Last night, as with every Friday night, we have friends over for dinner here on the farm. This is usually the one night a week that I can cook without comment. You know the comments: “what did you put in here?” “what’s that green stuff” and my favorite, “are there sticks in here?”. But on Friday’s we have company so such questions would be rude. Why they aren’t rude every other night of the week, I don’t know. And I don’t know either why something I would cook on Wednesday night to a chorus of annoying comments is gobbled up happily on a Friday with not a word said. Let’s just say that I relish Friday nights.
This week I made steak tacos with salsa verde, lime wedges and a mixed green salad. I even threw a little curve ball at them and made whole wheat tortillas from scratch. My brother looked at them and said, dubiously, “Are these whole wheat?”. I couldn’t exactly tell him the truth because he would then have refused to eat them so I said with a blank smile “They’re unbleached.”
I’ve made homemade tortillas twice now. I found a recipe that is absolutely delicious and easy. Making the dough is no problem, rolling them out on the other hand seems to be a skill I need to develop. My tortillas don’t turn out round, they turn out more like Australia – sort of round but with a jagged coastline. I would suggest having two people make them as well. I’ve been doing it by myself and would like to have a partner around to help me out…of course, I’ve been doubling and tripling the recipe. Either way, it’s nice to have one person rolling and the other one flipping the tortillas. However, if you decide to go it alone I would suggest you roll out the tortillas first and drape the raw, flat rounds over the edge of a bowl (I use the bowl in which I mixed the dough) – this seems to keep them separate and easy to pickup and toss onto the hot skillet.
Trust me though, these are absolutely delicious and worth the time.
2 c. flour (for whole wheat I used 1 c. whole wheat flour and 1 c. all purpose)
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1 T. shortning
1/2 c. water (plus a little extra)
1. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the shorting and cut in with a pastry cutter or a fork until the dough begins to look like oatmeal. There is so little fat that it will only slightly look like oatmeal.
2. Add the water and mix the dough with your hands until it comes together into a nice, soft ball. You may need to add a little more water to the dough to bring it together. If this is the case, add one tablespoon of water at a time.
3. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a small ball and roll out on a floured surface until paper thin and about 7 inches around.
4. Heat a cast iron skillet (or heavy bottomed frying pan if you don’t have cast iron) on high heat. Place the flat tortilla on the pan and wait until you begin to see bubbles forming in the dough. Flip and let other side cook until it begins to turn a golden brown (about 30 to 60 seconds).
5. When tortilla is done, remove from pan and immediately place in a large zip-top bag and seal. This will trap the moisture and ensure a soft tortilla.
The cooking process goes super quick, that is why I would recommend rolling all of the tortillas out prior to beginning. These warm, delicious flats are wonderful with fixings for tacos or dipped in hummus. They would even be good used the next day as the base of a personal pizza (what I’m having for dinner tonight!).