Making Masa – Handmade Tortillas Recipe

What do you do on a rainy day?  Make you own tortillas.    I’ve been wanting to do this with my kids and was having a hard time finding Masa Harina (flour made from corn).  I was complaining to a friend about having to drive to a mexican market and she happened to have  extra to give to my cause.  By the way the bought it at Safeway.  I was checking Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.  Now I know.

 

The recipe is simple as is the process and very hands on for kids.  Of course they’d look more impressive with a tortilla press, but more fun and abstract using your hands and rolling pin.  And no I don’t have a tortilla press. Maybe I should check with Santa.  My daughter was really into it and rolled most of them.  My son decided he’s rather help fill them with the good stuff after.  They were pretty small and some were kind of thick to bend or roll, so we used them more like a flat tostada shell and layered black beans, avocado, shrimp, cilantro and corn salsa.

Corn Tortillas

(makes about 20, 6 inch tortillas)

4 cups masa harina (flour made from dried corn)

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups warm water

Put the masa harina in a bowl and mix in the salt. Add about 1 cup warm water and mix with your hands; add more water as needed until the dough comes together. Knead for a few minutes to smooth the dough out. The dough should be firm and springy and should not stick to your hands. Test by forming a small disk, if it’s crumbly or cracks around the edges you need more water.

Form a 1 1/2-inch ball of dough and place it between two sheets or plastic wrap.  Press down with your palm, then roll the dough with a rolling pin.   Remove the top layer of plastic. Carefully peel the tortilla off the bottom plastic.

Place tortillas on a hot, ungreased cast iron skillet or griddle and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove the tortillas and stack on a plate, covered with a clean towel to keep them soft and pliable. Continue until you have used all the dough.

Layer with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

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Happy Memorial Day – Corn on the Cob Tip

I hope you and yours had a relaxing Memorial Day.  It’s a tough one to explain to kids.  And when they ask “So what does BBQing have to do with celebrating and remembering the soldiers?”  My answer is “It’s a good way to gather friends and family, and it’s usually nice weather, so you can cook and eat outside”.  Although here in the Bay Area we sure had a mix of weather – rain, sun, clouds, wind.  If you didn’t time things well the annual memorial bbq could’ve been better enjoyed by the fireplace, inside.

Luckily we were able to host some friends and enjoy a bit of the sunshine this weekend.  We did chicken kebobs, corn on the cob, roasted potatoes and strawberry shortcake (more on that in my next cookbook review).

I want to share a corn on the cob tip.  I love corn, but sometimes when cooked on the grill it burns and shrivels.  So now, what works for us, is precooking in the microwave.  I suppose you could precook by boiling as well – but takes so much longer.  Two cobs takes about 4 minutes to precook in the microwave.  Then it gets a brushing of olive oil and is finished on the grill for a few minutes.  Just long enought to get some grill marks and a bit of carmelization.  The kernals are still plump, and the cob doesn’t get too black.  Check it out.

 

wrap corn in wax paper and sprinkle with a few drops of water
microwave about 4 minutes for 2 ears of corn

 

Place over hot grill and rotate a few minutes for grill marks

 

Looking to grill something out of the ordinary?  Here’s a few tips for your next unique cookout.  Grilled avocado anyone?  Get ideas here.

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