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Casmar Catering Cranberries and Pecans Tamales

Source: Laredo Times, December 2001 - Adrienne A. Gonzalez and Diana R. Martinez - Casmar Catering, Laredo, Texas

The Christmas holidays are synonymous with tamales here in Laredo, and two local women have made this known to the entire state. Adrienne A. Gonzalez and Diana R. Martinez of Casmar Catering had one of their favorite tamale recipes published in this month's Texas Monthly. But these tamales are not the traditional bean or pork tamales; they are filled with cranberries and pecans! "We chose this recipe because it's very Christmasy," Gonzalez said. "The colors are very festive, and they go with the season."

Although Gonzalez and Martinez have been making tamales for years, they never expected to go as far as publishing their recipes, they said. "I really don't know how it happened," Martinez said. "I guess that someone who tasted our tamales must have told someone at Texas Monthly, and they were interested."

"I guess this issue was meant to tell people that there are other ways to make tamales, and they don't always have to be the traditional pork and chicken," Martinez said. Besides the one that was published, Gonzalez and Martinez said that they have other favorites as well. Among them are recipes for black bean tamales, jalape?os with cheese tamales, encilantrada tamales, pork and raisin tamales and portabella mushroom tamales. "These tamales are not only for lunch or dinner, they can be eaten for dessert as well," Gonzalez said. The women have been catering to Laredo clients for four years and they attribute their success to their culinary creativity. "We like to experiment and mix different types of ingredients," Martinez said. "You just have to think of what you like, and combine it with something else." And best of all, these talented women don't mind sharing their unique recipes.

1/2 cup chilled butter
1/2 cup chilled lard or vegetable oil
4 cups (2 pounds) dried Masa Harina for tamales
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup chopped pecans or pecan quarters
1 package dried corn shucks.

With an electric mixer beat the butter and lard together until fluffy.

In a separate bowl mix the Masa Harina, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add four cups of warm water and stir until the texture becomes like bread dough. Add the masa mixture in batches to the lard and butter mixture and beat until the texture is light. Fold in cranberries and pecans.

Make into tamales and steam until the husk separates cleanly from the masa (takes about two hours).

This makes one dozen tamales.



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