Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Classic Caramels for Christmas

I enjoyed unwrapping these delicious caramels my grandmother made every year as a child just as much as I enjoyed unwrapping the presents under the tree. This is one of those classics that falls under the label "Christmas isn't Christmas without these babies!" So before the season escapes me again, I thought I'd post the recipe. A special thanks to Aunt Tami who answers her phone while she's on the roof fixing Christmas lights. She informed me that the recipe was originally Aunt LaJean's who was Grandpa Lloyd's dad's sister. I hope you have that straight. Cause I almost do. wink. wink.


2 cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup karo syrup
2 cups whipping cream
2 cubes butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all together and stir constantly, washing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush in water very lightly until it boils. Once it boils, don't stir. Continue boiling until it reaches 234F on a candy thermometer.

Add vanilla. Mix slightly and pour into a buttered cookie sheet with sides. When it cools, cut into squares and wrap in wax paper.Try not to devour all in one sitting. These are a perfect addition to your Christmas platter of goodies. Share the joy.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tamalitos de Frijoles

On the 11th day of Christmas, my suegra gave to me . . .

Tamalitos de Frijoles

We're counting down the days we get to go to Honduras for the holidays and partake of all of the fun tradiciones navideñas (Christmas Traditions) with Armando's family. One of the yummies that I love are my mother-in-law's Tamalitos de Frijoles. My sister-in-law prepared them for me first here in the states when I was expecting our first daughter. With my second pregnancy, of course I craved them because the closest ones were a time zone and two layovers away. Although I'm not expecting, I still love a good tamal de frijol nice and warm with crema on top.

Although I've never made these on my own, my sister-in-law wrote up some instructions for me to share on the blog. If I can talk them into showing me these while we're there, I'll add proportions in the future. For now, this is a typical "little of this and little of that" type of recipe. ;)

Tamalitos with Frijoles (Beans)

Prepare the corn flour for tortillas and make it a little dry. (I recommend maseca found in your local grocer in the Mexican-food section. Follow the instructions to prepare tortillas and make slightly dry).

Blend garlic, onion, green pepper, celery, and cilantro (enough of these ingredients to flavor the beans and the tamale dough. Add a small tomato to the ingredients and blend it as well.

Add half of the blended condiments to the dough along with salt to taste.

Cook and prepare black beans. Let cool and blend with bean broth. Fry in hot oil along with the remaining blended condiments mentioned above. Add salt to taste. Fry and stir frequently so as not to let them stick. They should be a little liquid-like - not a pasty texture. Let them cool - they should be slightly more liquid-like when hot because they will solidify slightly as they cool.

Form dough into small balls. Flatten with hands on a piece of plastic as if you were going to make a tortilla (not too thick nor too thin). In the middle, drop a large spoonfull of cooled refried beans. Fold the tortilla in half, covering the beans. It should look like a half-moon.

Seal the edges with hands carefully so as not to let any beans leak out and place in the center of a banana-leaf. Place in a pot of boiling water with salt for 45 minutes.

Serve warm with crema centroamericana.


And for all of you Spanish-speakers, perhaps the original instructions would be easier to follow rather than my translation above.

Preparar la harina de maíz como para hacer tortillas dejarla un poco seca. Licuar ajo, cebolla, chile verde, apio, cilantro todos estos ingredientes en cantidades necesarias (que sea sufiente para los frijoles y la masa) además licuar un tomate pequeño junto con el resto de los ingredientes.
Al agregar los condimentos a la masa también agregar sal la necesaria. Los frijoles cocidos se licuan y se ponen a freír en aceite junto con los condimentos licuados, especies y sal en caso de ser necesario; al freír los frijoles no dejarlos secos estos de beben de quedar más o menos líquidos, dejar enfriar.
Elaborar con la masa pequeñas bolas para luego aplanarlas con las manos sobre un plástico en forma de tortilla (esta no debe de ser ni muy gruesa ni muy delgada). En la mitad de la tortilla colocar una cuchara grande de los frijoles fritos y fríos, doblar la tortilla a la mitad cubriendo los frijoles, quedando la forma de una media luna. Nos cercioramos de cerrar bien los bordes para que nada se salga, luego se envuelven en una hoja de plátano y se ponen a hervir en agua con sal por unos 45min.
Comer calientes con mantequilla.