I made these about a week ago but since I've been having some hardware issues with my site I haven't been posting much.

I used to be one of those people that couldn't stand the smell of steamed corn mush but something happened after I started traveling to Mexico. Now when I smell Tamales I'm immediately transported to the streets of Mexico City where heavy duty trikes laden down with giant gas powered steamers hang over the front wheels with steam eaking out their lids troll the street markets looking for customers wanting to buy tamales for next to nothing. I also think of a woman on Calle de Motolinia with a charcoal fire in the bottom of a grocery cart selling fresh grilled food. There was always a line waiting to get her food. This is Mexico City and that smell of Tamales permeates the city (along with smog of course). Now when I smell steamed corn I smile. Anyway we made Tamales in my one remaining steamer. Overall they were pretty good but the corn only versions were a bit salty. The filling in the others was a mixture of shredded chicken, raisins, onion, garlic, roasted tomatoes and chiles and oregano. I can't take any credit for the recipe at all because I made it straight from Zarela Martinez' Food from the Heart cookbook. It was her grandmother's recipe and in my opinion if it was good enough for Zarela's grandmother then it's good enough for me.

A friend asked me if the recipe was authentic because of the raisins. Number one, I don't think there's

such a thing as authentic anything and yes, anyone familiar with Mole's know Mexicans use raisins in their food.

A while ago I was steaming pumpkin in my large double level steamer and later awoke to the fire alarms going off. I scorched it pretty bad but the metal wasn't warped or anything. Since I have figured out how to get it back to normal I resorted to using my smaller steamer with only one level. This means I needed to steam the tamales in two batches taking 2 hrs to finish. When I get my big steamer either fixed or replaced I'll revisit Tamales.