The sauce in this filling is from my great-grandmother, who I hear was an excellent cook. She lived in the ‘Mormon’ colonies in Mexico, left in 1912 to avoid Pancho Villa and other warring factions, returned after the Revolution, and earned money through millinery (making hats) and sewing.  Her last few years were in Arizona, where she cooked and sewed at the LDS Mesa temple.   This recipe was her enchilada sauce, only she used 3 cups of water and 3 Tbsp. chili powder when using it over enchiladas, since more liquid is needed for those.  

These are gluten-free if you use cornstarch and not flour in the filling.  Using shredded meat instead of burger makes these a little more authentic, but ground meat is awfully convenient.  Unless you happen to have some leftover roast available to shred.

Individual Tamale Pies 
Makes 12 muffin-sized ones, or can be made into a 9" pie pan

Crust:
2 c. masa harina  (OR use 1 c. cornmeal and 1 c. flour)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. coconut oil or other fat (oil, butter, lard, etc)
about 3/4 to 1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Mix all together to form a moderately thick dough.  Grease 12 muffin cups.  Shape a ball a little bigger than a ping pong ball (3 Tbsp. dough), then press dough in a muffin cup, making a layer about 1/4"- 3/8" thick.  Repeat until finished.  Set aside.  

Filling:
2 cups cooked burger or shredded beef, pork, or chicken
8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. butter, optional
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. chili powder or to taste
1 Tbsp. cornstarch OR 2 Tbsp. flour

 Mix together the meat, tomato sauce, butter, salt, sugar, and chili powder, and bring to a boil.  Stir the cornstarch or flour into 1-2 Tbsp. water,  to form a slurry.  Gradually mix the slurry into the boiling mixture, cook and stir until thickened, about a minute.  Taste it and add a little more salt if you like.

Spoon 1/4 cup of filling into each of the lined muffin cups.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is set and the filling just starts to bubble around the edges.  Let sit for a couple minutes, then remove them by placing an upside-down cookie sheet on top, then flipping the whole thing upside down (see slideshow below).  

Serve with plain or with shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, lettuce, or anything else that sounds good.



 
 
Saw this on the web and my daughter wanted it for her birthday cake...

It's really simple- one frosting tip (2110), one color, and the roses are nothing more than spirals.

The frosting I used was Strawberry Cheesecake Frosting and is naturally colored: use the recipe for Blueberry Cheesecake Frosting except double the batch and substitute 12 oz. strawberries, pureed, for the two cups of blueberries.  It tastes divine!
 
 
It seems like fathers- dads- more and more are portrayed as comical or ridiculous, unnecessary at best and degrading at worst.  

A good father- or one who serves in a father's role, protecting and mentoring- leaves an indelible mark on your life.  This is for those men, and for those who aspire to become a man with eternal influence for good.

Happy Father's Day.
 
 
Do you love German Pancake but don't have enough time in the morning to bake one?

Try the microwave!   The five minutes, above, includes the time to mix the batter; it takes under one minute to cook.

It won't get brown and crispy on the edges, but it tastes pretty close to the same, especially if you happen to have some browned butter or ghee to use at the bottom of the cup.

This version makes 4 individual servings, or cut everything to 1/3 and have one little bit larger serving.

Five-Minute German Pancake

1 cup milk
1 cup flour
3 eggs
4 tsp. melted butter, ghee, or browned butter

Whisk together milk, flour, and eggs until smooth.

Pull out 4 (6 oz.) microwave-safe cups/bowls/mugs.  Place 1 tsp. melted butter in bottom of each.  Pour 1/2 cup batter in each; microwave until puffy and almost dry on the center top, about 45 seconds.  Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with powdered sugar, or use whatever toppings you prefer.
 
 
There's nothing that stimulates creativity like boredom does.
My 15-year-old was bored yesterday and came up with this idea:

Draw on wood using the power of the sun.

Normally I'm not a fan of solar power:  a couple years ago, a solar panel manufacturing company was considering building in my city.   Our city council starting reading the research and crunching numbers, and eventually declined the move.  Why?  The council members discovered that when you add up everything it really takes to build and run a solar plant, it takes MORE energy to produce each panel that it will generate in its lifetime.  

Anyway, back to this solar-powered art:

A magnifying glass, when held close to something with bright sunlight behind it, creates a concentrated beam of light, as most any inherently pyromaniac 12-year-old boy might tell you.  

So he used that as his woodburning technique, holding the magnifying glass steady in one spot until a little wisp of smoke appeared, then moving it over a fraction of an inch.  (See the light beam below?)  He freehand drew it as he went, though you could sketch in pencil first (which is erasable!) and then burn over those lines.

Note: there are some safety considerations here, obviously.  One of them is keeping an eye on your child if they try this.  And I recommend doing this in a nice green grassy area that is not prone to catching fire.  Another is protecting yourself from the sun.  He wore a jacket with a hood, since he sat with his back to the sun for about 2 hours to make this.  Too bad he didn't think to put on pants instead of shorts.

Voila!  Wood burning with no specialty tools necessary except a cheap dollar-store plastic magnifying glass!

 
 
Just because nobody ever objects to more reasons to eat chocolate, here's a different kind of post.

This week there was a lot of news out of the chocolate universe...

Several manufacturers have been playing with their chocolate, and have discovered that they can add nutrition without affecting flavor or texture much.  You may soon be seeing chocolate with added:

Calcium, vitamins D3 and K, and extra antioxidants

Probiotics  (Barry Callebaut has already released a product with this)

Fiber (for satiety) + stevia + chocolate = diet food!

Mmm... where do I sign up?