Creative in the Kitchen, Creative Inspirations

Foodie week-end; fresh fruit cocktails and vegetarian tamales

One of the most pleasurable past-times that I share with my daughter is cooking with her.  She is an artist also, and as such, her creativity touches everything she does food included.  This last week-end we created in the kitchen together.  Here are two of the recipes we came up with; the tamales, all her doing and the drinks mine.

COCKTAILS – Nutrition and taste being foremost I opt for fresh ingredients rather than a canned or bottled mixture.  Although one could argue that booze is not nutritious, one has to kick up their heels every now and then!  This is a low alcohol version – I like the flavor better.

PINA COLADAS “Pineapple pureed”  Put all in a blender and puree for a frozen slush of goodness.  Makes 2 or 3 drinks.

  • 1/3 cup canned coconut milk (not coconut “cream”)
  • 8 oz. weighed chunks of fresh pineapple (a ripe pineapple has a very yellow skin)
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 2 oz. dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon Truvia

CEREZA COLADAS – “cherries strained”.  Put all in a blender and puree for more frozen goodness.  Makes 2 or 3 drinks.

  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (not coconut “cream”) OR almond milk
  • 8 oz. weighed pitted and halved fresh dark cherries
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 2 oz. dark rum
  • 1 tsp Truvia

VEGETARIAN TAMALES  Steamed, doughy corn flour around caramelized, smoky vegetables. Complete bliss!

Mix together to form the dough.  Let rest for 20 minutes while preparing stuffing:

  • 3 cups instant “Masa”; corn flour
  • 2 1/2 cups heated, hot broth; vegetable
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 cup mixture of softened butter or ghee (clarified butter) and canola oil.  For a vegan version, substitute vegetarian margarine for butter.  NOTE: clarified butter has more health benefits than regular butter as the lactose is removed.

Saute on medium low heat until soft and caramelized:

  • 1 quartered onion sliced against the grain into 1/4″ slices
  • 3 large red peppers quartered and sliced sideways into 1/4″ slices

Stir into sautéed mixture:

  • 2-3 cloves minced fresh garlic (we are using Naomi’s Canterbury Three Sisters Garlic right now)
  • 1/2 cup soft cheese like goat cheese (we used Canterbury Brookford Farms Quark cheese with garlic and dill).  For vegan version substitute any tofu cheese.

Divide the dough into 8 balls.   Break each ball in half.  Flatten one dough half in palm of hand or flat bowl.  Place 1/8 of the filling onto this then top it with the remaining dough from that ball and press the sides together to form a flattened rectangle.  Repeat for the rest of the balls and filling.

Wrap each dough rectangle with a piece of brown or white paper bag (or craft paper if you have it) folding them up like a bundle.  Place all on a steamer rack inside a large pot of water.  Place lid on pot and simmer water beneath the rack steaming the bundles for 30 to 40 minutes until the unwrapped tamale dough is firm but still subtle.  NOTE: traditional tamales are steamed in corn husks but we did not have any so improvised and it worked perfect.

We used my chinese bamboo steamer rack because it has trays that stack and we could steam lots at once.  My daughter tied some of the bundles with a chive to distinguish them as her own less cheesy version.

Unwrap the bundles onto a plate and serve with the following sauce and salsa salad:

SALSA SALAD  Mix all together:

  • 3-4 fresh tomatoes, cut open and squished with hands to remove juice, chopped
  • 1/2 poblamo chili pepper, minced (from our garden)
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

SAUCE  Put all in a blender and puree:

  • 1 roasted, skinned and seeded red pepper
  • 1/4 cup O fat greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • Salt to taste

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