I was really excited to make my own corn tortillas, despite not having the necessary tool (a tortilla press). However, I realized you don't need one at all for this corn tortilla recipe. All you need is a rolling pin and a zip lock bag or two sheets of waxed paper. My Grandmother's instructions were to form a small ball with the dough (~1.5 Tbsp). Then press it down between waxed paper and roll flat using a rolling pin. After the third one or so I had a pretty good one-woman assembly line going so that by the time the first tortilla was done cooking, I had the next one ready to go. I opted to use a ziploc bag to roll between - I cut open the side edges but kept the bottom together. To get the tortilla off the plastic, I peeled the bag off one side, flipped it over onto my hand and then peeled the back layer off.
The tortillas are a little bit wonky-shaped but beautiful nonetheless! I was also excited because I got to use my new cast iron pan that TS got for his birthday (I've already taken it over!). A few days before I seasoned the new pan along with my older mini cast iron pan that needed a refresh by following these instructions. In my Grandmother's cookbook I also found a recipe for Mexican Refried Beans and Salsa. It quickly turned into Mexican night! I first made the salsa so that the flavours would have time to blend.
Next, I made the tortillas and kept them in a tea towel. When you take them off the heat they are a bit dry, but they get soft as they steam under the towel. Then, I made the refried beans. As they cooked I prepared the fixings (cilantro, jalepeno, lime, avocado). When I was at the grocery store I tried to find Queso Fresco (a fresh Mexican cheese that 1. is amazing and 2. goes well with refried beans). No luck. I decided to make homemade ricotta, which did the trick! These recipes make ~20 small tacos. I adapted both the Fresh Salsa and the Mexican Refried Bean recipes by cutting them in half which was perfect for two people plus left overs (nachos!) the following night. Enjoy!
2 large ripe tomatoes
2 green onions, thinly slices
1 clove garlic, minced
1.5 Tbsp chopped cilantro (optional)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
salt, to taste
Cover tomatoes in a deep bowl with bowling water for 2 minutes to make them easy to peel.
Peel, seed, and finely chop tomatoes. Place in a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients.
Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes for flavours to blend.
Store in refrigerator. Keeps for one week.
Makes 2 cups. This recipe has been halved from the original recipe, so feel free to double it!
2 cups masa harina
1 1/8 cups water
Stir masa harina, salt, and water together in bowl, first with a fork and then with your hands.
Knead for a few minutes, until the dough holds together.
Roll dough into ~16 equal balls. Place ball between waxed paper and flatten with your hand. Using a rolling pin, roll out to form 15 cm circles.
Heat ungreased cast iron skillet (get it nice and hot). Alternatively you can use a lightly greased frying pan.
Cook tortilla for 1 minute on each side. Wrap in a clean tea towel to steam and keep warm.
*Recipe from the Farm and City Cookbook
Mexican Refried Beans
1 Tbsp oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/3 cup sweet green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups of cooked kidney, pinto, or black beans
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat; saute onion, green pepper, and garlic until soft.
Stir in beans and water and mash roughly in skillet. Add salt.
Cook uncovered to dry out the beans, about 15 minutes.
Makes 3 to 4 servings. I halved the original recipe, so feel free to double.
I chose to use canned black beans, rinsed and drained.
*Recipes (salsa, tortillas, and refried beans) adapted from the Farm and City Cookbook