Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Finally ... A Cooking Success!!

Alas, there are not many cooking successes in my kitchen.  Even though they are few and far between, I continue my attempts for two reasons.  Well maybe three.  First, it gives me something to do besides watch television, especially now when we're supposed to stay home.  Second, it actually is cheaper than eating out or having my second choice, Lean Cuisine.

For three, my Mom was a GREAT cook.  She was so good at cooking she had her own television show in the 50's before it was even a thing.  I would sit in the corner while she cooked on a stage made to look like a real kitchen.  I kid you not, it was a BIG deal.  Naturally since we raised cattle, there was always beef involved.  She fed the entire crew once a week.  Now you know my shame at having a cemetery in the back yard.

Occasionally however I do have some success.  Here's one of them.  I made hundreds of tortillas for our construction crew back in the day.  That's because they were all from Mexico and they showed me how.  Mix up flour, salt, lard and water with just a tad bit of baking powder.  Knead it for a few minutes, cut and roll into little balls.

Yes I do use lard.  Pork lard actually gives them the best flavor, but my second choice is Crisco.  It works just fine and they taste great.
The trick is to let it sit for twenty minutes so the dough can relax.  That's when the guys would have a beer!  Roll them out on a floured pastry cloth.  REAL tortilla makers use a sort piece of wooden dowel for rolling.  THIS one is a piece of marble from a quarry back East that makes headstones.  Appropriate since so much of my cooking ends up in the cemetery!!

I can only thank Tom Westerfield for this.  When we were back East, he found it in the very back of the shop where they sold huge slabs of marble for things like making candy on, mortars and pestles, that kind of stuff.  It makes rolling tortillas easy as pie.
Then comes the cooking.  Just throw them on a hot comal like here or in a cast iron frying pan.  They will puff up and acquire beautiful brown spots.  
Flip them once and VOILA!!!  Homemade tortillas, much tastier than the ones you get in the store.  So there you have it ... finally ... a cooking success.  
By the way, after the beef and noodles sat in the fridge overnight, it magically acquired a little more flavor.  I had leftovers for lunch and it tasted MUCH better.  I've no idea why.  

In the meantime, while being bored out of my mind, I finished this quilt top.  I tried to make the process last longer by only sewing so many seams a day.  My time here is getting short and I have to return to California.  Starting another project would not be good for my mental health when I lost half the pieces between here and there.
I'm definitely getting WAY too used to sitting the couch.  I think I will spend the day ripping out 118 more dandelions from my back yard!!  Happy Tuesday!!

Believe it or not, Day 40.

17 comments:

  1. Congrats on the tortillas! What an interesting story of your Mom's cooking show! Not too many of us can top that family history! We can't all be great though so I understand the backyard cemetery. :) Today is baking day for me. Not sure what yet, but it is wintry day outside.

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    1. Winter days are best for baking. Something about the warm smells of kitchens overrides the cold.

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  2. I never had much luck making my own Tortillas, I think the 20 minute resting is what was lacking. We have been buying (for a bit of gold coin) low carb tortillas...the spinach ones are the best at only 3 carbs per tortilla. It cost $6 for a pack of 10, which is 60 cents per tortilla.

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    1. I buy those too Dave. Haven't seen any spinach ones though, nor have I looked at the price. I guess I should pay attention! LOL

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  3. Success comes with persistence and having faith in what you are doing. Good job with the tortillas.
    Lots of dishes taste better after sitting overnight or longer which allows the flavours to meld together.
    The quilt looks good.
    Be Safe and Enjoy another day of solitude.

    It's about time.

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    1. Well I don't know how much faith I have that I'll cook good, but I do have persistence! LOL

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  4. I did not know I had a great tortilla maker for a friend. I was waiting to see what you put on them :)) I hope California will let you back in.

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    1. For breakfast .. eggs and potatoes.
      For lunch, any kind of lunch meat (tuna, chicken or leftover tasteless roast)
      For dinner ... tacos of course!!

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  5. I'd stay in AZ if I had the choice. You will be coming back to a hot mess here.

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    1. Agree, but there's some paperwork that has to be completed. The longer I wait, the more I worry about it.

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  6. Well look at you making tortillas. My mom made the larger ones with no baking powder. The CA family made this kind. And yes, the resting time for the dough is very important. And your mom had a cooking show. You truly had an interesting childhood.

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    1. Surprise!! You didn't know I had tacos in my blood? Just kidding, it was the construction crew that taught me. Most traditional tortillas do NOT have baking powder, but just a little makes them lighter.

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  7. Oh wow. Great looking tortillas. Many years ago I was given a piece of pipe, about 8" long, and heavy...I don't do pipe diameters at all, but I'd guess around an inch or so. It's semi-heavy. Just for rolling out tortillas. What her mother always used. Her recipe didn't have baking powder either. I'll bet that is a good thing. I do like it when they puff up. Mine never puffed as much as yours.
    Wow again.

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    1. Baking powder is not traditional, it just makes them a little fluffier. Yup a piece of pipe works great!! Makes them MUCH easier to roll out!! And they are SO tasty!

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    2. Want to share the recipe?

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    3. Here it is Judith .... this is Rick Bayless' recipe ... I added the baking powder.

      2-3/4 cups flour
      5 tablespoons lard or Crisco
      3/4 tsp salt
      1/2 tsp baking powder
      3/4 cup hot water

      Form into dough, cut and roll into 1-1/2 to 2 inch balls and let rest 30 minutes. Roll out and cook on medium hot coal.

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