Cinco recap: tamale in a bowl and yummy sangria

Quite nice of Cinco de Mayo to fall on a Saturday.  After one of the best yoga classes in my life (hot vinyasa with a guest instructor on hand for adjustments and a little Thai massage in a super hot full room) and a quick necessary shower Sara and I headed to opening day at the Broad Ripple Farmer's Market.  We were so excited for the produce, of course but also for frozen tamales from Feast in Bloomington for our Cinco de Mayo lunch.  Plus we were going to stock the freezer because I had all kinds of cash from selling back her textbooks.  So exciting!  But after two laps we came to the crushing realization that we did not miss Feast, they just weren't there for opening day.  So we chatted up Farm Indy about their CSA which I am seriously considering this growing season because I can pick up our share on Thursdays and then supplement on Saturdays at the market.  We sampled.  We bought some lovely greens for salads.  And we headed home by way of Whole Foods to get what we might need for our own tamale lunch, we'd make all the ingredients and eat them out of a bowl which would be supremely faster than soaking cornhusks, stuffing them and steaming tamales.  You could make it into a casserole just for appearances.

A little note about polenta:  it's just coarse corn meal.  In the South, they are grits.  In Italy, they become polenta.  The package says to cook for 30 minutes, but mine are always perfect after 15 minutes tops.  I just use 1 C coarse corn meal to 3 C water with a little kosher salt (1/2 tsp) and olive oil (1 T).  I've covered this before, but they are a new favorite at my house.  So good with grilled or roasted vegetables.

Tamales in a Bowl, you could also chop everything smaller for a truer feel to the dish

So that was just lunch at my house.  We still had the whole Cinco fest dinner to go.  Kelly and her traveling friend Robbie rolled in just before dinner after a road trip to Nashville, TN so of course we had Quinn join us.  I'm sure Robbie appreciated the balance instead of facing three Rogers women all alone.  Flank steak and chicken fajitas, guacamole, chips and pinto beans were served outside on the patio, party lights aglow in the trees, with sangria edging out margaritas for those of legal drinking age.  One of our Whole Foods Finds was a fabulous bottled sangria on huge discount, so we filled a big pitcher with chopped mango, chopped apple, lemon, lime and orange slices and poured in two bottles.  I still have a mason jar in the refrigerator if you'd like to try the combination.  Technical glitches, but it's Peppa Suprafruta Red Sangria.

Peppa Suprafruta Red Sangria

And since it became a party, right before dinner we mixed up a Texas sheet cake because it's a bit like Mexican chocolate with cinnamon as the surprise twist.  Not sure if it was the fresh baking powder or the guessing at the baking time (because dinner was on the grill and the stove at the same time and I just couldn't get back to the recipe to check) and being spot-on because it was the best one ever.  So moist.  Two days later there is not even a crumb left in the kitchen.  I've updated the post for it with an actual picture, so check it out.  The best part:  you use a mixing bowl, whisk, spoon, measuring cups and a little pan on the stove.  It's super easy.  30 minutes start to finish.  

Texas sheet cake

Tamales in a Bowl

one pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in tenders
olive oil
Sweet Mesquite seasoning or salt, cumin, chili powder
one bag butternut squash
one medium onion, chopped
one red peppers, cored and chopped
one or two mangos, chopped
sour cream, optional
mango salsa or salsa verde, optional
lime, optional
1 C polenta

Prepare polenta.  I use Bob's Mill polenta (coarse corn grits) adding 1 C of polenta to 3 C of water with a teaspoon or two of olive oil and maybe 1/2 a teaspoon of kosher salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring a few times until it's set about 10 minutes.
Toss chicken with a tablespoon of olive oil and 3 T of seasoning.  Heat grill.  Toss squash, onion and pepper with 1 T of olive oil and a little kosher salt.  Grill chicken 3-4 minutes per side over medium flame until done.  Grill vegetables on a grill pan or grill tray, stirring a couple of times for about 10 minutes.
Place polenta in the bottom of the bowl and top with chicken and vegetables.  Add in mango, cilantro and toppings you desire (mango or salsa verde, sour cream, squeeze of lime or even a little cheese).
If you'd rather serve it as a casserole, spray a baking pan and add a layer of polenta, top with chicken and vegetables (and cheese if you like) and spoon a layer of polenta on top.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes just to warm everything.

ingredients minus the polenta

peppers, squash and onions next to the chicken tenders

this is how you slice a mango

coming off the grill, next time I would chop my ingredients finer


Sara's bowl


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