My mother in law came up with the best present for me: cooking lessons with two of her Mexican friends to teach me how to make molé and tamales.
For the molé, first we softened the chiles (arbol and black) on a hot skillets, and then soaked them in hot water. After soaking, we pureed them in a food processor with chocolate:
The puree is poured back in to a hot, smoking, oiled skillet. Cooked chicken pieces are folded in, the entire thing is heated and served.
I got to cheat a bit with the tamales: they brought along pre-made masa and pre-cooked beef filling:
Instead of spooning the dough into corn husks, they had me use a tortilla press:
I’d carefully lay the flattened disk of masa onto a corn husk and fill with the shredded brisket, some cheese, and a few hot pickled peppers.
Finally, the whole bundle was tied up with thin strips of corn husk:
Nestle them into a big steam pot, cover with plastic, and steam them for 90 minutes or so, and you get hot tamales. And the pot is mine now, too! Making tamales is definitely a process, and I guess traditionally they’re made in parties.
What a great present!