Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Corn Tortillas... and Grocery: Week Four

Nothing much to report here. We haven't gone grocery shopping since last week. We were going to pick up some food stuffs, but I don't think we actually did. I'll have to ask my husband. (And so parenthood-onset senility looms it's dreary head once again!) I really need to be more diligent in posting, especially grocery totals and such. It's been a hectic couple of weeks! Anyways...

Last week, I made some corn tortillas. What a thrill! No really, I was very excited by the results.

Gluten free corn tortillas have been increasingly hard to fine, especially ones that actually had a good taste and texture... and price. The corn tortillas I made are the best I've ever tasted. Great texture (almost like flour tortillas without being gummy), great flavor, and made for only a few cents. They were also incredibly easy and fast, especially when you get the hang of it. I was able to make my second batch after a long day at work, with my son clinging to me, without any difficulty.

Here's the recipe.

2 cups masa harina*
1.5 cups water**
1/8 tsp baking soda (optional)

Put masa harina in a bowl; mix in the baking soda, if using. Add water and mix for no less than three minutes. If the dough seems too dry, add some water. If too wet, add more masa harina.

Roll dough into balls, approximately golf ball sized. Press flat with a rolling pin, tortilla press***, or both. (I first use the tortilla press and then use a rolling pin to make them just a bit thinner. Takes just a few gentle swipes and very little time to do so.)

Heat a griddle or shallow pan to medium-high heat. (Don't add oil; don't grease the pan.) Add one tortilla and cook for 30 seconds. Flip and cook other side another 30 seconds. Flip and cook both sides 15 seconds longer. Take out of pan and place on a plate. Place paper towel over it to keep it warm. Repeat cooking procedure until all tortillas are cooked.

Once you get the hang of making these, you can really cut down the time. I cook a couple tortillas while pressing the next few to cook. Takes little time, little effort and the results are much better than the stuff you get at the store. These were bouncy, flexible... almost like flour tortillas without the gummy texture. What's better than tastier food that's healthier, better, and far less expensive than the store bought stuff?

*Masa harina is a very fine cornmeal that was treated with lime. You cannot substitute regular cornmeal, cornstarch, or corn flour for masa harina. You can find masa harina in grocery stores, though it is more available and better priced at ethnic food stores. (Make sure to follow the package cooking directions first, and then adjust the ingredients accordingly. I added baking soda the first time, but followed everything else. Adjustments to the package I used are already included the directions above.)

**Baking soda adds "bounce" to the tortillas. It is not required and may be left out.

***You can find tortilla presses in a number of grocery stores, though the best prices are found at ethnic food stores.

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