Thursday, May 21, 2009

Here today...Gone 'Costa Rican' Tamale

“Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity.” ~Bo Bennett

I look at everyday life filled with lots of enthusiasm and inspiration as I begin to spread my culinary wings into new cultural foods. Hubby and I are returning to Texas for the first time in a long over due holiday in June. My birthday, and no classes until July gave us a good excuse.

A childhood friend we will be staying with, Cheryl requested I make a Costa Rican spread for family and friends when I visit. She dreams of living there one day when she retires. I have made similar foods in that cuisine; like tamales, black beans, gallos (open faced tortillas), lunch Casado, 'Cow Belly' soup, and other dishes of her island dreams. I am doing my homework to get as authentic as possible, and bring her some 'Tico' atmosphere...

'I made a few with some of the verde sauce added to the shredded pork...'

Tamales in Costa Rica are similar in ingredients, but the banana leaf variety are more like a meal in one bite as they make ready their banana leaves; render lard and make stock; add Masa in a bowl with some lard and oil, stock, and sometimes seasonings for extra flavor. Cook rice, pork, and black beans.

Banana leaves- masa, rice, pork, chilies; roll, tie, and repeat; roll, tie, and repeat. Since my banana leaves were in lock down, and ruined from vehicle jail last Friday, I went with corn husk for this go round, but in Texas Cheryl will get her Costa Rican delicacies the way they roll, and a whole-lotta-them...

I bought a nice three pound bone in shoulder roast that had an inch and half slab of fat still attached from the meat department. I carefully sliced off the fat, and rendered my own lard, along with some bacon. Slow cooked the pork roast in a dry rub, and let it cool. Once cool I shredded the meat. Taking the bone and the gelatin from the cooled pork, and made a stock for the masa.

I fried up some plantain chips and made two dips- pureed black beans and rice, and a Verde with chunky avocado. I could not help myself, but I started my own Costa Rican party with out her, but she doesn't mind, and she had better get her tamale rolling volunteers geared up!