Not much holiday in this long weekend, but i am delighted to announce that i can make tamales! I made up my folding method and watched how-to videos while they were steaming. This may not be the most efficient order, but it is an effective learning practice. "Oh, that's how you cope with that!" i note in some points, where other places in various practices seem more like ritual than necessity. Mine didn't take nearly as long to cook as some of these folks cook theirs.
I indulged in lots of time standing in the kitchen roasting peppers on a dry cast iron pan. I wasn't quite patient enough to then peel them completely, but it was a reasonable simulacrum of fire roasted peppers. I've also come up with the idea of Chile Relleno tamale which may feature prominently next time around.
I want to come up with an appetizer sized tamale that i can serve at meeting instead of half sandwiches when i get my turn to do lunch for Meeting for business, something small that one can eat out of the husk. I've also since found a recipe that uses semi-frozen olive oil as the fat: i used a solid vegetable oil. I'm fascinated as two of the videos i watched used melted lard. Why bother freezing the olive oil?
The biggest horror i saw in the videos was a woman who wrapped her corn husk wrapped tamales in wax paper. No! One of my motivations and delights in learning to make tamales is that gluten protein is also steamed in a similar way, and the instructions had me wrapping in foil. Wrapping in cornhusks is such a sustainable cooking practice that i want to extend it wherever i can.
One of my other victories this weekend was rescuing the 32 MB SD card in my phone. Not a technical trick, just the maintenance of copying the data off, reformatting, and copying back. I was happy to see that the disk maintenance software on my mac pronounced it irrevocably broken and recommended reformatting as it gives me some confidence that i have, indeed, solved the issue that caused my phone to "loose" the card periodically.
Over the past few days Christine and i watched Bletchley Circle, which i heartily recommend. I did find the intensity of watching intelligent women struggling in the male dominated mundanity of the post war years to be terribly painful. The horror of the serial killer was nothing compared to the gut-punch of the police commissioner threatening one of the women that he would tell her husband what she was up to (solving a mystery). I ached with the depictions of the limits, and wonder if the show's depiction makes the limits painfully clear for all watchers or if it is just a horror of my own that i bring. (I have similar issues with Contact. I can't remember it now, i just remember it was too close to my graduate school experience to bear watching again.)
We watched Europa Report last night, at JWZ's recommendation. There's a certain quality of Blair Witch in Space Project to the production, but i only found implausible one bit of filming (wouldn't the camera have been down while the power to the command module was down?) and some incredibly quick data transmissions with Earth. It was satisfying and well done, despite my snark.