‘Tis the season!
Well I wish I could say that today is a regularly scheduled day of relaxing. In a way it kind of is? Today is my regularly scheduled prep for tomorrow’s dinner. Now I don’t have a traditional family, but I do have friends and what not, so I’m making a rather large meal. The plan (as it is every year) is to have plenty of leftovers for myself, but also to have enough to hand out to friends and coworkers when Monday rolls around.
I celebrate a non-religious Christmas (since I’m not religious, obviously) so for the next few days it’s prep and cooking. Holidays are traditionally a chance for me to get extra fancy with the cooking and I hardly (if ever) cook fancy for myself because that feels pointless for some reason. But every year around this time I get to make some tasty food and share with the people I care about.
Normal holiday foods are probably a ham or turkey kind of meal (assuming meat eating). From time to time I’ll do one of those, but mostly I like tamales. I’m half mexican and the few good childhood memories I have are making tamales around the holidays. It was the one time of the year that we had people over so everyone pretended to care, it’s equal parts nostalgic and sad looking back, but since I love tamales, I kept the traditon.
The ironic part is my family aren’t great cooks. My grandmother was a decent cook, but everything I’ve learned has been mostly self taught and a lot of experimentation over the years with my recipes. I’ve settled on a somewhat non-traditional tamale recipe I’ve come up with after a lot of experimenting that seems to go over well with others.
But tamales alone does not make a meal! Okay, it kind of does, I mean I could stuff myself with tamales, they so good, but variety is nice too, so I’m also making a few other things. Namely, I’m making enchiladas and a potato and chorizo dish I came up with (somehow, don’t even remember how). What would Christmas be without some sweets though? I’m making my semi-famous (among the people I work with anyway!) salted caramel apple empanadas (here’s the last time I made some!). Ha even in that post I talk about my family being awful cooks and my experimenting. Guess I’m repeating myself after years of blogging! Edit: I’ve also stole that post’s photo for this one because I’m LAZY!!
Anyway since I now officially work at the hospital (as in they pay me! What a concept!!) I am making enough to share with my researcher colleagues. The catch is our lab has recently grown by A LOT! So we’re looking at doing quite a bit of cooking in the next two days. I’ve made both the tamales and empanadas before for the lab, but this will be the first time I’ve made enough for so many people. Scaling things up isn’t a huge issue, but I do want to make sure there’s enough to go around.
Today is mostly the prep before actually cooking tomorrow. So filling will be made (both the meat and apples), doughs will be made (tamale and empanada doughs), and stuff will get chopped (lots of onion and potatoes). This will save me a lot of time and headaches for tomorrow, so while today I won’t get much of a break, tomorrow I’ll have minimal work and a whole lot of food. So overall I would call that a win.
I’ll (maybe) share photos of the food after the fact. It feels weird since I don’t share the recipes, but truthfully most of the stuff I eyeball anyway so it’s hard to give a 1 cup xxx, 2 cup yyy, type recipe when I don’t even know what the values would be. You may be wondering if that means there’s a lot of variation between batches and the truth is, not as much as you would expect. Some flavors get highlighted more than others depending on the batch, but I’ve gotten very good at being consistent over the years.
Maybe I’ll attempt to write them down though so I can share, I mean weirder stuff has happened. With COVID and what not, things don’t look the same and we can’t hang out together (for safety purposes), but I can at least feed everyone.