Hi, everyone. This past week, I decided to have myself a Latin feast. I’ll tell you all about it, but first an update on the kumquatcello.
Okay, so the kumquatcello sat for two weeks and the vodka picked up a really nice citrus-y scent and the faintest orange tint. (This is very different from limoncello, which takes on a beautiful lemony color.) I made a sugar syrup by boiling water and sugar together. If you decide to give this a whirl, don’t let this mixture cook too long because it will darken and give the liqueur a muddy look. (In fact, this is the beginnings of caramel and if you cook it long enough, that’s what you’ll get.) Then I combined the sugar syrup, kumquat vodka, and fresh vodka and split it into various containers. Now, we sit and wait. I can be drunk at this point, but the longer it sits, the better it will be. Can’t wait to try it.
Now for the Latin feast!
I made black bean and corn tamales, arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas, a staple of Puerto Rican food), tostones, surrullitos, pão de quiejo, and an avocado-chile salad.
Tostones are to die for. They are fried green plaintains that are smashed and refried. Okay, not the healthiest thing in the world but how often do you think I eat tostones? The surrullitos are Puerto Rican cheese sticks. I tried making them baked and fried (traditional) and, ironically, the baked came out better. I say it’s ironic because usually fried foods come out better. But my fried surrullitos kept falling apart. I’m not sure what I was doing wrong. If anyone has any tips, please share them.
Same plea goes for the pão de quiejo. These are Brazilian cheese rolls made with tapioca flour and parmigiano cheese. They tasted good but the texture was doughy. And that’s the second time I’ve tried it. So, again, if anyone has any tips, pass them on. The avocado-chile salad came out great, but I can’t really say much about it, since it’s part of my new cookbook-in-progress. I’ll have you all know that you’re sharing the process with me here!
As for the tamales, they came out pretty good. The masa was a little thick and needed a pinch of salt, but other than that, they were tasty. They looked awful perty, too.
First, you have to spread some masa in a corn husk, fill it with the filling of your choice, then fold the sides of the husk over. Then you tie them up with husk “strings,” and put them in a steamer to cook. I have an Asian steamer, which is the perfect cooking vessel. And it just looks so nice, too. I’m going to be adding tips about making tamales on my “Tips” page here, so check back it you want to give it a try. It’s actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Here are some photos of mine:
Okay, thanks, everybody! I’ll let you know what I come up with next time. Have a great weekend and coming week.
Oh, I almost forgot. This was my favorite part of my Latin feast. Those of you who are aficionados of the English language will understand why I was so amused with this bag of chips…and why I just had to buy it! Adios!