Sunday, July 17, 2016

We interrupt our sewing to bring you . . . fresh tortillas!

I love almost any food that comes in a tortilla.  Always have, always will.  I've always purchased ready made tortillas and chips.  When Gloria joined the family, I had to rethink a few things.  For those readers who may not know--Gloria is a 30 year old Blue Front Amazon parrot who was being rehomed.

One way to bond with parrots is to share one's food with them.  It's how they bond with their young.  Gloria, it turns out, loves tortillas and nachos in particular.  The problem is that she should not have oil or salt.  So I decided to try making tortillas.  

I was surprised to find that the only ingredients in corn tortillas are corn masa, water and sometimes salt.  No special equipment is really necessary though a tortilla press certainly speeds up the process and gives you more uniform tortillas.  I ordered an 8 inch press from Amazon.

I bought some corn masa at the local grocery store.  The recipe on the bag calls for 2 cups of masa and 1 1/4 cups of water.  That's it.  Having made the recipe several times I found that it doesn't make as many as I want so I use 3 cups of masa and approximately 2 cups of water.

Place the masa in a bowl.

Add your water and mix with a wooden spoon until a dough begins to form.  Turn mixture out to the counter or a board and knead until a dry dough forms.  You may need to add more water.  You want a stiff dough.  Wrap the dough in a towel to keep from drying out.

Cut open a gallon zip loc bag and place it on the open tortilla press.  Break off some dough about the size of a golf ball and place it in the middle of the press.

Cover with the rest of the plastic, close the press and push.

Open the press and carefully peel the tortilla off of the plastic.

Place the tortilla on a hot cast iron griddle, preheated to about 450 degrees.  I put mine on a burner set on medium for about 5 minutes before starting.  The tortilla will puff up a little.  Cook for about a minute then flip over.

Flip over again and cook a few more seconds on each side.

Place the tortilla on a tea towel lightly spritzed with water and cover it so it doesn't dry out.  
Continue this process until you have used all of the dough.

This batch made a dozen 7 - 8 inch tortillas with dough for 2 more left over.  I decided to use that dough to make some tortilla chips for Gloria.  I placed it on the counter and poured some amaranth, hulled millet and flax seeds.

I kneaded the seeds into the dough and made two more tortillas.

After cooking the tortillas, I brushed them lightly with coconut oil then cut them in small pieces for Gloria.  You can also cut them in wedges for humans!

Place your chips on a non stick baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Turn over and bake another 5 minutes.  Allow them to cool on the sheet then package in an airtight bag or container.

Here is Miss Gloria enjoying her chips.

I used our tortillas for vegetarian enchiladas.

  • 8 - 12 fresh corn tortillas 
  • 1 bag shredded Mexican cheese
  • 1 medium sweet onion diced
  • 1 can large pitted black olives, sliced
  • 12-ounce bottle enchilada sauce (I like Trader Joe's)
  • canola oil
Pour about 1/2 inch of canola oil into one large skillet and the entire contents of the enchilada sauce into another large skillet.  Heat both on low.  Assemble the other ingredients near by.  Heat one tortilla in the oil for about 5 seconds then in the enchilada sauce, turning to coat.  

Place the tortilla on a plate and place some of the onion, olives and cheese in the middle.  wrap both sides over to make a roll.  Place in a baking pan.  Repeat until you have enough.  I was able to place 8 enchiladas in a 9 X 13 baking dish.  If you make smaller tortillas then you will be able to use more of them.  Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes.

Allow the enchiladas to set for about 5 minutes after removing from the oven.  Serve them with grated hard Mexican cheese (or you can use Asiago or Parmesan in a pinch) and a dollop of sour cream.

These enchiladas can easily be made vegan by using vegan cheese.  You can also bypass the canola oil but they are more tender when it is used.


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