Wednesday, August 03, 2005

For today's lunch, I made homemade Tacos with homemade Tortillas and homemade taco sauce. Tortillas are a cinch to make with a manual tortilla press. Homemade tortillas have superior flavor compared to store bought tortillas. The tortilla press flattens balls of masa (specially ground cornmeal dough) into perfectly flat and even disks, ready for cooking on a hot griddle. Masa can be found at most large supermarkets in the baking or the ethnic food sections. I bought my press last year at a outlet kitchen store for $14 and Williams Sonoma carries one for $19. I previously had trouble removing the tortillas from the press but discovered that by pressing the dough between 2 quart size ziplock bags instead of plastic wrap or wax paper helps tremendously. This recipe from Williams somoma has great instrucions.

Corn Tortillas
Nothing compares in freshness and flavor to homemade tortillas. The dough is made with masa harina, a flour prepared from dried masa. Masa is made by boiling dried corn kernels with slaked lime to remove their tough skins; then the corn is ground into flour.

2 cups masa harina, or golden corn flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup water, plus more if needed

In a bowl, combine the masa harina, salt, olive oil and the 1 cup water. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, mix until the dough forms a large ball. It should feel moist but not wet or sticky. Add more water, 1 Tbs. at a time, if needed.

Divide the dough into 14 pieces, shape each into a ball and place on a baking sheet. Cover with damp paper towels and plastic wrap and let stand for 10 to 30 minutes.

Preheat a griddle over medium heat.

Place 1 ball of dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using a tortilla press, flatten the ball into a 5-inch disk about 1/8 inch thick. Carefully remove the tortilla from the plastic wrap and place on the griddle. Cook for 30 seconds, then turn the tortilla over and cook until soft and pliable, about 1 minute more. Reduce the heat if the tortilla browns too quickly. Serve immediately. Makes about 14 tortillas.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

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