Well, friends, I told you when I started this blogging project that I would share everything – the good, the bad and the ugly. I must confess that yesterday was NOT my favorite day. Despite the happy faces you see in the pictures, this adventure lasted ALL DAY and cost me my sanity. Well, at least for the day. The majority of my sanity has returned this morning and I have lived to tell you the tale of the tortilla (mis)adventure.
Tortillas have always been a staple in our home. Whatever we had for dinner last night gets put on a tortilla, sprinkled with cheese, and made into a quesadilla for lunch. (Meat loaf quesadillas, anyone?) Because we eat a lot of them, I like to make sure the ones we buy are the healthiest possible. Unfortunately, organic, or even all natural tortillas are not available in the supermarkets in the city we live in. Have you ever looked at the ingredients on a package of tortillas? On the ones we have in our deli drawer right now, there are fifteen. FIFTEEN?! Most of those are unpronounceable. I always knew the basic ingredients of a tortilla were very simple, so I thought (ever so foolishly), “What a great project to do with the boys!” I had grand visions of delicious, handmade tortillas that I would make once a month and freeze. I would be saving money and putting healthy food in my family’s bellies (Hello, mom of the year!)
This, my friends, will NOT be my reality. And so the adventure begins….
Our first stop on Wednesday morning was to the local Mexican Grocery Store. This is, by far, is the best part of our adventure. There we met Miguel, a very nice man who will become a friend of our family, I’m certain. (If I were a more dedicated blogger, you’d be looking at a picture of Miguel. I’m too self-conscious to ask strangers for pictures, so you’ll have to use your imagination.) We needed a tortilla press (a tool used to flatten the balls of tortilla dough), and although they were out of stock, the conversation was more than worth our time. He asked me why we were making tortillas and what we were making them with. He gave me some tips, and told me that his store offered made-from-scratch Mexican street tacos every Thursday afternoon. He also showed me the homemade tortillas available in the freezer that he claimed were the best available. Our discussion turned to our time in Bolivia, which led to him offering to order some frozen Maracuya (Passion Fruit) pulp that I miss so much from our time there.
I’m so glad I have a time machine, and I can go back to that moment and say, “Ok, great! Well, I will completely abandon this homemade tortilla idea and just buy the ones that very gifted culinary artisans with years of experience have made instead!” Oh, wait. My time machine is in the shop. So the adventure continued.
We found a tortilla press at another store, so we bought it, went home, and immediately got to work (ironically, after a lunch of store-bought tortillas and turkey).
We decided to make both corn and flour tortillas, partly because of the aforementioned temporary insanity, and partly because my husband prefers flour and they really hold up better for leftover quesadillas.
Below are the three (THREE) ingredients used in corn tortillas:
We mixed by hand. This was pretty fun for the ninjas.
And this was the completed corn tortilla dough, which had to sit for an hour.
While the corn tortilla dough sat, we started the flour dough. Again, such simple ingredients:
The recipe called for a stand mixer for this one, so after working on our measuring skills, we whipped up the flour tortilla dough in a jiffy.
We cut the dough into equal parts, rolled it into balls, and then the fun part: pressing it with our new tortilla press! (For a fun instructional video by Ninja Chase, see our Facebook page.)
Here’s where it gets a little hairy: the cooking process. Seems simple enough: heat your pan over medium high heat, cook the tortilla dough for 30 seconds to one minute on each side, and voila! You are supermom.
- I couldn’t get the temperature right.
- So I may have ruined my favorite ceramic coated nonstick pan.
- So I switched to my best stainless steel pan.
- Which I also may have ruined.
- All the tortillas were different sizes.
- Due to the extreme heat of the pan, I was a nervous wreck with the kids at the stove and I got very controlling and irritable.
And in addition:
- The Ninjas are “totally over it” by this point.
- So they are arguing.
- And the kitchen is a floury disaster.
- And it’s in the mid-nineties.
- And I’m standing over a really hot pan.
- Over. And over. And over.
The results were fair. The flavor of the tortillas was okay, but the tortilla press didn’t get them thin enough so they were more like pita bread. Some were doughy, some were scorched. (The process was very similar with the corn tortilla dough, so I will spare you the details.)
After all the frustration and drama of this day, I realized my husband would be home in an hour and I still had to plan and make dinner. I knew I had to redeem the day somehow by incorporating these oddly sized and shaped, doughy/scorched pita-like “tortillas” into the meal. I had two chicken breasts thawed in the fridge that needed to be eaten, so after a quick Pinterest search I came up with this recipe. I had my handsome husband run by the store to pick up some ripe avocados, and an hour later, this was on the table.
It was pretty good. And I got the head nod from Will, which is his highest form of culinary flattery.
In conclusion, I am pretty sure I will be making monthly trips to our closest Whole Foods (about two hours away) to stock up on tortillas. But I am happy that we met Miguel, and that we have a source for some really great Latin American ingredients.
Anyone want to buy a tortilla press?
Hey, friends! Due to Facebook’s increasingly frustrating algorithms, most of you who liked our Facebook page are not seeing the updates. They want me to pay for you to see them, and as I don’t make any money from this blog, that is a financial impossibility. So would you do me a favor? Would you choose to “get notifications” for our page? I promise I won’t overwhelm you and that way you won’t miss a thing. Thanks in advance!