T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tortilla Traditions (and Recipe, too!)

When I picked T Rex up on Tuesday (see photo to side - I am walking up to the door to pick him up and he spotted me), Mom was making tortillas. I wish there was some way I could post the smell I walked into on Tuesday upon arriving at my mom's apartment. It was delicious!

I did take some photos of her making tortillas. And I am willing to share the recipe. However, they very challenging to make them unless you have someone walking you through the process. And even then it takes years of experience to achieve true tortilla making success. The hardest part - getting them round! My sister and I always joke that we make the 50 states every time we make a batch. Although, each time I seem to get better at it!

I grew up with tortillas instead of bread. In fact, I would trade my tortilla for someone else's peanut butter and jelly sandwich during lunch. Most of the time, I could get any sandwich I wanted because everyone else wanted the tortillas. Yes, in the Thomas L. Reeves Elementary School lunch room there was tortilla dealing going on - no drugs there!

Later when I was a bit older and no longer trading lunches, Mom and I made tortillas to sell so I could pay for cheerleading camp. She also made tamales for fundraising but I haven't learned how to make those yet. Very complicated and very delicious!

So, here's the tortilla recipe if you are brave enough to give it a try. Actually there is no recipe. Really, you just sort of have to go with it. But here's the best I can do...

2 - 3 cups self-rising flour (if you use regular flour you will also need baking powder maybe 1/2 tsp and 1/4 tsp salt)
approximately 1/4 cup shortening
(you can use lard too, but many in the family are allergic to pork so we stick with regular shortening)
Water - enough to make doughy

Knead ingredients together to make a dough. Separate dough into balls and flatten slightly with hands.

Then on a slightly floured surface roll each flatten ball into a tortilla.

Heat dry skillet (I use a cast iron flat pan) to medium. When hot, place flattened tortilla on skillet.

When you see it start to bubble slightly, turn over. I use my fingers to turn it over but I am sure you can use a spatula. When both sides are browned, remove from heat and place on kitchen towel to cool.

Yields at least 12 tortillas or maybe a dozen and a half. (They will be fatter than those in the store so don't think you did something wrong.)

I always eat mine warm. I've just never been fond of them cold. Everyone else I know loves them warm or cold. And you can heat them in the microwave for 10 - 15 seconds to reheat. But it's just not the same to me.

Please let me know if you try this. And also if you would like me to make some with you to show you how. I am by no means an expert like my mom. She has far more experience than I do, but I continue learn every time. I just want to make sure I am able to pass along the tradition to my children as well.

T Rex chowing down on Nan's famous tortillas! He will NOT eat store bought!


Caitlin said...

Woo hoo! I can't wait to try these! Although after my banana bread failure, I'm not sure how promising they will be... I'll let you know!

Piece o' Coconut Cake said...

Our housekeeper is from Guatemala and she makes tortillas (and black beans) once a week. Those days we all do cartwheels around the house. The sell a tortilla flour called "Maseca" that is corn based and all you do is add water and they are delicous. I never learned to make them so I am thrilled that my 4 year old is!