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Something that has become very important to me is developing a sense of community for me and my kids.  Community has sort of always taken a back burner to our other pursuits, namely building, nurturing and growing a career.

We've moved many many many times in order for The Chef to be able to take the jobs we felt were critical in the early days of his career.  In fact, M1 went to a different school every year of his life until he was in fifth grade.  At that point we felt he'd been uprooted enough and we promised that this would be the last move we would make until he graduated high school.

He's a sophomore now, and what I realize is that I've set down roots.  My own family has moved 1500 miles away and suddenly they're no longer the magnet that draws me back home.  I have to make my own home, and in a lot of ways, my own family.

I'm so lucky that I've found a group of friends that are so much more than friends to me.  They're truly the family I would choose if I got to go out and hand-pick them, and I guess, that's exactly what I did.  They care about me and they're concerned about my kids and they go above and beyond to be supportive in ways that I don't even think they understand are so important to me and The Chef.  For instance, we're in Chicago, an area jam packed with restaurants of every type, and yet when it's a special occasion (or even if they're just going out to dinner) they make a point of going to The Chef's restaurant.

So, in that spirit, the kids and I were invited to our friends home to make tamales with their family and several of their friends.  There was such a sense of community and family that when we discovered that M1 hadn't memorized the poem that he needed to recite as part of his English final exam (THE NEXT DAY) that we all worked with him to memorize it while we made the tamales.  Sounds exactly like family.

My assignment was to bring the green chile sauce to go with the tamales.  I've never made green chile sauce, so I turned to good old google and found a recipe that sounded like it would work.  Let me tell you, it did more than work!  It was dee-yish-iss, as M2 would say!  My entire house smelled like a Mexican restaurant while it was cooking, and unfortunately because I was making it the day before and had nothing to put it on I had to wait an entire day before I got to truly enjoy it... but it was worth the wait!

I mostly chatted and didn't really take part in the tamale making so I can't really tell you exactly  how to do it, but I did take pictures and there are a million places online that can tell you how to do it.  What I will say is that you should gather your group of special people and try it out.  It doesn't have to be tamales, it can be anything that requires a bunch of hands to make it and mouths to eat it.  It's a great way to spend the day!

-The Baker



  • Recipe from Epicurious.com
    (my changes are in italics)
    • 1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed
    • 4 - 3" long serrano chiles, stemmed, chopped (I roasted mine over an open flame to develop a little more flavor)
    • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 1/2 T olive oil
    • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
    • 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    1. preheat broiler
    2. line heavy baking sheet with foil (I lined my pan with parchment paper); arrange tomatillos on prepared sheet
    3. broil until tomatillos blacken in spots, turning once, about 5 minutes per side
    4. transfer tomatillos and any juices on sheet to a food processor and cool  (I used a blender)
    5. add chiles and garlic to processor and blend until smooth puree forms
    6. heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat; add tomatillo puree and boil 5 minutes, stirring often; add broth (the broth must be unsalted or low salt because you're going to let the sauce reduce, if you start with salted broth the sauce will be too salty to eat by the time it reduces); reduce heat to medium; simmer until sauce coats spoon thickly and is reduced to 1 cup, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes
    7. season with salt
    8. can be made 1 day ahead; cover and chill
    Abbi
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    Sounds like fun and does look dee-yish-iss! Is that Jamie's goatee I see? I'm glad you've chosen us to be a part of your family. We certainly love having you all in our lives... We eagerly await the warmer/non-snowy weather. You have been missed this winter!!

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