(CBS News) Christy Vega Fowler is the owner of Casa Vega, a landmark Mexican restaurant in the Sherman Oaks area of California.
Vega Fowler's father, Rafael Vega, opened the restaurant in 1956 at the age of 22. Casa Vega was instantly a celebrity hangout, with regulars such as Marlon Brando and Cary Grant.
Before that, her grandparents opened Café Caliente on Olvera Street in downtown L.A. in the 1930s, making Vega Fowler the third generation Vega family member to work in the restaurant business in Los Angeles.
She graduated from Saint Mary's college with a degree in business administration and economics and took over the reins of Casa Vega four years ago when her father retired.
In 2010, Vega Fowler was named one of the "Top 40 Under 40" business professionals by the San Fernando Business Journal. She joins us with her ultimate dish, her grandmother's tamales
Sweet corn tamales(10 servings)
15 corn husks
3 3/4 cup of sweet corn, cut from the cob or frozen if not in season
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of flour
4 teaspoons of corn meal
3/4 cup butter
1 tsp baking powder
10 strips of cheddar cheese
10 small strips of freshly cooked, skinned and seeded Anaheim chilies (canned will work too)
1. In a large container, place the corn husks deep in hot water and cover for a couple hours until they are soft and pliable. Tip* you may need to weigh them down with an inverted plate and a heavy can to keep them submerged.
2. In a food processor, grind the corn and then add the sugar, flour, corn meal, butter and baking powder. Grind together very well making a massa.
3. Drain water from husks. One at a time, flatten out the husks with the narrow end towards you and place 3 oz of massa spread in the middle of the husk.
4. Add the strip of cheese and small strip of chili in the middle of the massa.
5.Take the left side of the husk and fold it directly over the right side. Fold the narrow bottom end of the husk onto the folded tamale. ** for parties and presentation you can tie with strip of corn husk when serving dry tamales.
6. As you are making the tamales, stand them up on their rolled ends in a prepared steamer basket. Steam over boiling water for approximately 30-40 minutes, until massa is firm and holds its shape. *tip: cover the tamales in the steamer with a layer of the left over corn husks. You can also fill empty spaces with gently wadded aluminum foil to prevent them from falling over.
7. Serve dry with tapatio and Mexican crema.
1 whole, cage-free, all natural chicken- cut into pieces (keep bones on for flavor)
1 small onion, chopped into large pieces
1/2 head of fresh, minced garlic
1 tablespoon salt
1. Immerse chicken in big pot of water. Then add onions, garlic and salt. Cover and set to medium heat.
2. Boil together for 35-40 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.
3. Once chicken is fully cooked, remove from water, cool to touch and debone.
4. Shred the chicken, place in large mixing bowl.
5. Pour flavoring salsa over chicken and mix with hands.
2 lbs all- natural chuck tender
1 small onion
1/2 head of garlic
1 tablespoon salt
1. Immerse beef in large pot of water. Add onions, garlic and salt and bring to a boil. As soon as water boils, reduce heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Let simmer for several hours. The meat should be medium rare when it's ready and shreds easily.
2. When beef is done, remove from pot and allow to cool slightly and then shred.
3. Place shredded beef in large mixing bowl. Pour in flavoring salsa and mix with hands.
Vegetable & cheese filling
10 strips of Monterey Jack cheese
10 small strips of cooked, skinned and seeded Anaheim chili
10 green olives
1. Once masa is spread on husk add a strip of cheese, chili and green olive in the middle.
2. Fold, cook and serve same as meat tamales.
15 corn husks
3 1/8 (25oz) massa (virgin)
1 tablespoon chili paste (recipe below) or store bough
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup water
Casa Vega chili paste
The chili paste is made with dried (no spicy/no seeds) California and dried Pasilla chilies. Soak in pot of hot water for 15 min and then grind into a paste.
1. In a large container, place the corn husks deep in hot water and cover for a couple hours until they are soft and pliable. Tip: you may need to weigh them down with an inverted plate and a heavy can to keep them submerged.
2. In an electric mixer add massa to the bowl. Then at medium-low speed add the following ingredients one at a time: chili paste, baking powder, salt, oil and water. Mix everything until it gets soft and heavy.
3. Drain water from husks. One at a time, flatten out the husks with the narrow end towards you and place 2.5oz (a little more than 1/4c- size of palm of hand) of massa on the middle of the corn husk, leaving a little more room at the bottom of the husk. Then add 1.5oz of meat filling in the middle of the massa.
4. Take the left side of the husk and fold it directly over the right side. Fold the narrow bottom end of the husk onto the folded tamal. ** for parties and presentation you can tie with strip of corn husk when serving dry tamales.
5. As you are making the tamales, stand them up on their rolled ends in a prepared steamer basket. Steam over boiling water for approximately 30-40 minutes until massa is firm and holds its shape. *tip: cover the tamales in the steamer with a layer of the left over corn husks. You can also fill empty spaces (if you have them) with gently wadded aluminum foil to prevent them from falling over.
6. In casa vega we serve them "oven-style": gently remove the tamal from the husk and plate. Cover with homemade enchilada sauce, sprinkle with cheddar & jack cheese and cook in hot oven for 2-3 min (until cheese is melted.)
7. At home we serve them dry. Let everyone unroll their own tamal and serve with tapatio and mexican crema.
1 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt to taste
Whisk in large mixing bowl. Cover and let sit at room temp for several hours. Serve or refrigerate until ready to use. Bring back to room temp before serving.
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp chili paste
1 cup water
1 tbsp chicken base
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1. Heat oil.
2. Add 4 tbsp flour and bring to a boil.
3. Next, add the chili paste, mix.
4. Pour in 1/2 cup cold water followed by 1/2 cup chicken broth.
5. Then in small mixing bowl, mix together the chicken base, cumin, garlic powder and remaining 1/2 cup water.
6. Pour mixture into sauce pan and simmer for 10 min