What's in the photo? I won't keep you in suspense -- let's just say that, contrary to what the AP article said, tortillas are not "unbelievably simple to make." Scott saw me take this picture and recommended that I not include it if I ever write a cookbook! But hey, I thought somebody might get a smile out of my -- what should I call them -- corny pancakes!
I was probably 12 years old when I visited a little hut in Guatemala and watched a lady demonstrate how to make a tortilla, beginning with the corn that had to first be ground. I have only a vague recollection of the process, but I have a much better memory of how "authentic" tortillas are supposed to taste. (Side story -- The homemade tortillas were often undercooked and doughy in the middle. I thought I had to choke them down like that until I observed a local pastor hand his (practically raw) tortilla back to be "toasted." The resulting tortilla resembled a gigantic corn chip and tasted delicious!)
The tortillas I find in the US, even in Latino markets, are nothing like the shaped-by-hand, thick corn tortillas I remember from Guatemala. I knew better, really, but when I read an article in the newspaper on how simple it is to make your own, I just had to try it. After procrastinating for the better part of a year, I bought Bob's Red Mill masa harina flour, which is not quite like grinding my own corn, but I figured it was as close as I could get. I then wrote "Tacos" into my menu calendar for the week and deliberately did not buy any tortillas so I'd have to make them myself.
I followed the directions exactly and got a very dry dough. Maybe that was the problem -- I don't know. I put in the maximum amount of water recommended and it still seemed dry. Then I shaped the tortillas and tried to keep them from falling apart as I fried them in a cast iron skillet on the stove. Not quite the open fire I remember, but again as close as I could get. The resulting tortillas looked so awful that I called Scott and asked him to pick up a package on his way home from work! Still not brave enough to actually taste my attempts, I cleaned up the counter and floor from all the crumbles of dough that Munchkin had spread everywhere. At least he had fun.
Sometime during dinner, I finally got brave enough to take a bite and was pleasantly surprised that the tortillas didn't taste nearly as bad as they looked. They were awfully dry, though. Scott couldn't believe I saved them, but I couldn't throw them out knowing how precious corn is in Latin America right now. I choked one down one the next day for a snack and the rest are still sitting on the counter, ten days later. Maybe if they dry out any further they'll turn into corn chips.
And then she pecked my foot
1 day ago