Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tortillas just like Mama would make...

I'm a corn person. Aside from everything Michael Pollan writes about in his book, Omnivore's Dilemma, where he says we really are the corn people...I'm saying I really AM a corn person.
One of my cravings when I was pregnant with my first child was for this corn pasta at Arizona 206 in NYC. I learned to love those fried corn kernels when I was in Spain. Polenta? Check. Cornbread? Check. Grits? Of course: the polenta of the South. Hominy? Right again. Okay, so do you get it?

I mentioned in another post that I've been prowling through Rick Bayless's recipes. He encourages people to make tortillas at home at least once in their lives, and boy, what good advice. First of all, it's not that difficult. It's cheap. And the end results are great for someone like me: the corn lover.

I advise you to follow all of Rick's advice here. He gets almost painfully descriptive with the instructions, which can be a bit tedious, but the end result is that he leaves nothing to wonder about. I've made two batches so far: one was most definitely dry, the second batch far better. I saw the tortillas puff up the way he describes and I put them into a cloth-lined basket to steam while I made the whole batch.

Pressing the masa with my new toy.

Trying to grill batch one...

We ate them with a variation on one of his chicken recipes and with some homemade guacamole, which Bryn is becoming quite adept at whipping up (adept enough at it that she has challenged Auntie Pat, my sister, to a guac competition come this summer when we all meet up in Colorado. Dueling guacs...)

This photo is batch two; the little lift you see is because my tortillas are puffing up just the way they are supposed to. The final photo is the finished product, all nestled into a nice cotton towel in a basket...My favorites were the ones with the most char on them...

Barb's Winning Guacamole

3 avocados
1 clove garlic, minced
2 heaping tablespoons salsa (drained if it is juicy)
juice of one lime
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons minced red onion

Peel and pit avocados, place them in bowl. Add garlic, salsa, lime, cilantro, onion and salt and pepper. Use a fork to mix/chop ingredients. Some lumps of avocado should be left. EAT. (To keep this for any length of time in the fridge, cover the guacamole by placing plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the guacamole. It will be gone faster than that anyway, but just in case...)

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