August 15, 2015 · 7:12 am
We love Mexican food and Tex-Mex, much of which involves tortillas. I always bought ready-made tortillas until I watched an episode of Pati’s Mexican Table on PBS in which Pati Jinich assured the audience how easy it is to make your own. Following a Twitter exchange with Pati (She’s very approachable and helpful), I ordered an inexpensive press and bought ingredients for corn tortillas.
There are a couple of tricks you need to know, but Pati’s right. It is easy to make your own tortillas. I may never buy ready-made again. I also may buy a larger tortilla press. 😉 But in the interest of full disclosure, you need to know there’s a learning curve. With practice, though, you’ll be turning out tortillas like some people turn out homemade bread or pasta. I’ll share with you the lessons I learned that helped me improve.
Instead of a recipe, it’s more of a method to making tortillas. Here’s how to make enough for dinner tonight. Mix 2 cups Maseca with 1½ cups water, stirring until blended. Scoop approximately 1 ounce dough for each tortilla.
Lesson One: Keep a full can of nonstick cooking spray handy.
Lesson Two: Parchment paper works best. The directions that came with my tortilla press suggested wrapping the plates in plastic, but I couldn’t make that work. Next I tried waxed paper, with mixed results. Parchment paper worked best. Spray both sides of each sheet with every tortilla pressed to prevent tearing of the delicate tortilla in its uncooked state.
All you need to make corn tortillas? Water, maseca, and cooking spray
Lesson Three: Position the ball of dough off-center, away from the handle. Press should work easily. Do not force. The dough spreads thinly and makes a delicate tortilla. Handle gently.
Parchment paper and cooking spray prevent sticking
Lesson Four: Don’t try to remove the tortilla from both sides of the parchment paper. Allow cooking to begin before peeling back the paper. Then spray and reuse the paper.
Gently press dough. If dough is too stiff, add a tiny bit more water.
Lesson Five: Don’t spend a lot of money on a tortilla press. I bought a cast aluminum for around twenty bucks. Works fine. If your dough is the proper consistency, you won’t need a rugged, heavy-duty press.
Allow dough to cook approximately 30 seconds before peeling the parchment paper.
Lesson Six: Use a griddle or large skillet. I used an 8″ skillet, which restricted my movement in turning the tortillas. Next time I’ll use a griddle to allow more maneuvering room.
Cook turning every 30 seconds, 3 X per side.
Lesson Seven: Remember Lesson One? Use the cooking spray generously. It helps hold the parchment paper in place, and it helps crisp the tortillas without added grease.
As you cook the tortillas, wrap them in a napkin to keep them warm. Or allow to cool completely and store in a plastic food storage bag in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Remember to practice. I discovered tricks to timing the 30 second intervals. While the tortilla cooked, I prepped the press with more spray. Then I flipped the tortilla. Then I scooped dough and placed on the press. Then I flipped the tortilla, and so forth. You’ll develop a rhythm and crank out a set of tortillas just like Pati Jinich. Or close. 😉
Keep corn tortillas wrapped in a napkin in a basket
Next I plan to master flour tortillas. Stay tuned.
February 4, 2013 · 12:17 pm
Love turkey or chicken with dressing? Cooking for one or two? You don’t have to wait for holidays to enjoy a side of stuffing. Do what I do and make stuffin’ muffins. Keep them in the freezer and use only what you need.
- 8 oz. bag of stuffing bread, your choice
- 12 oz. broth or homemade stock, either turkey or chicken
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ¼ cup egg substitute (or 1 egg)
- nonstick cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Spray the cups of a 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine stuffing bread, broth, onion, celery, and egg substitute.
- Using a scoop or two spoons, fill each muffin cup with 1/12th of the stuffing.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until muffins are brown around the edges.
- Serve immediately. Cool leftover muffins completely and freeze in an airtight container or individual freezer storage bags.
Defrost and heat a muffin whenever you want a side of stuffing!
October 29, 2011 · 8:30 am
A common complaint I hear about making sandwiches with 100% whole wheat bread is the toughness of the bread. Whole wheat bread can be dense and chewy, and what most people want for a sandwich is light and tender. Yet there is little nutrition in white bread, and almost no fiber.
After experimenting in the Hasty Tasty Meals Kitchen, I’ve found a way to make whole wheat bread with the right texture for sandwiches. Whether you have a bread machine or you use a Vitamix or your hands, try this recipe. You’ll need a 12 oz. can of beer (and no, it’s not for the cook! :D)
Whole Wheat Beer Bread
- 12 oz can beer, room temperature (pull the tab so it goes flat)
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 2 Tbsp. molasses
- ½ stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 Tbsp. wheat germ
- ½ cup gluten
- 2½ tsp. yeast
Add all ingredients in order listed to the bread machine pan. Select “Wheat” setting and hit “Start.” Approximately three and a half hours later, you’ll have tasty whole wheat bread. Remove immediately from the bread pan and allow to cool before slicing.
If you don’t use a bread machine, make the dough (I’ve omitted dough making instructions, but if you have a Vitamix, follow the directions in your Vitamix book) and let it rise. Knead and let it rise again. Bake in a buttered loaf pan at 350° for about 40 minutes or until done. Loaf is fully baked when you thump it and it sounds hollow. Remove loaf from pan and allow it to cool at least 20 minutes before slicing.
You will be delighted with the airy softness of this whole wheat bread. Enjoy!