Wednesday, April 13, 2011

tortillas

tortilla 2
 When I get busy I turn on my "back to basics" mode in the kitchen. I make things that I know everyone will be happy with and that take minimal effort. Time and again it means food that I grew up with. Corn tortillas were a staple. In fact, they were a "rite of cooking passage" in my home for all of us kids. Simple cheese quesadillas were one of the first "meals" we all learned how to make. Pretty early on, too.  They were the meal of choice for breakfasts on the run and after school snacks. I vividly remember wrapping piping hot ones in a paper towel and dashing to catch the street car (J Church) to middle school.
Fast forward to the present and I can't get a decent tortilla (the fresh masa kinds) anywhere close by,  but we certainly still eat lots of them. Now that my co-op sells organic corn masa... we often make them ourselves.
tortilla balls
Have you ever made a corn tortilla? They're a wonderful cooking project to invite children to join in, because they involve rolling pins or even better... a tortilladora.
tortilladora
We brought ours from California and for many years it was used primarily for playdough (highly recommended dough tool for little ones!). These days it has returned to the kitchen, and my kids love taking turns pressing masa balls.
tortilladora 2
They are on the thick side (and lovingly imperfect) so we don't fold them over. Instead we make them small and easy to hold for (open faced and lightly fried) tostadas.
tortillas
If I had to name a flavor that reminded me most of childhood- corn tortillas would be a the top of the list. What would be at the top of yours? Pin It

29 comments:

  1. They look delish. I've been looking for masa to make tortillas and tamales. I'm sure it's available around here, but I haven't stumbled upon it yet. I'd love to make those tostadas. YUM!

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  2. Yum! I love corn tortillas. I would have to say the flavor of my childhood would be grape popsicles...you know, the kind that come in a plastic tube. Not nearly as wholesome, but still tasty!

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  3. yummy! they look so tasty! the flavor of my childhood would surely be that of my granny's cakes, with me sitting on a wooden bench with cushions at her kitchen!

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  4. All days I eat tortillas..but your tortillas I think so are delicious...:-)..No podria vivir sin tortilla ni chile ..Tita

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  5. From looking at your pictures, I can tell that your masa is much too dry. I can see that it's crumbling. Try making the dough to a point where it feels almost too wet. I see that you're pressing it out on some kind paper. Instead, split open a quart size ziplock bag down the side seams and use that by placing the ball between the sides of the bag.

    Now that the dough is wetter, it will spread out easier and more evenly. You won't get the jagged edges. Even though it's wet, the plastic bag lets you peel it off without ripping the tortilla.

    Don't try to use saran wrap or something similar. You need the thickness of the plastic of a ziplock bag.

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  6. Thanks so much for the tips on moisture. We'll definitely give it a try, but we haven't been dissattisfied with are current rustic ones. I think we'll stay with wax paper, though. I'll report my results!

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  7. My tortilladora hasn't seen any action in months, sad to say. As for the flavor most reminiscent of my childhood, definitely rice pudding. Rice pudding with lots of cinnamon and a little nutmeg and ginger. It was good for dessert after dinner and even better for breakfast the next morning. It seems no matter how large the potful, there was never any left over by the time dinner rolled around the next night.

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  8. Wow, this looks like childhood for me as well! My Texan parents moved to upstate NY and brought their taste for pinto beans and fresh corn tortillas with them! Somewhere I have my mother's press and I'll pick up some organic masa. We used to wash our feed corn corn in lime ourselves and I hated that step, so I am glad to be rid of it. Thanks for the inspiration. I can't wait to smell them!

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  9. The taste of childhood? Kielbasa and rye bread.

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  10. What time is lunch or dinner? I'll be there in a heart beat. These look so yummy. I have never tried to make any, but you may have caused me to spend more money!
    Favorite food memories? Too many to name, but being born and raised in Hawaii from parents who were also born and raised there, some interesting things. Poi for one..which I know makes most people think of wallpaper paste. I would "kill" for some now.

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  11. yum! my SIL bought a tortilla squasher over from Mexico and she is relieved to be able to get the masa here in Aus. I love having eating them at my brothers house.

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  12. You have organic masa!?!? How can I, living in Texas, not find organic masa?
    I make lots of whole wheat tortillas. I need to get one of those pressers. As for now, my daughter rolls them out for me with the pin.
    Childhood flavors? PBJ on whitebread. Horrible, I know.

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  13. Chicken and dumplings from the frozen food section. Thanks mom! Hah. But tortillas would have been much better.

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  14. I love tortillas too, to get one rolled from the fresh batch with a little salt, such a great thing, and the smell...

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  15. those are beautiful and look like some of the better ones you can (rarely) get here in Texas. Please give us your recipe and also the details about the organic masa--which I have never seen here and is the reason my tortilla maker is in the closet somewhere!

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  16. Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies for sure.... :) My mom would whip up a batch so easily and now they've become my specialty!

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  17. Those look fantastic! Flavor of my childhood? I would say sweet hot mustard, white rice, strawberries and dill pickles (not at the same time!).

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  18. Oh man, those tortillas with cheese, avocado, and salsa look unbelievable! Yum!

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  19. Mine is fish sticks and macaroni and meat sauce. :)

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  20. Those look amazing! I noticed a vendor at the farmer's market selling corn tortillas - when I get some I want to make these!

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  21. I make flour tortillas and everybody loves them too. Homemade is always best.

    Jody

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  22. We've recently switched to corn tortillas and now I want to make my own! How cool! I love the tortilladora (maybe I'll get one for my birthday.

    Flavors from childhood... chocolate frosting on saltines, butterscotch pudding, Drumsticks (the ice cream ones), Tang... I could go on and on!

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  23. That looks very yummy! I used to work with a group of women from Mexico; I asked them once to teach me to make tortillas. They got *mad* and refused! They said that if I learned to make tortillas that my husband would never let me use the store bought kind, and that their husbands would expect them to make tortillas too. I thought that was funny. I did learn to make mole:)

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  24. Growing up in country Queensland their wasn't much call for tortillas. I think I have eaten only one homemade one at a local cultural festival. You are right, it was pretty yummy.

    I just love the name, tortilladora! What an exciting gadget to have in the kitchen.

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  25. As always, we are on the same wavelength. I went to our mutual, local co-op the other day and bought locally milled, organic masa in preparation for making tortillas. Thanks for reminding me!

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  26. I love corn tortillas, especially those made with fresh corn masa!

    Lovely photos :)

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  27. Mmmmm... corn tortillas are a flavor of my childhood, too, but they weren't homemade. We'd heat them up and put butter and salt on them as a quick snack. These "salt tacos" are still the epitome of comfort foods for my brothers and me.

    If you don't have a tortilladora, you can use two wooden cutting boards to press tortillas. I just lay one on top of the other and press down with both hands on it, but my uncle, who taught me this trick, put a perfectly spaced hinge and a handle on his cutting boards.

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