Saturday, February 12, 2011

Part 2

I can’t believe I froze the eggs. I was distracted wanting to get back to the kitchen I set the bucket on the well house when I filled the chicken’s water and left it there over night. All of the eggs were cracked! The dogs will be happy. There weren’t many eggs. Since the snow storm they’ve only been laying about 8 a day. Smart little buggers’ chickens are. They won’t lay when they don’t feel like the environment is safe for the potential chicks that might be hatching. So if the hens are stressed by cold weather, lack of food or water or a visiting predator, not to mention hours of daylight they just won’t lay. There are other reasons too but anyone who tells me chickens are stupid I just shake my head and think, you poor souls you don’t know what really matters do you?

I bring the masa dough to room temperature; beat the lard until it’s creamy and soft. Bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the masa to the lard and then fold in the stock. I like to add just a little toasted cinnamon and sea salt at this point. Crumble the queso and peal the skins off the roast peppers (I froze oodles of them this summer). Let the corn husks drain well. Peal strips from smaller odd shaped corn husks for tying the tamales, set aside. Lay out the husks, pat dry. Add a spoon full of the masa and compress a well in the middle with your thumb and add the chicken, then the queso and then the pepper, roll it up. Fold up the tail and tie.

I discovered a funny thing while feeding the baby chicks this morning, although they are not babies any longer. Eight weeks, so technically they are pullets. There was one sitting up on a bar I use to hang the heat lamps, I tuned my back and I heard something very strange, it sounded like one of the pullets had gotten hurt. I turned to investigate, nothing. All was calm. The little one roosting on the bar just looked at me curious, head cocked slightly, I turned away back to what I was doing, it happened again, then I stood still and just watched. The little one on the rail looked at me, stood up and suddenly and not so gracefully cock- a- doodle- doo’d this was no pullet. This was a rooster. Its funny when people come into your life that you were not expecting. I don't think he expected to come into this life and meet me. We're all a little sad but will be grateful for what he adds to our lives and table.

While rolling the tamales I recommend listening to some salsa or meringue music, that way you can fantasize about dancing and flirting, and being swept off your feet in the quick breath of passion. Time speeds by. Don’t tie the tamales too tight give just enough room for them to grow in the steam pot.

Yesterday we steamed a sample of the tamales and I heated a little of the mole sauce so I could decide if I should serve the tamales for the first course or the second. The ox tail soup I had planned to be second but the tamale and the mole where so strong and complicated in flavor I was afraid that the soup couldn't stand up after it. I was wrong the broth was more aromatic more powerful and could definitely stand solid for second course, I was delighted. It truly was a tincture to be reckoned with. As it should be. Anything that has such strong healing and loving qualities ought to be able to stand up and take you for a walk.

Fry the onions in a little olive oil, add the meat. Toast the cumin and clove, Toast the nuts, local pecans and walnuts. Grind the spices with a mortar and pestle, add to the meat, add the apples form Don Chiartarno, raisins, and the peaches (the ones from summer we froze) grind the nuts in the large coarse stone bowl. Don’t make a flour. Mix this together but save some nuts for the sauce. Remove the skins from the roasted pepper. Carefully cut a slit in the pepper remove the seeds, stuff with the filling. I forgot to point out, pick small peppers, if you can only find large ones plan on slicing them in half. Too much of a good thing can make for an unbearably restless evening. The sauce is made by braising, onion, garlic, the nuts, adding goat milk cream, sharp aged cheese. Pour this over the peppers before serving and sprinkle liberally with pomegranate seeds. I can only pray this dish is not eaten too fast. But savored like a sweet loving kiss. Don’t light all your matches at once. There is more to come.

I made the tres letches cake before bed. That way the sweet letches (milks) could soak into the sponge cake overnight and turn the cake into caramel. I’ll candy some rose pedals for garnish. Today just the finishing touches; Preparing the rose pedal sauce for the quail. I was able to purchase local quail from a man in Tahlequah he even butchered and dressed them for me. They are absolutely beautiful. The day I picked them up early this week it was freezing and the roads were hazardous, now the sun is rising and the day is promising to be warm and sunny, even still I’m going to build a raging fire. Nothing warms me more than a hot bath or the penetrating warmth of a fire.

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