Why? Because it was inedible. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I planned out our menu the night before - and I'll admit it has some repeats, but one of them is from so long ago you guys don't remember, and the other one is because there just aren't enough side dishes in The Cookbook. Anyway, I know you are very forgiving about my lack of regard for my own rules. I planned it out, and AMAZINGLY the shopping went incredibly smoothly - at least as far as our shopping usually goes. So I was fully prepared to make some awesomeness to present to my parents.
First off, I made Tamale Pie. Courtesy of Jody. Here's the recipe:
1 T veggie oil
1 Onion, chopped well
2 Cloves garlic
3 T Chile POWDER
1 1/2 tsp Cumin
1 Can diced tomatoes with the juice
1 Can whole kernel corn
1 Can black beans, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper to taste
1 C water
3 1/2 C Cornmeal
1 tsp Salt
guacamole (Holy Guacamole recipe here)
Heat the veggie oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté until clear. Add the garlic, chile powder and cumin and mix well, sauté for a minute or so. Add the Tomatoes, with juice, beans, corn and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Bring it just to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer while you prepare the crust.
Whisk the water, cornmeal and salt in a medium pot. Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat and whisk constantly until thickened - about 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9 inch square pan. Spread about 3/4 of the crust mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Pour the bean mixture on top. Spread the rest of the crust mixture on top - don't worry if it doesn't cover the beans completely.
Cook in the oven for about 30 minutes. If you want cheese, sprinkle it over the top after about 25 minutes, then let it cook the rest of the time. Top with your choice of toppings.
And here's the picture.
It looks gorgeous, doesn't it? All that cheese melted on the top - the sprinkle of cilantro... I was seriously looking forward to biting into some delicious Mexican inspired black bean and tomatoey yumminess. We began the meal with gusto - it looked so tantalizing. From the moment the very first bit of food touched my tongue, I knew I was in trouble. I drank an entire glass of milk after just two bites. My eyes were watering, my upper lip was sweating, and I was fairly positive I didn't even HAVE sinuses anymore... What was wrong with this food? Was it just me? Am I that much of a wimp? I doused it in sour cream and poured more milk. I forged ahead, dreading the heart burn I knew was coming - most likely before the end of the meal. I looked at my father, taking his first bite. His eyes went large as he chewed. "Holy Moley!" And I knew I hadn't lost it.
My dad prides himself on his ability to "handle" spice. See, long ago, when they carved writings into stone tablets and hunted mammoths with spears, he lived in Mexico for two years. Ok, not THAT long ago. But definitely before electricity and indoor plumbing. TWO whole years. Ok, so it wasn't THAT long ago either. But they did NOT have internet or cell phones, and THAT'S a fact. So, naturally, after living in Mexico for two whole years he became a bit of an authority on all things Latino, Mexican, Hispanic, and otherwise south of the border. Not only did he return home with the annoying habit of turning everyday, commonly used phrases into some kind of hybrid English/Spanish accent - things like DORITOS, for instance, became "Dorrrrrritosss" (with a rolled r and a soft t and snappy little o cut off with the sssss) and he could speak completely normally until he came up against something even slightly latino in nature, for instance, "the weather in NeecahRAHgwah is horrible right now" - BUT he also returned home with a distinct taste for Mexican heat. He liked spice, and enjoys testing his limits.
Therefore, a "holy moley" from my dad in response to MY cooking tells me it must be quite spicy. And no, I'm not entirely wimpy. Why? Why was this dinner so very, very intolerable? Then I remembered that little ingredient up there. You know, the Chile Powder.
And I am here to tell you - with conviction - that Chile Powder is not at all the same thing as Chile Pepper.
No, no, it is not. As I sat, crying into my cornmeal and black beans due to spice overload I remembered clearly as day: I read the directions that told me to add the Chile Powder. I went to the spice drawer. I pulled out the Chipotle Chile PEPPER. I proceeded to put in the FULL amount called for. I remember thinking, "Huh. That's a whole lotta chile pepper. Maybe I should skimp." But I didn't. Because, doggoneit, I was following those directions.
And that is the story of why we could not eat our dinner. We tried. We put forth a valiant effort. But not one of us could finish. Even dad. Rest assured that the dish would be scrumptious if actually made properly. I think. It was hard to tell between bouts of pain and my sinuses draining. I will try it again, though. Once we've all recovered from our scars and trauma.
I DID, however, make Green Chile Rice as well. Which was delicious. This is a repeat, but I didn't post the recipe before. So here it is:
Green Chile Rice
1 C rice
2 C chicken broth
1 can green chiles
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
3 Green onions, chopped
Preheat oven to 350. Mix the ingredients together in a bowl. Pour it into a 9x13 pan. Cook for about an hour, or until the rice is done.
AND another repeat - which totally isn't COMPLETELY breaking the rules, because it WAS in the cookbook (even if I put it there), and I haven't made it in FOREVER. Chocolate Pudding Cakes by Martha Stewart. You can find THAT recipe HERE. Please ignore the ugly pictures - that was a long time ago. Oh, and there's no picture of it from last night. After eating that tamale stuff, I'm lucky I still had eyes left, let alone remembering to take a picture.
I take solace in the fact that I am making all of you feel so much better about yourselves lately.