Tabula Masa

Browsing the supermarket aisles after a long day, I’m ashamed to admit that there have been multiple occasions where I’ve grabbed a nice package of tortillas for dinner. After all, they are so incredibly versatile: huevos rancheros, tostadas,tacos, enchiladas, etc. Reading the ingredients on the back of the package usually yields at least 5 to 10 different ingredients if you’re lucky.

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Huevos Rancheros with slow-cooked egg, arugula salad, pinto beans, puffed millet, queso fresco (made from scratch), and citrus salt

In reality, tortillas should require a grand total of 3 ingredients, and they are all super cheap. Yes, tortillas take a bit of time and effort to make from scratch. Get the friends and family together. Have a nice group bonding session over this activity and enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you’ve never had the pleasure of sampling a fresh tortilla hot from the griddle, the flavor is wonderful.

Handmade Tortillas (yields 50)

Ingredients:

  • Masa harina                                          7 cups
  • Water                                                       4.5 cups
  • Salt                                                           To taste

Directions:

  1. Knead together masa, water, and salt. The end result should yield a dough that feels like soft cookie dough that doesn’t stick to your hands.
  2. Divide out dough into 1 inch diameter balls.
  3. Get out two pieces of plastic wrap. One piece will go around your tortilla press. The second piece you will use with the dough. This prevents the dough from getting stuck on the press.
  4. Slightly flatten the small piece of dough onto a tortilla press with your hand. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and press. Rotate 180  degrees and press again. Remove tortilla gently. (I’ve found an offset spatula is great for this.)
  5. Heat up iron skillet to medium heat. You can lightly brush it with some butter and sprinkle some salt and pepper onto it to impart some more flavor if you want.
  6. Lay tortilla onto pan. Flip once when dry and firm.
  7. Repeat

You can also get fancy by folding in minced cilantro and garlic into your masa mix. You want a tostada instead? Just take one of your tortillas and give it a quick fry in oil.

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