Monday, April 7, 2008

Tortilla Girl

We start our post today by acknowledging the charming insouciance of Self-Installing Cat Accessory (with Optional Camera-Flash Eye Enhancement!) Module One as he claims a drawer, approximately twenty minutes before said drawer claimed my arm the other day.

He is adorable. *grin* And oh yes, the bruise is tender but the goose-egg is shrinking. My hand works again although my arm still gets tired.

Here we have Shave Dog, all curled up on the floor. Notice that although she was uniformly punkin-pie colored before, now that she is shaved her true colors come out. Gryph is charmed by the black stripe down her back... and I confess, I always have been too. She is all curled up because they turned our heat off for the summer.

It is, I must say, the very first summer *I* have experienced with nightly windchills below freezing. *tart look*

I am taking the Greyhound bus to Phoenix on Wednesday and will arrive on Thursday for a week's visit with my Mom. This necessitates a certain amount of cooking ahead, and so today I am Tortilla Girl. Tortillas are one of those foods that I had always thought of as mysterious, something completely foreign to my experience and no doubt incredibly difficult to master.

Heh. Tortillas are peasant food, and peasants do not have time to mess with esoteric and difficult dishes; they're hungry, after all, and tired from a long day's work.

Here is my recipe for tortillas.

  • 2 cups flour, plus up to 1 additional cup
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons shortening (butter)
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • extra flour for rolling

At least thirty minutes and up to half a day before you plan to start cooking tortillas, make the dough. Mix the dry ingredients together (reserving the additional cup of flour and the extra flour for rolling) and cut in the shortening. Mix in the water. Add additional flour as needed until you have a smooth ball of bread dough which does not stick to your hands. Knead five minutes; let rest in covered plastic container.

When you are ready to make the tortillas, heat a dry skillet on medium heat. I prefer cast iron; avoid Teflon or Silverstone--they will be ruined from the dry heat. Pinch off small balls of dough (approximately pecan size) and make into round smooth balls. Keep them in the plastic container until you are ready for them.

Roll each ball with a rolling pin and plenty of extra flour until it is very smooth and thin. (I can see the pattern on my formica countertop through mine.) Be patient and do not be stingy with the flour. Don't worry if the tortillas are not exactly round--mine were a sight at first!! Every shape you could imagine!!--they will get rounder with practice. The thinner you make them, the better.

Remember to use enough flour. *smiling* As you gain experience, you can increase the size of the dough balls to get bigger tortillas.

Cook each tortilla in the hot skillet until bubbles form on the surface, then flip and cook a moment more. Watch them carefully; they burn quickly--but make sure you let them cook through. If they have translucent yellowish places when they cool down, they are not done and can be reheated to finish them.

It takes a while to get the rhythm of rolling the dough on the counter and flipping the tortilla in the pan so that you keep a steady stream of new tortillas coming and don't burn them. Start slow and don't worry about how long it takes, until you have cooked a few and can time them.

Stack them on a plate as they come out of the skillet. Periodically turn the stack upside down as you work, so that the bottom ones do not become soggy. This stack was 2 1/2 inches tall when I finished, approximately 47 tortillas from a double batch of dough. And yes, yes I did use a ruler. *wink*

When you have finished, cover the plate, stack and all, with aluminum foil. Store your tortillas on the counter. You should have between 18 and 24 (depending on the size of your original dough balls). Any that are still there the second day can be frozen or refrigerated; wrap them in a paper towel and store in a plastic bag.

I made a pan of pecan brownies today, too. Lunch was brownies *whistling innocently* so I am CERTAINLY ready for supper! Mexican food, anyone?

No comments:

Post a Comment

So... what do you think?