28 June 2011

Handmade Tortillas + A Delicious Tart

Just last post, I had made pitas from scratch, just-in-time for the meal. This week, I did the same with corn tortillas. Both of these are members of a very illustrious family of bread products - ComesInALargePackThatGoesBadBeforeICanEatThemAll. They are from Qwlghm, you see, where last names are much more descriptive than your Continental sensibilities may prefer. If time goes on, I may be forced to make the last member of the family--hot dog buns--though I don't think they can be made with as short of a notice as tortillas. Which, by the way, can be made with about 30 minutes of warning and very little work. They don't necessarily look pretty, though, but the taste is there.
Also, it only requires two ingredients, one of which you are sure to have handy. The other might require visiting a specialty food store, or one with a large bulk selection, but can be purchased in large quantities.  To go with the tortillas, E made a salsa fresca with tomato, corn, onion, and lime. There was no cilantro to be found at the grocer, so it lacked the kick one would expect. This wasn't helped by myself, chef of the main course, which was... unseasoned beans and rice. Now, these were delicious beans but still lacking in kick. I couldn't bring myself to use Sriracha on the meal, but red pepper flakes worked in a pinch.
There was also the matter of dessert. It being berry season made this a rather easy decision, and after searching around a bit we ended up with this crumble recipe. The reason? It said "Oatmeal" in the title, and I love oatmeal. Seems to be a good recipe selection tool, that. We quartered the recipe linked, which was hard with the salt and cinnamon, and also left out the almond extract (didn't notice). We used less sugar than requested (about 1 cup if doing the full recipe) due to a 50/50 split of raspberries and ridiculously sweet blackberries. It cooked in ramekins; one for myself, one for E, and one split for breakfast the next day. A good amount of dessert, though the cooling time was unbearable with the smell in my kitchen.
Corn Tortillas
Makes 2 tortillas (enough for one person, recipe easily scales)
1/4 cup masa harina
2 tbsp + 1 tsp hot water
pinch of salt
cast iron pan

In a small bowl, combine the masa harina and water and mix with a spoon. It won't quite form into a cohesive ball but should rather clump up. When squeezed by hand, it should form into one piece. If it is sticky at all, consider adding more flour. If it doesn't squeeze into a ball by hand, add a pinch of water at a time until it does. If making enough for one, you can lazily knead it in your hands. If making more, knead on an unfloured work surface. The first time we cooked them, they were a tad on the dry side; when I tried again the next night, they were too sticky. Based on this, I'll say the consistency you should aim for is kneads fine, but when you fold it back over itself it may rip a little instead of stretching.
The dough dries out very quickly, you can always let it sit a bit longer to dry it out. After kneading, put it in something covered for at least 20 minutes. Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat until it is warm. If you have a tortilla press, use it. Otherwise, tear off a golf-ball-ish chunk, roll it between your hands into a ball and flatten slightly. Between two pieces of plastic wrap, carefully roll the ball out into something resembling a tortilla. If the dough is too wet, it will stick and get ruined. Transfer to pan and cook for about 10-30 seconds, then flip it. Cook for a minute, then flip back to the original side and cook for up to a minute longer. Keep warm, or eat quickly, as it will harden if you let it cool.

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