I've always had a problem with tamales. They tend to be a little bland, no? Too much flavorless dough, not enough filling, and maybe the filling is some overstewed meat with some chili thrown in that adds heat but not much flavor. You always have to add something to your tamale to make it more palatable. I decided to take matters into my own hands. Be the change you want to see? I'll start with tamales.
Bob's Red Mill makes a pretty good masa flour, yellower and with more of a corn taste than Maseca. And then I splurged on Flying Pigs Farm lard. Then I poured in some of my homemade chicken stock. I'm not saying every tamale should be made this way, but why not see how much better they can get? Next time I'm trying coconut oil.
For the filling I made some birria, a lamb stew from Guadalajara, where my dad was born and raised. You marinate lamb braising cuts (with some pork, if you want) in chiles and spices, then roast for hours and hours. Not all of my cooking experiments work, but this one did!
Jasper's requested some carrot cake for dessert -- as in, literally looks like a carrot. I ended up with something that resembles a stubby Colorado clay-soil-grown carrot.