Saturday, November 2, 2013

Treasure In Trash. Rosie Makes Tamale Pie.

I'm making Tamale Pie today
and this Tamale Pie comes with a history and a story.
My efforts are in honor of two people. 
 This post pays homage to two women
I've never met.
One is named Karla,
whom I believe supplied the recipe.
The other woman is an Unnamed Cook
who wrote the recipe down
and tucked it inside a cook book.

 As I've mentioned before,
Rosie is a Recycler.
I try to leave as light a footprint as I can
for future generations.
So, several times a week,
I can be found at the recycling center
at the end of Colington Road.
(In case you're looking for me,
you know where to find me.)

 I was depositing paper products in the paper bin
and found THIS!!!!:
Sorry, I'll stop yelling now.

I immediately fell to my knees
 and gently cradled the books in my arms.
I carried them home with me
and now they happily share space
with many more of their kin,
in a cozy nook in my living room,
where I can look at them,
reassure them that they are safe now, 
and bring them out, hold them, smell them, and read them.
 See that book bottom right?
The Food and Drink of Mexico
By George Booth.
That's the 1964 edition. 
It's still available,
but the cover has been updated.
I love this book.
Not only do you get the recipes,
but you get an immersion in the culture,
 experience, and history of Mexico
as interpreted through intimate stories related by the author.
It's a good read, folks. 

The exciting part is that
 I found something inside the book.
More treasure inside the treasure!
I found a three-page hand-written recipe,
 folded and tucked inside, for Tamale Pie.

 I do not understand people.
I cannot fathom throwing a book into trash.

I know how I feel about my cookbooks
and if someone casually tossed my books into the trash -
books that I had made annotations in the margins -
books that I had star-rated recipes -
books that I had taken the time to comment on different recipes -
books that I had tucked my own stained recipes into,
or Karla's recipe in this case -
I would be greatly saddened.
Someone just didn't care.

 Well, Fellow Cooks and Book Lovers, I CARE!

In fact, I'm making the recipe Karla
relayed to the Unknown Writer,
who, in turn, wrote down, for Tamale Pie.
Dear Unknown Writer, I'm deciphering your writing
and following my own instincts
when your instructions were not all that clear.
But I understand that.
I've hastily written down recipes myself,
getting the ingredients
but being vague on the process,
thinking, "Oh yeah.  I'll remember that."
And I do.

I hope I do you and Karla proud.

  The writer, I'm assuming,
obtained the recipe from Karla,
phone number 967-3426.

Tamale Pie
8 servings
 (Not if you're serving Middle Hawthorne and friend.)
1 # beef
2 tbsp oil
1 large onion  ch
1 sm green pepper [diced]
1 garlic
3 med tomatoes diced
1 3/4 corn - whole
2 tsp salt
1/8 pepper
1 1/2 tsp chili powder

Gebhardt's is the brand of chili.
Thanks, Mel, for that info.

 1/3 c yellow corn meal
1 can ripe olives pitted

3 c chicken broth
1 1/2 c corn meal

I'm having a hard time reading the next word.
Could it be Sauterne?
I know Sauterne is a sweet French wine,
but I don't know how that fits in here.
Unless the writer stopped to take a drink,
in which case, if I were writing the recipe down,
I'd insert Cabernet Sauvignon here.

2 eggs beaten
3/4 cup Parmasean (sic)
reserve 1/4 c cheese for top -
Cook first ingred-
Cook 10 min
Corn Meal with water
Stir in olives

butter serving dish
line with polenta
fill center with meat
sprinkle cheese
350° 30 min

Here's my interpretation of
this Anonymous Writer's and Karla's recipe.
Thank you both for taking the time and caring -
Karla - for sharing the recipe
and Anonoymous Writer - for writing it down.

Oh, and you Commie-Book-Thrower-Away,
I guess thank you too for tossing someone's personal collection
instead of taking it to ...
I don't know ...
maybe the FREAKIN' LIBRARY!!!!!

I wouldn't have found my treasures
had it not been for your sorry ass,
so yeah, thanks.

