Family, Family time, Mexican Cooking, Mexican Holiday food, Mexican Vegan food

Beginning a New Tradition with Tamales-Vegan Style!

Christmas Stars by J. De La Cruz, flickr.com cc
Christmas Stars by J. De La Cruz, flickr.com cc

Five years after my youngest became a vegan, I now have another vegan son who has a wonderful girlfriend who is also vegan.

I began cooking vegan style for the youngest some time ago. My oldest son, David and his girlfriend, Laura ‘veganize’ all sorts of foods while educating people on their YouTube site titled “Hangry Vegans.” Their videos show their adventures shopping and creating vegan dishes. Recently, they created a Wix site, you guessed it: “Hangry Vegans.”

We made five types of tamales. And, this year I wasn’t the only one making vegan tamales. David and Laura sat at the table and learned from me and his aunt about the ‘how to’s” of making the masa (dough) and filling for tamales without lard or animal products.

They tried to manipulate the butter knife, masa to oja (corn husk) ratio, and fill the tamales without making them into fat burritos. I was impressed they kept at it, smoothing and fixing the ojas, laying on the right amount of chile and ‘cheese.’

A mother is impressed when her daughter cooks, but a Latina mother is doubly surprised when her adult son tackles a medium difficult project. For the trifecta, Laura said she and David would keep up the tradition. Maybe there will be some little ‘tamales’ in their future 🙂 (I’m going to get an OMG from them, but I’m joking!).

They both did well for first timers and now know why we complain of backaches the day after tamale making.

My mother stood by and asked what type of filling we’d use. When the words “Black beans” and vegan ‘cheese’ entered the conversation she gave us the familiar nose wrinkle. This is her polite way of saying “Yuck.”

You know millennials, they video everything. Here are the steps in motion:

Vegan Black Bean Tamales:

Masa/Dough

2 cups of Maseca Tamal corn flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Mix together in a large bowl and add:
1 1/3 cup of vegetable broth

In another bowl, use
2/3 cup of coconut or vegetable shortening.
Mix until fluffy. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir until batter is smooth.
Knead the dough like bread until it’s smooth and slightly sticky.

You can also buy store-bought masa at a Mexican supermarket. Ask for masa sin preparada (not prepared with lard). To this masa add the vegetable shortening and knead.

Spread a thin to medium layer of masa on the oja/corn husk, leaving 1/4 from the top clear.

Add a tablespoon or more of drained and rinsed cooked black beans, shredded vegan Monterrey style Jack cheese, and diced green chiles or strips of chile. A teaspoon of salsa verde or salsa roja can also be added.

Fold each side of oja to the middle and fold over the top of the oja. Press the open ends of the oja gently together.

Take a deep pot (tamale) which has a steamer bottom or put an overturned foil pie pan with four ventilated holes at the bottom of the pot. Add water until it reaches the rim of the pie pan.

Stack tamales into the pot about 2/3 full and around the edges, leaving a small funnel in the middle. Or, you can basketweave the tamales around the edges, also with a funnel in the middle. Water, when needed, is added in this space.

Wet and wring out a clean cotton kitchen towel. Drape it over the top of the stacked tamales, put a lid on the pot and place on the stove, at medium heat. Add water when necessary.

Set a timer for 90 minutes. Use a potholder to lift the lid and check the tamales. The masa will be cooked solid if it’s done. If the masa is mushy, set the timer for another hour.

Any vegetable filling can be used: lentils and corn, spinach and vegan cheese, peas and carrots, butternut squash are some examples.

For our sweet tamales recipes: Pineapple, Coconut; Cinnamon Raisin; and Strawberry go over to Hangry Vegans website. Check them out, they’re so cute.

I have to say that, I’m a mom.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Family, Family time, Inspiration, Latino Family Traditions, poetry, Poetry Month

Poetry On Wednesday-Nostalgia

 

Summer days at the river
Summer days at the river

Warmer weather has me thinking of summer. Summer, when I was a kid. A long time ago.

We were poor in funds, rich in family, and too young to know or care that some kids went away to summer camp.

We camped too, by the river or at Salton Sea (my least favorite place), sleeping on blankets inside or outside a tent—if there was one.

Tios, tias, primos/Uncles, aunts, cousins gathered together a few times during the sweltering summers in Pomona, California.

I don’t know if there is such a thing as a ‘memoir’ poem, but my nostalgia for the summer days of childhood brought these words:

 

Sounds of Summer

 

Salty air, scorching sand

burning toes,

scents of sulfur

linger over Salton Sea

 

Picnics on Cucamonga river

sage scented air

mesquite smoke

earthy campfire coffee

aromas cross-bred forever

 

Sprays of cool water,

float over inner tubes

sunburned skin,

cutoff shorts

trencitas

braids

 

Slippery river rock         

pollywogs tickling feet

water spiders causing shrieks

kids dash, splash, laugh

 

Watermelons wedged between rocks

sticky sweet juice drips over 

dusty smiling faces

don’t swallow the seeds

images of tiny melons planted in bellies

 

Corn silk floating beside

shucked leaves piled high

diced green chiles

juicy tomatoes

pungent onions

the click clack of knives against cutting boards

 

White hot glowing embers

full stomachs on cool nights

warm ponchos, cold beer

a seat in the circle of camping chairs

 

Stories among the songs of long ago

no s’mores, but

smiles of contentment while

campfire smoke drifts

into memory

 

flower seeds crack

salty lips, drowsy eyes

flashlight shadow puppets 

on tent covered walls

sounds of family 

sounds of summer

 

 

What do you remember of your childhood summers?