October brings with it a bit of a chill in the air. If you aren’t quite ready to let go of the last vestiges of summer and start bundling up against the winter freeze, perhaps now’s the time for a Mexican fiesta. Impress your friends and family with homemade tortillas, add some spicy salsa, mix up some margaritas, and pretend like you’re sitting on the beach in Mazatlan.
Here’s how to do it.
Stir 1 c. boiling water into 1 c. cornmeal. Add salt and a couple teaspoons bacon grease and mix. Pat into thin cakes and bake on a griddle the same as for masa tortillas If you make tortillas out of flour and mashed potatoes, you have lefse (a Scandinavian dish). If you make the tortilla out of flour, you get another kind.
Lupe’s Tortilla de Harina
Merry Collins of Kennewick, WA, told me this easy way to make tortillas, easy because “all the ingredients are warm and liquid. Mix together 3 c. flour, 1 T. baking powder, 1 t. salt, 3 T. vegetable oil, and 1 c. very hot water. Form a large dough ball. Let rest for a few minutes. Form small dough balls. Grab as much as you can pull off in your left palm. That’s just the right amount. Make the glob of dough round by pulling the edges in but keeping it against the left palm. It makes the top nice and smooth. Then the balls are rolled out with a rolling pin until round and flat, put them on an ungreased preheated griddle (cast iron) at a medium heat. After bubbles begin forming, turn and cook on the other side. We store them in a crockery pot with a lid or in a plastic bowl. They should be stacked inside a clean dishtowel. It took me quite a while to be able to get these tortillas rolled out round. I used to get teased about my tortillas. They were so misshapen.”
Hazel’s Rollout System.
“When ready, make small balls and set aside about 8 or 10. With hands slightly moist, dip them in flour. Now work the balls into flat round disks. Either roll out or, as I do, turn the dough and stretch it until you have a tortilla with no holes, about the size of a bread and- butter plate and about 1⁄8 inch thick. I cook mine on a lightly greased griddle — that flat kind (do not fry). Cook on both sides. A little scorch won’t hurt. Just don’t burn holes.
As they come off the griddle, place between 2 towels or a folded towel. This will soften the tortillas so you can roll them when you get to the filling.”