Friday, December 16, 2011

... the end of a long day

 Phew, what a day.  Thomas had his 6 month vaccines today - as usual, Ryan was the support-daddy and I was the weeny looking away ... I could hardly handle thinking of him getting his vaccines all week - it caused such tightness in my chest for some reason!  One day I'll tough it out and be there for him ... I sort of feel like a cop-out because I have such a hard time dealing with it ... it's about time I put his feelings about getting the shots ahead of my anxiety ... eh?

Once we got back to the comfort of our little home T took his first nap of the day ... and I baked up some of those delicious Chocolate Crinkle cookies from the other day.

Here's the recipe:
Combine:  3 eggs, beaten, 1 1/2 c. sugar, 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted, (I used 1/4 c. dark chocolate powder, 1/4 c. oil substitution - darn that dark chocolate), 1/2 c. oil, 2 t. baking powder, 2 t. baking soda ... gradually add 2 c. flour ... add an extra 1/4 c. if you want your cookies to be a bit taller & fluffier ... Cool the dough in the fridge til easy to handle (1-2 hours) then toss lumps of dough into powdered sugar before baking 8-10 minutes at 375* F.

simmering pork <3
Dad n Thomas 
Eventually Thomas perked up from his nap ... but he was still fussy and exhausted ... no doubt from his vaccines ... so we had a very brief happy-play-time before he conked out again.  I sent Ryan off to the store  - JCPenny's for pictures, Martin's for groceries.  Once he returned home I started to prep for our Tamale Birthday Party tomorrow ..!  We had talked about making tamales months ago and bam all of a sudden it's Dec. 16 and Christmas is almost here and our dear friend Annette is almost off destined to new things ... so it was time ... and since Saturday is so near and dear to my birthday, I decided to throw myself a little Tamale Birthday Party ..!

I prepped some pork butt courtesy of Smitten Kitchen ... ps. this is the best way to prep pork for tacos, bbq pork sandwiches, you name it ... I thought it made sense for our tamales, too.  I did ease up on the lime/orange flavoring since those tastes didn't really "go" with my next adventure - Rick Bayless's Simple Mole Sauce!!  This recipe stems from a cookbook I received as a birth-ma-Christmas gift from an ECDC teacher friend of mine - Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen.  Having made his Brick Red mole in the past, I thought simple = excellent.  While it wound up being very simple (not much easier than the brick red ...), it was still time consuming, as all good moles are.  I was spoiled by Ryan's adventure through town, because he stumbled across the Mexican grocery next to Puerta Vallarta restaurant in town ... while there he picked up some dried ancho chili peppers for our sauce. Go Ryan!!

spice collection - courtesy of
the Farmers' Market
I set about to put this sauce together ... it begins with the ancho chili pepper paste - garlic, chilies, spices (pepper, cumin, Mexican oregano...) ... I probably didn't blacken my chilies enough ... but I blame that on my last experience blackening dried chilies ... it ended in a much needed walk because the house was full of spicy-chili-pepper-air and the in-laws, Ryan and I couldn't stop coughing!! lol ... so I went easy this time ... before re-hydrating the peppers in a bowl of boiling water ... This pureed and strained sauce gets added to a pot of hot oil and thickened dramatically ... before adding another pureed concoction to the pot - sauteed almonds, carmelized onion, roasted tomato, Mexican chocolate, a pinch of cinnamon a bit of broth ... and bread ..!! "Hearty white bread" - which I didn't have .. so I used this day-old bagel. As you can tell in the picture, I munched a couple of chunks while cooking =) yumm - then the sauce is set back to simmer with 4 c. of broth for about an hour while it thickens up.  We yielded almost 2 quarts of sauce - omg it's going to make amazing enchiladas ... and it freezes well!

Eventually I left the kitchen ... and tag teamed little T with Ryan who jumped in to make dinner - heaping greens, perfectly cooked steak, sauteed mushrooms ... and finally, after dinner, T was ready for his bath and bedtime routine.  It's barely 9 p.m. and I am ready for bed ...

Tomorrow we clean house and get ready for company! I hope T is in better spirits =)  We'll be making tamales and visiting with friends ... I'm excited to try a spicy mushroom filling for our tamales, too! Mm.  If you're interested in Bayless's mole recipe, post and I'll add it to this entry - It's a long one, and I am far too exhausted to type it in now ... =)

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