Well, it is Sunday…such a great day to get in the kitchen! Cooking is a way to relax and I have even gotten the husband to join me in the kitchen. In the beginning, he would only want to know when the food was ready but now he and I are a team in the kitchen. I love that he is open to just about anything that comes out of the oven or off the stove. In our household, we are not very discriminating when it comes to food. Pad thai one day…lasagna the next…enchiladas…and on some days we must have ramen. But no matter what is in the pantry, I always find a way to jazz it up a bit. Because we are on a limited budget, I have not been able to buy crawfish tails, shrimp, or steaks. Our palates are a bit spoiled. Back in New Orleans we were able to splurge on these items.
While I was initially disappointed in that we couldn’t cook the richest tasting foods, I came to realized that any dish can be tasty. A little creativity and great herbs and spices go a long way! Last week, I decided to pull some tamales out of the freezer. I have not yet learned how to make them from scratch. The good thing was that these tamales were locally made (in Texas). They were on sale at the local grocery. I read the directions saying that they needed to be steamed. I was like “I don’t have a steamer” and was thinking that I would have to spend extra money to buy a metal insert in which to steam the tamales. I was short on funds, even though it was only a mere four or five bucks. While at the grocery getting some shredded cheese and black beans, I had an epiphany. I would use what I already have: a pizza pan which had holes in it, put it over the my wok with a little water and top the tamales with foil! Ingenious! I rigged my McGyver-style notion and presto, it was a success! Definitely not New Orleans famed Manuel’s tamales, but it was quite delicious! My hubby and I topped our tamales with some Old El Paso enchilada sauce and shredded cheese. I cooked some black beans from a can (only 72¢): sauteed garlic and onions and added some cumin and voila those black beans were tasty!
Cooking is cathartic: the aroma of freshly chopped cilantro and shallots, the scent of trinity mix (a blend of green peppers, onions and celery) that fills the house…Aah!