Border Grill’s Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken stop by Access Hollywood Live for a Day of the Dead Dinner party.
Day of the Dead is a tradition of honoring departed loved ones with the food their favorite foods in life.
Green Corn Tamales
Makes 10 to 12 tamales, or 6 servings
10 ears fresh corn
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup quick cooking hominy grits
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch sugar, if the corn isn’t sweet
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salsa Fresca (see recipe below), for serving
Sour cream, for serving
Remove corn husks by trimming off both ends of cobs, trying to keep husks whole. Place largest husks in a pot of hot water and set aside to soak.
To make tamale filling, working over a bowl, run point of a sharp knife down center of each row of corn kernels, and then scrape cobs with dull side of knife to remove kernels.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Melt butter in a large, ovenproof skillet over moderate heat. Add grits and toast in butter for 1 to 2 minutes, and then add cream, corn, and its juices. Stir in baking powder, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and transfer to oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until mixture is thick. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and sweetness if necessary.
If serving tamale filling freestyle, remove from oven and spoon into a bowl or paper cone. Top with Salsa Fresca and sour cream and enjoy.
If making into tamales, remove from oven and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, drain the corn husks on paper towels. Make ties for the tamales by cutting a few of the husks into strips.
To stuff the tamales, overlap 2 or 3 husks and spread about 3 tablespoons of corn filling down the center. Fold over the sides and then the ends to enclose the filling. Tie with a corn husk string. Repeat with the remaining filling and additional corn husks.
In a steamer or a pot fitted with a rack, make a bed for the tamales with the remaining corn husks. Add the tamales and steam over low heat for 20 minutes. Remove from the steamer and let rest 10 minutes. Serve hot with Salsa Fresca and sour cream.
*If fresh corn is not available, you can easily substitute 5 cups high quality canned corn, drained and pureed. Instead of fresh corn husks for tamale wrappers, substitute 1 package dried corn husks. Before using, simmer husks in hot water 10 minutes, weight with a plate to keep submerged, and soak for 1 to 2 hours, until completely flexible.
Makes 2 cups, or 6 appetizer servings with chips
4 medium ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and finely diced
1/4 red onion, minced
2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded if desired, and minced
1 bunch cilantro, leaves only, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir and toss well, and serve. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator no more than 1 day.
Candied Pumpkin Ice Cream Sundaes
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 Mexican cinnamon stick
1/2 pound pumpkin or acorn squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 to 2 pints vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
Candied Pepitas (optional), for serving
Combine the water, brown sugar, and cinnamon stick in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid has reduced by about one-quarter and a light syrup forms, about 15 minutes. Add the pumpkin or squash, reduce the heat to very low, and simmer gently until the pumpkin is translucent, about 45 minutes.
If preparing in advance, remove the pumpkin from the syrup with a slotted spoon and store the pumpkin and syrup separately. When ready to serve, combine the pumpkin and syrup in a small skillet and reheat over low heat.
Just before serving, stir the heavy cream into the pumpkin syrup. Spoon over the ice cream, top with Candied Pepitas if desired, and serve.
1/2 cup raw, unsalted pepitas
1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave nectar
1 pinch salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small mixing bowl, combine pepitas, maple syrup, and salt. Spread mixture on a non-stick or parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden and caramelized. Be careful not to burn. Remove from oven and cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container.
For more tasty treats visit www.bordergrill.com.