Monday, September 27, 2010

Pam Anderson's Tamale Pie and (kind of) a Cookbook Review

Pam Anderson and her girls, Maggy and Sharon, are some of the nicest people I've ever not met. They are friendly, open, and run a rocking web site at Check it out. My feelings won't be hurt if you don't come back here. I don't blame you.

Pam's latest cookbook, Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All you Need for Easy Get-Togethers, came out recently, and I snagged a copy immediately. She has said that as she's gotten older, she finds herself leaning toward simpler, lower-fuss fare for company - exactly the direction I'm leaning. I've been hosting dinners at 305 (and our previous domociles) for 20 years now, and I guess I'm old and tired. I no longer get as big a kick out of spending an entire day preparing a multi-course, intimidating Wonder Meal. I'd much rather prepare something less time-consuming and get on with other things. Like my blog, or practicing Radiohead songs on my ukulele. For that, this book is perfect.

Also, now that we're entering the kayak camping season, (please, let it cool off soon), we need some new one-dish meals that we can make ahead, vacuum seal and freeze solid for reheating at the campsite. Again, for that, this book is perfect.

And, here's our weather today.
over 9 inches of rain by 6:00 PM

And for that, this book is perfect.

Look how warm and inviting!

I've already made the Coq au Vin Blanc, and it was wonderful. That one is definitely going in our kayak camping arsenal.

Pam thoughtfully provides easy appetizers, salads, and dessert recipes to accompany each main dish, as well as easier suggestions for all if you really want to strip it down to basics. I haven't seen a clunker in the lot. Not that I'd expect to, of course. She's a professional. And an excellent one, at that.

Tonight, given the weather, I thought I'd give the Tamale Pie a whirl.

It has simple ingredients, most of which I have around here in some form. I got started putting it together about 5:30. I'm not posting the recipe here, because I think you should go buy this book. Unless you are someone I purchase Christmas gifts for, in which case, you should have stopped reading a couple of sentences ago.

On a side note, I opened my utensil drawer and look what I found? Guess who put the dishes away last time?


In his defense, he came in and turned the handles round for me. That's my sweet Pootie!
I made a couple of modifications based on what I had and my own predilections. I don't think Pam would care. I didn't have canned olives - we had the ginormous tub of Kalamata olives from Costco, so I used those. And Pam suggests if you want onions on this, to chop them and put them on top raw. Uh... no. I just can't do it. So I sauteed them. Once everything for the tamale pie was mixed together - ground turkey, olives, green chilies, salsa, onion, and pinto beans, I mixed up the cornmeal mush.

It starts out like this...

And rapidly changes to this.
Then it's a matter of putting the whole thing together and topping it with cheddar cheese. I used lowfat. No, of course it's not as good as regular.

I finished about 5:45. And I'd done a load of laundry and fed Dinky while the turkey was browning. This beauty goes in the oven and comes out like this:

Although Pam's looks better, of course.

I served ours over lettuce, for a kind of taco salad-ish effect, because I didn't feel like making a separate one. No, it was not gross. It was good. Don't be rude.

Definitely add this cookbook to your shopping list, wish list, Christmas list, whatever - get it. All of the meals in here are company-worthy, and you'll spend less time in the kitchen and more with your company. Or writing your blog. Or playing your Ukulele.

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