28 December 2010

Flour Tortillas and quick meals...

I had these pictures from a while ago that I did and as you can see I'm only now getting around to blogging about it. I try to make most things that we eat - yes, sometimes I go overboard but that is what makes life interesting. There are also times when life is short and you don't want to spend all day in the kitchen. I have my cheat meals as I call them who doesn't? But on the weekends I try to prepare everything I can to control what goes into our food.

This night I made my own flour tortillas. Yes, they come all prepared for you but have you had a look at the ingredients list? They are full of things I cannot pronounce - much less spell! This simple recipe is what I'm sure they should be like. I've come a long way in making these - in that I've at least gotten better at rolling them out and not inventing new swear words when they won't come off the counter! I then had what I call a brain fart - yes, funny. Brain fart = practical idea that should have occurred to me but hadn't because I was so intent on getting done what I was doing in the first place.

I cannot remember where I found this recipe but for me it seems to work and trust me once you have them you'll know why you make them and don't buy them! I admit I still buy the prepared kind but I usually only have one pack handy for week day cooking emergencies. J far prefers the home made kind and once you get over the idea of what the other prepared variety tastes like (rather the same as adjusting to your own home made bread) you'll dream of these!

Flour Tortillas
3 cups of flour (all-purpose)
2 teaspoons baking powder (US kind)
1 teaspoon salt (I cut this to 1/2 as I use sea salt)
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons vegetable lard

In a food processor or bowl add the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut or process the vegetable lard into the flour. Once incorporated (you shouldn't see the lard like you do when make pie dough) you can add the warm water to the mixture and mix until it all comes together. It should be a smooth ball of dough - similar to the smoothness that you get when kneading bread. Divide into 8 even portions of dough and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes covered.
I roll them into balls and I use two flexible cutting mats and begin to roll it out with a rolling pin. I usually begin with the dough on one side of the mat - making it as flat as I can with my fingers and the top the other mat. I then use the rolling pin to flatten it out more and turn the mat around to keep it as round as I can. Don't worry if it's all out of whack - no one is going to be marking your dinner!
I then have a cast iron pan that I found at a boot sale that while not something I can cook on or in (as there's no lip to the pan) I remove the top flexible mat from the tortilla and then slowly peel the tortilla away from the other mat. Granted this takes some work and trust me you get used to it but if you rip it you can always begin again and if it goes all misshaped well that's just how it goes! Remember no grading!Put on the pan that's been heated thoroughly - you don't want to begin this on a cold pan! Using a spatula (I use one that used to decorate cakes but now does duty as tortilla/crepe turner) and flip it over after about 1-2 minutes - the hotter the pan the shorter time it will be on there.
As you can see the tortilla gets small brown spots - this is how it should be. It will also be much more dense than the kinds that are pre-packaged. For two of us we each have two tortillas and I cook the others up and use parchment paper to keep them free of each other (those parchment circles work great!) and wrap in foil. They keep for about 3-4 days in the fridge and I then just microwave them for 30-45 seconds on high and fill them with whatever I have left over. Usually I make enough fajitas filling for two meals so that I have a quick dinner on a working night.

Do give them a try - they really are great and so easy to make. Enjoy!


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