Tortillas

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One of my absolute favorite things to eat is a homemade flour tortilla. I make these for my self a couple times a week. Obviously only using a fraction of the recipe below since I don’t need to make that many tortillas for one person. A tortilla is versatile enough that you can eat them with just about anything or just on its own (midnight snack of left over tortillas if there are any left overs).

While Hannah was visiting she confessed that while she had rolled plenty of tortillas in her life she has never actually made the tortilla dough from scratch! Well, it was time to fix that.

Here is a recipe that was passed down from my grandmother. My grandmother was a hispanic woman that had 12 children. She was always in the kitchen cooking and making sure everyone was well fed. My aunts are also master tortilla makers and they actually make their tortillas round. Mine are decidedly not round, but it doest help to use a tapered rolling pin.

Flour Tortillas:

  • 4 Cups all purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp table salt
  • 3 Tbsp oil (technically vegetable oil but I often grab a mild olive oil)
  • 1 1/3 Cups cold water

Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl or on the counter top. Once it comes together in a ball, if mixing in a bowl transfer to the counter top, continue kneading the dough ball a good 5 minutes, making the dough smooth and elastic. Cover the dough with a very damp cloth and let rest for 1 hour or longer. (If you are feeling particularly impatient or don’t have an hour to wait, use lukewarm water and cut the resting time in half).dsc_0016

Heat a (flat) cast iron griddle (called a comal) on medium high heat. Once warm, lower the heat to medium. The trick will be finding the temperature where the tortillas cook quickly enough that they don’t become crackers but not so fast that they burn before they are cooked.

Depending on the size of your skillet form roughly 15 – 20 balls. Now start rolling! IMG_7727IMG_7730

Once you have a rolled out tortilla place this on the warmed comal, flipping once so not to burn them.

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Once cooked, place the tortilla in a fresh kitchen cloth to keep warm and chewy. Serve with pretty much anything that you want, smeared with avocado and a bit of salt; filled with steak, chicken and veggies for a fajita; with a full New Mexican feast of enchiladas, beans and rice; smeared with butter and your favorite jam. So many possibilities!

 

 

 

Tamales

If you didn’t know,I have a bit of hispanic in me. My version of comfort food is New Mexican food and that usually means beans, chili and homemade flour tortillas. If we are introducing our version of New Mexican food to the unsuspecting Dutch dinner guests we usually opt for an enchilada and mexican rice along side of the beans and tortillas.

It is normal for me to have to bring over red and green chili since there is nothing that comes close in the Netherlands. Recently my father brought over some corn husks and masa harina especially for me make tamales.

Masa harina is a type of corn flour if you will. But this is not just your run of the mill corn flour, it is actually a dried and powdered form of corn dough. Masa Harina is made by treating the corn with a slaked lime solution, the process is termed nixtamalization. If you want to know more bout the process and how exactly they turn corn into masa harina please google this since I do not understand the chemistry enough to explain it. End result is that powdered dough form looks like corn flour but by adding water and giving it a good stir it becomes a dough and used for making corn tortillas or in my case tamales.

I have had my fair share of tamales at family gatherings but had never tried making them myself. They turned out fantastic! There are plenty of recipes out there on how to make these so I won’t go into detail about it but show you the pictures.

Before the folding of the tamales I slow cooked some pork with onion, garlic and a bit of red chili powder. Then shredded the pork and added even more red chili powder. Making the masa harina just requires water and fat, most recipes call for lard or shortening but since I did not have any of that I just used the fat I skimmed from the pork. All that was left to do was smear a thin layer of corn dough on a corn husk that had soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, fill with the chili and meat, then fold and tie.

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I steamed the tamales for about 30 min and served with some beans, tomatoes and avocados. Lucky me, I had leftover tamales to throw in the freezer and rewarm for a easy and delicious midweek meal. They were so good I am already planning my next tamale making session, I just have to be careful of running out of my scarce corn supplies until I get another visitor from New Mexico to bring me some goodies.