Homemade Corn Tortillas

Handmade Corn Tortilla

I’d been planning to make these for forever, and an emergency shortage of packaged tortillas (egads!) pushed me to action.

This tortilla press was a wedding gift, lo these many years ago, but I’d only ever used it to make white flour tortillas.

Turns out making corn tortillas is even easier and mega fun. Like magic! I used the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, found here.  I didn’t involve the kids this time, but it would be a perfect kid cooking project, with all the satisfaction of a Play-Doh factory.

Very close to meeting my writing goals for the season (which ends when the kids get out of school). Crossing fingers!

For more posts on food and cooking, click here.

New-to-me podcast: Extra Hot Great. If you like roundtable discussions of pop culture, a la Pop Culture Happy Hour, you might enjoy this one, which is all about television. Somehow I can’t get enough of smart tv analysis.

Have a great weekend!

Tortilla Soup

Once again, a recipe from 101cookbooks. I think this was the first recipe I made of hers, and it’s a favorite. Now that we have access to corn tortillas again (through mex-al.de), I can make it as much as I want.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to confess that I add chicken to this vegetarian soup (usually braised breast meat) and use chicken broth rather than the vegetable broth the recipe calls for.

I highly recommend adding some of the suggested fixin’s (goat cheese, lime, sun-dried tomatoes, avocado)—the lime especially.

The most popular part of this recipe is definitely the tortilla strips. That blurry motion you see in the photo is due to little hands grabbing strips while I photographed them.

It’s really handy to have a stick blender for soups. How did I get by without one before? The converter I have to use for the stick blender is shared with my sewing machine, way down our long hallway, so there’s lots of running back and forth for two of my favorite activities (sewing and soup-making).

If you like 101 cookbooks, you might want to know that she has a new book coming out and has offered, in advance of publication, a downloadable mini-sampler book on her website. Cool!

I’m currently reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and sort of missing my garden back in North Carolina. Not that I was a very successful vegetable grower. I guess I’ll have to try some tomatoes on the balkon and of course visit our many nearby farmer’s markets.

In the whole food vein, loved this post by Holly Ramer of stitch/craft—about her family covering the South Beach Food and Wine Festival. There’s a picture of her young son interviewing Jamie Oliver. Holly’s got some other great stuff on her blog, including quite a few tutorials. I especially like the gifts she makes, in particular children’s book-related gifts like those here.

Simple Bean Tostadas

I whipped these up the other night with a favorite basic bean filling recipe. It’s from Stephen Raichlen’s Healthy Latin Cooking. It’s a great book, but funny enough, as with many cookbooks, I gravitate toward one very simple recipe and just make it over and over. I really have to explore it more but for now, here’s the recipe. It actually is part of a dish called Bean Tortillas with Honduran “Butter,” but I’ve only ever made the bean part, though I’m sure the complete three-part recipe would be great.

Bean Topping:

adapted from Stephen Raichlen’s Healthy Latin Cooking

1 1/2 cups cooked or canned red kidney beans (available in Germany! as opposed to black beans, which I have yet to find)

3 TB minced onions (I use dried when I’m in a hurry)

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1 cup chicken stock

In a skillet or saucepan over high heat, combine the beans, onions, garlic, cumin, and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 5 minutes, or until all the stock has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Mash the beans with the back of a spoon.

I put the beans on top of a toasted corn tortilla, then added avocado and a homemade salsa made with tomatoes, onion, and a little of some kind of green chili that you find here. It’s not jalapeno but it’ll do.

If you know me well, you’ve surely heard me mourn the dearth of Mexican food in Germany. Thankfully a friend introduced me to www.mex-al.de, where you can order, among other delicacies, corn tortillas. You can get the flour kind in the grocery store, but to me, corn tortillas are the taste of Mexico.

For those of you who enjoyed the cauliflower recipe awhile back, I also tried  a cauliflower curry with toasted cashews  from the same blog recently, and it was delicious. Or as we say in German, lecker, lecker, lecker! True to form, I didn’t follow the recipe entirely. I’ve had so much success with the Thai Kitchen recipe on the back of the coconut milk can that I hated to veer from it and just don’t have time in my life right now to grind my own curry powder (though I do have a spice grinder and do believe in doing stuff like that). So, I used the 101 cookbooks recipe as an inspiration point, adding snow peas instead of green beans and oops, didn’t have red onion so I left that out, too. The toasted cashews really make it.