Monthly archive for December 2008

na-na-na-na na na BATMAN!

Headline: Ca-RAZY Mofos defy death for kicks.

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Recipe – How to Make Tortillas

I have been living here in Central Europe for over a year now, and after a broad search, I can say with confidence that Mexican Food is an undiscovered commodity. When considering the handful of restaurants that offer anything with a tortilla, consider this: two of them also serve pizza, and the third charges ten bucks for a burrito.

If you’ve harbored aspirations of fame and fortune, consider opening a chain of late night taco stands in Prague (start near the dance clubs off of Wenceslaus Square), and become a taco baron. Though if you fancy a future as the Taco Baron of Bohemia, you’ll face a few challenges.

For example, the grocers in Prague do not carry cilantro. No cilantro here nor there, no cilantro anywhere. I met a short bespectacled man from Guatemala this week; he has lived in Prague for three years. Upon shaking hand, the first thing I asked him: “So Humberto, where’s the cilantro?”

“No hay nada”

So unless you have a small plot of arable land or lots of free space left in your marijuana growing closet, you are shitoutofluck.

Next problem: Tortillas

Larger markets will have tortillas in the exotic food section, next to the asian noodles, Skippy peanut butter, and Orville Redenbacher. Unfortunately these rubbery mats are better suited from handling hot pans than actually putting in your mouth and chewing.

So I have taken matters into my own hands. Drastic times call for drastic measures, and I have begun fabricating my own tortillas here at home. It turns out to be incredibly simple to make tortillas and after a bit of practice, they can be more fluffy and delicious than you even dreamed. Dream small, my friend.

Tortillas are basically flour, water, and fat. So you likely have everything you need to make them in your cupboard already. You will also need a rolling pin, which also comes in handy for making pies or chasing cartoon mice out of your kitchen.

Keep in mind that making tortillas (cooking) is not an exact science, play with the amounts until you figure out what works for you. The following ingredient makes about four (4) medium-sized (10″) tortillas.

1 cup of flour

1/8 cup of vegetable shortening (40 g) *
2/5 cup of warm water (more or less)

1/2 teaspoon of baking power
1/2 teaspoon of salt

* you can substitute any kind of fat
* butter, margarine, lard

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, cut in fat until pea-sized chunks, slowly mix in warm water. Do not add too much water, the dough should look pretty dry until you knead it together.

Knead the dough until in becomes smooth.

Separate dough into four balls, cover with plastic or a wet paper towel and let sit for about 30 minutes. The dough will become easier to roll out after it sits.

Lightly flour a surface for rolling. I use the kitchen counter. Use a rolling pin and roll out your tortillas until about 1/8″ thick.

Heat a dry skillet at medium-high heat until hot.

Cook each tortilla less than a minute on each side or until you get a puffy tortilla with a few brown spots in the shape of Jesus. Enjoy.

Some helpful notes:

Working with dough takes practice. If you have not made dough before you might want to watch some YouTube videos on how to make bread, pie crust or puff pastry to learn practices for manipulating dough.

Use a pastry or basting brush to brush off extra rolling flour before cooking.

If the tortilla is flat after cooking, try using more heat.

If tortilla sticks when rolling, you likely added too much water when make your dough.