The house smells furry good right now 'cuz there are three steamers steamin' up the house with the smell of freshly made tamales.
In the southwest, tamales are a traditional part of Christmouse celebrations. Even fast-food places like El Pollo Loco are sellin' tamales as a part of their seasonal menu.
On Tuesday, Mom, Grandma, and Grandad went to a San Diego landmark restaurant called El Indio (it was featured on "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives") to have lunch. The food is marginal (there's MUCH better Mexican food available locally), but they had five pound and ten pound pails of masa preparada available for sale so that patrons could make their own tamales or corn tortillas at home.
Grandma has a thing for fresh, home-made tortillas an' Mom LOVES tamales, so they bought a five pound pail of what they call "red masa." Red masa has chile powder and tiny pieces of jalapeño mixed into the prepared batter. Having it pre-seasoned like this makes it fool-proof for the home cook.
Anyway, the masa was purchased ... along with a bag of corn-husks ... so that Grandma and Mom could make tamales.
Mom purchased a tamale at El Indio ... it was a dessert tamale with pineapple, raisins, and brown sugar ... so that she could see how they assembled their tamales. They actually used TWO husks overlapped with the pointy ends at the outside. Mom had always used ONE husk and then had to tie her tamales ... an' it was furry difficult when the husks were too small. Mom had an "a-ha" moment ...
So today, Grandma and Mom made tamales while Grandad was out Christmas shopping. They made green chile and cheese tamales inspired by the delicious ones sold by Trader Joe's.
Uh, oh ... What's that smell? It doesn't smell good in here anymore ...
One caveat, tamale-makers ... When steamin' your tamales, make sure that you use lots of steamer water an' that you keep an eye on the water level. Right now, our house smells like burned corn husks 'cuz Grandma ... who was in charge of steamin' ... fell asleep with Charmee on her lap an' let the water burn off. Oh, an' she caught her vest on fire a little bit, too. Her vest saved her from gettin' a furry nasty burn on her tummy when she was carryin' the tamale steamer to the sink. Gotta be careful, Gran!
It's 65 degrees right now, but all of the windows an' doors are open to keep the smoke detectors from going off. It's furry smelly in here!