Making Corn Tortillas

Happy New Year everyone. It is hard to believe it is already 2013. Over the holidays we were all up at the cabin where the garden is located. There was a little snow when we arrived and it snowed one day we were there. Not enough to really do snow things, but enough for little people to play in the snow.

We have had a tortilla press for years. Many, many years. Most of that time it has been little more than decoration. This past summer one of the grocery stores had masa harina on sale. Masa harina is simply finely ground corn flour that is used to make tamales and corn tortillas. When I say on sale, I mean it was 1/2 price (for reasons unknown to us or the store check-out person). I’m in Arizona so it is always available. Seeing as it was a bargain ($2.50 for a large bag) we picked some up to eventually try making corn tortillas again. That sometime was over the holidays.

Making the tortilla dough was very easy. Add about 1 1/8 cup water to 2 cups masa harina. Mix until blended. If it is too dry add a little water. If it is too wet add a little more masa. That’s all there is to the recipe, other than pressing the tortillas and quickly cooking them. Next time I would add a little salt to the dough. There is also no reason dry herbs cannot be added to enhance the flavor. We cut a plastic sandwich bag in half so we could press the dough between plastic and ease getting the tortilla off the press. I think plastic wrap would be too flimsy. The bag worked great. Press a little dough, about golf ball size, to your desired thickness. Although I like thin corn tortillas there is a point at which the dough becomes too thin and is hard to get off the plastic and onto the stove. If you don’t have a tortilla press you can roll out the dough or even flatten between your hands. Up at the cabin we have an Aga stove. Unlike normal stoves this has two hot plates and we cooked the raw tortillas, about 20 seconds per side, flipping twice, on the hot version.

We ate a few of the tortillas with butter and a few with melted cheese – we had to know what they taste like. The rest went into a kale enchilada casserole. Individually frying and dipping each tortilla to make traditional enchiladas takes too long with a group of hungry people. We layer it like a lasagna, but with corn tortillas, enchilada sauce, baby kale, chopped green onions, sour cream, and cheese. Then it was baked for about 30-45 minutes, and it was done. This will not be the last time we make corn tortillas. We were amazed at how easy they are and how fast it all went.

In the coming weeks I will be ordering then starting tomatoes and peppers and all for the garden. I am going to try grafting my tomatoes onto a hearty rootstock to try to increase yield (since I am about out of space in the garden). That will be a new adventure I will be able to share later. Hopefully it will work well. Last year’s tomatoes did not start out healthy and vigorous so I am hoping to avoid that this year with better practices.

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