Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco de Mayo! Ole!

It is Cinco de Mayo today! Time to celebrate Mexican style! Ok, really, I am not Mexican in any way, shape or form, nor do I usually celebrate Cinco de Mayo. But the calendar said May 5 was going to be hitting this week, so I figured I could do something appropriately themed for dinner. I decided to make something I have never made before: corn tortillas.

Hubby and I love Mexican food. You have seen that we can happily make a meal of nachos...! I have made other types of "flat breads" before, but never actual tortillas. In order to make tortillas properly one must use masa harina. I didn't have this. I had corn meal, that would work, right? Well, no, not at all. Corn meal is made differently and has a completely different texture. So I had been looking for masa in the grocery stores, but wasn't having any luck. Yesterday, just in time, my luck changed. This was a sign, right? I was supposed to make tortillas!

Masa in hand, the rest of the ingredients were quite easy to come by. Water. That's it. Masa and water. Hot water, to be precise, but not too difficult there. I added the hot water to the masa, then covered the bowl and let it sit. I actually thought it looked pretty cool soaking through the flour. After about 20 minutes I mixed and kneaded the mixture, adding cool water by the tablespoonful to get the dough to the right consistency. I needed a bit more water than I had expected, but I guess this varies depending on the weather, where you are, etc. Once the dough was ready I rolled it into balls to press into rounds. I do not have a tortilla press. I used a sandwich baggie and a rolling pin instead. It worked pretty well, I must say! (Of course, after a few tortillas I realized I could use the bottom of a dinner plate and push down to get the balls to flatten into better circles... So I switched to that method!) Finally it was time to cook. I am always a little nervous when a recipe calls for cooking on a dry (ungreased) surface. But it worked the way it was supposed to. It is kind of silly how excited I got when the tortillas puffed up while cooking!
Now that I know how easy it is to make my own tortillas, and how versatile these home made ones are, I might not buy the premade ones again! I am thinking of turning the leftover ones into my own chips... We'll see if that happens!!
Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

Recipe source: Rick Bayless

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