Tamala Pie

For the Meat Mixture:
1 heavy pound of ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
3 small garlic cloves, minced
sea salt, to taste 
(2 tsp is too much for our tastes)
freshly ground pepper
(I am very liberal with my pepper.)
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can corn, drained
(Reserve the corn juice.)
1 1/2 tsp chili powder

Brown the meat over medium high heat.
Discard juices.
Add in onion, pepper, and garlic.
Cook about 2-3 minutes.
Add in the diced tomato and the corn.
Heat through.
Add chili powder.
Taste test and season with salt and pepper.
At this point,
I added in a little oregano and cumin -
maybe a teaspoon each.

The directions are a little sketchy here,
but Rosie is on solid ground.
She thinks she knows what she's doing.

1/3 cup yellow corn meal
Reserved corn juice
 1 can black olives, sliced

Mix corn meal and enough corn juice
so you have a pourable mixture.
Pour this into the beef mixture.
Add in the olives,
cooking over medium heat,
about 2 minutes.

The cornmeal thickens up the mixture a bit
and also imparts a nice corn flavor.
And I think that would account for the tamale part.

Set aside and prepare the Polenta Mixture:
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cup corn meal
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Cheddar cheese, grated, enough for topping

Whisk chicken broth into corn meal in a medium saucepan.
Whisk over medium low heat
until the mixture thickens and just comes to a boil.
Remove from heat and continue whisking.
After the mixture has cooled a bit,
whisk in the beaten eggs and the Parmesan.

Now, we're ready to assemble the Tamale Pie.
 Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
Spread the polenta mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan.
Spoon the meat mixture over top.

Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese over top.
The more the merrier is my motto.

Bake in a 350° oven for 40 minutes,
tenting, if necessary, for the last 10 minutes.

The polenta mixture will poof up in the center
and you should have a nice golden color around the edges.

Now for the step-by-steps:
I have a little over a pound of ground beef
and I chopped my onion and pepper
and minced the garlic.

Brown the meat over medium high heat in a little oil,
then add in the onion, pepper, and garlic.

Cook, stirring, for a few minutes.

Add in the corn, diced tomatoes, and chili powder.

Taste test,
then add in sea salt and pepper.
I added oregano and cumin too,
just because those flavors go with this.
A teaspoon each.

This is where the directions were a little ambiguous.
The writer simply said "corn meal with water"
and "stir in olives."
Instead of water,
I used the drained corn juice for extra flavor.
I poured the corn meal mixture
into the meat mixture.
Stir to combine and cook for a few minutes.

Add in the olives.
Heat through and set aside
while you make the polenta.

3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups corn meal
2 eggs
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Whisk chicken broth into corn meal until smooth.

I decided this needed a bit of cooking.
It wasn't mentioned in The Recipe.
Cook over medium heat, whisking,
until mixtures thickens and comes to a boil.
Remove from heat and continue whisking.
Whisk in Parmesan.

Stir in beaten eggs until thoroughly mixed.

Pour polenta into buttered 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Spoon the meat mixture on top of the polenta.

Add grated cheddar cheese.

Ready for the 350° oven.

After thirty minutes, I checked it.
Not quite ready.
I tented it and cooked for 10 more minutes.

Oh ... yes.

I have to have a bite of this now.
In case you didn't know,
the corner piece is always my favorite.
Look at that beautiful, creamy, polenta layer.

The meat mixture is so flavorful.

This is some hearty fare!

Check out the polenta corner.

Mr. Hawthorne and I shared that little corner piece.

And then Middle Hawthorne and a friend came in
from fishing all morning.
Funny how they know when something's
just come out of the oven.
I pointed them in the direction of the Tamale Pie
and Mr. Hawthorne and I left for Foodlion.

When I came back,
this is what was left.

I'm going to make this during the holidays
when all my Little Hawthornelets are home.
The other two will love it!


zzzadig said...

I have a chess pie recipe that was written down on the back of an old black and white Krystal hambuger sack -- found it at the flea market.

I make a "lasgna" using layers of polenta instead of noodles. It disappears pretty quickly too.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Those are the best recipes.

In my "lasagna," my "pasta" is zucchini strips.