Tamales for Christmas

photo(1)My sister Meg spends her long commute on the subway reading the New York Times on her iphone, and on Wednesdays I can usually expect her to email me a recipe or two from that day’s paper. The week before Christmas it was this story about the Mexican tradition of making tamales for Christmas. We immediately started planning an Boxing Day tamale feast. For one batch we cooked a whole pork shoulder over night in the slow cooker, and then tossed the shredded meat with a New Mexico red chile sauce, based on the recipe in the Times. The second batch was filled with shredded Monterey Jack cheese and pickled jalepeños. We made a big pot of beans and some rice and served it all with a few of the salsas I put up last summer. The meal was a huge success and we all agreed it should become a new Christmas tradition. Continue reading

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Pickled Jalepeños

Last summer I ended up with a glut of jalepeños, and not knowing what to do with them, I decided to pickle them. I’ve never been a big  jalepeño eater, and I didn’t really have high expectations for them. I thought they might very well end up as forgotten pickles, but in the end they were quite a hit. When I visited my brother  Dave a few months ago, I found him jealously hoarding the brine in the jar long after the last pickle slice had been consumed. My sister Meg has placed a special order for 4 pints this year. We like to put these on tacos, quesadillas, or eggs and grits, or to chop them up and add them to salsas and tomato salads. Continue reading