anonymous said...

yeah, what are we going to do when summer comes and Little Shmoo has no lunch boxes? that's a very sad thought....

karla

Flo said...

That sounds and looks soooo yummy!
I have never been good at tamales though. Could you post this recipe?
I think my husband would be grateful! =)
Welcome Back!

Harmonia said...

Sooooo glad you are back! Happy New Year!


What can you tell me about Miso? What kinds should I use for what? I know - totally random question - sorry!

Karen Anne said...

About corn husks, I've never made a tamale, can I save corn husks from fresh corn in the summer and keep a stack of husks in the freezer or something? Or are dried corn husks used? Seems like one ear of corn would yield several tamales worth of husks, unless layers of husks are needed.

FilmStocker said...

Vegan tamales... Mmm, I've tried making tamales several times and they never turned out right... so I can't wait til you post your recipe!

Welcome Back!

http://film-stock.blogspot.com/

.letting go said...

Welcome back! School for shmoo and me too!

mmmmveganfood.

Danielle said...

I used to love the Tamale Molly tamales, but they apparently are out of business. I would love to be able to make my own.

wendy said...

My kids and I are happy Shmoo is back in school simply so we can see what he's having for lunch again! :-) All of my kids love tamales and didn't think it was fair that Shmoo had tamales and horchata for lunch. ;-) What a lucky kid!

Hope you guys had a lovely holiday.

Harmonia said...

http://bloggingbaby.com/bloggers/sarah-gilbert

Check it out...the link above features you!

:)

lisa said...

We made vegan tamales for Christmas, too! I made several types - black bean with salsa verde, veggie ( diced zucchini, tomatoes, onion and sweet corn) and for the heck of it, we made some with Lightlife vegan smart ground original. Everything turned out super yummy but I have to say black bean has always been my favourite.

For those not in the know the secret to perfect tamales is the masa (dough). If it's not mixed correctly you will end up with messy & sticky tamales that will fall apart. Not fun. It's really rather simple once you get the hang of it. Most people I know are terrified when it comes to making tamales! The ingredients I use with the masa are: vegetable shortening, vegetable stock, water plus some sea salt and chili powder.

BTW, just wanted to say hi and love love love your blog! happy new year!

SDGvegan said...

I have use chilled olive oil sucessfully in tamles as well. They are wonderful. I had never thought about sending them with my kids for lunch though.

Anonymous said...

Schmoo chick - you totally ROCK! I found the Vegan Lunch Box while you were on Holiday and it totally changed our lives!!!!!! I won't go into the details, but this is what we've (myself, my 15 year old son (especially) and my almost 3 year old daughter)been needing for a while. Thanks to you I've discovered The Post Punk Kitchen, ordered Vegan With a Vengeance and we are COOKING now. Thank you so much. Here's to you and little shmoo and of course shmoo hubby! Thank you again for the inspiration and the invaluable Vegan Lunch Box.
p.s. I'm only sorry I don't have an excuse to buy one of those cool lunch boxes because we homeschool!

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, karen anne! They are dried corn husks, and I don't see why you couldn't try drying and keeping your own corn husks. The larger outer husks are easiest to work with; you need one per tamale.

Lisa, your tamale filling sound delicious! Christmas tamale-making parties are a Mexican tradition, and I hope to make it a new tradition in our family, too.

For the masa dough, I used non-hydrogenated organic shortening and veggie broth. Anonymous, I've never heard of using potato, that sounds interesting. It always cracks me up that non-veg recipes for tamales start with instructions to "cream lard until light & fluffy". Light, fluffy lard -- eew!

Wow, thanks for the link, Harmonia! Amazing.

Jennifershmoo said...

Thanks so much, anonymous! Wow, I'm glad it's had such a positive effect! One of my goals when I started the blog was to demonstrate the abundance of food choices that are out there for vegans (even picky seven-year-old vegans!), and how yummy it all is!

It's nice to hear from some homeschooling blog readers. Some of my best friends are homeschoolers, too. Perhaps you can pack lunches for homeschool park days. :-)

Rachel said...

i love the black bean tamales idea!

JJ said...

If that's shmoo below, he's adorable. In any event, I've been vegan and it was hard for me to maintain weight. I ate constantly. Of course, I'm also a soccer player, runner, biker and swimmer, so I probably should've tried to up my calories a little bit more anyway.

This is all to say is shmoo doing ok with that? Does he find himself hungry often? (This isn't a criticism or anything, just an honest query... I might try veganism again, you see.)

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, jen -- shmoo is doing great, but I know what you mean. Some attention to nutrition is important for everyone.

I make sure that he's not eating all high fiber foods (too much fiber can mean too few calories). He loves veggie meats, cookies, pasta, soy yogurt and milk, and other high-calorie foods, as well as lots of fruits, veggies, grains, and beans. I make sure he has healthy fats like flax seeds and nuts, and eats fortified foods and takes a daily chewable. I wouldn't say he is "always hungry", but he does eat healthy snacks between meals.

There are some excellent books out there on vegan nutrition. I'm thinking especially of "Becoming Vegan" by B. Davis and V. Melina -- they have a chapter on vegan athletes.

Shelly said...

Whoo-hoo! School's back and so is my favorite food site! Yippee! And the tamales are the perfect way to kick off the new year. I just learned how to make them myself, but I didn't use black beans. I'll try that next time. I'm so glad you're back!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! I make vegan tamales, too! My boyfriend's Mexican-American fmaily doesn't know they're vegan!
Yum, calabacitas, too! You're the best!

Harmonia said...

I found that link above while search google news for Vegan something or other...it was a neat place to visit!

Catherine said...

Jennifer, I wouldn't call your son picky at all! He seems to eat such a wide variety of foods, and tons of fruits and vegetables. Way to go you for introducing him to so much variety at such a young age.

Until you hear a child say, "I don't like water -- I only like juice," you haven't met picky! (I guess one of the joys of being a preschool teacher is that you get to send them home after a few short hours! Sheesh.)

Jennifershmoo said...

Wow, I can't even begin to comprehend not liking *water*. That takes picky to a whole new level for me.

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