Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Flour Tortillas y Prickly Pear Sorbet: The Recipes

Happy Rosh Hashanah to all, and feliz día de independencia mexicana! This week's dinner will be themed, and since I don't have an inkling of where to start with traditional Jewish food, I will have to wait until another holiday to give that cuisine a run. Mexico, however, is near and dear to my heart, so tackling some Mexican food will be a great joy. Being from San Diego, there is nothing I love more than cruising into a taquería for a quick, cheap, and delicioso plate of Mexican perfection. The trick to winning my heart? Get me some refried beans and some handmade tortillas. To make it at home is an added bonus.

I have made flour tortillas from scratch a number of times, but I always go back to the recipe to take a peek and make sure I am doing it right. Not this week. On the menu will be Tequila Shrimp and Chicken Tacos with (memorized) Handmade Flour Tortillas. I will draw from the adorable YouTube video in which Blanca Díaz pairs the Charlie Brown theme song with the step-by-step directions for an  authentic tortilla recipe. For dessert we will put my trusty ice cream maker to use for a Prickly Pear Sorbet, which has been slightly spiked with tequila. The recipe I will use for the sorbet came from a number of searches for a refreshing sorbet that still goes with the Mexican theme (Mexican hot chocolate sorbet was a close second but just didn't satisfy my desire for fruitiness). 

This will be done, of course, with no notes or recipes, so wish me suerte!

This is the size, thickness, and cooked-ness that we are looking for. Just beautiful...

The Recipe: Flour Tortillas, from Blanca Díaz
Yield: 18 tortillas
Ingredients:
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 oz vegetable shortening (or 7 tbsp vegetable oil)
  • 1 cup very hot water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
Preparation:
  • Put all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the shortening (cut in very small pieces) or oil and the hot water.
  • Mix by hand until a pasty dough forms and all ingredients are incorporated.
  • Knead the dough for 3 minutes.
  • Let the dough sit covered at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  • Separate the dough into portions of about 1.5 oz and form into balls. Keep the dough covered as you form balls out of the entire batch of dough.
  • To form a tortilla, take one ball and place on a hard, flat, dry, and clean surface (I am a fan of a lightly floured countertop). Press down gently to flatten the ball into a patty. With a rolling pin, roll the tortilla into a small oval. Turn the oval 45° and roll some more. Then turn 45° a final time and roll until the tortilla is round.
  • Get a dry griddle or pan very hot. Place the tortilla in the pan, cook, and flip when air bubbles start to form.
  • Gently press out the air pockets that form with the back of a spatula. Flip again.
  • After about 30 seconds, remove the tortilla from the heat. Wrap in a clean cloth and keep somewhere warm until you are ready to serve.
Garnish with some mint or lime for a classy presentation
The Recipe: Prickly Pear Lime Sorbet, adapted from Fossil Foods
Yield: 8 servings
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 1 cup prickly pear juice and pulp (5 small fruits worth)
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tequila
  • pinch of salt
Preparation:
  • Heat the sugar, water, mint, and lime zest in a medium saucepan until the sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside to cool and strain out mint and lime zest.
  • Puree the prickly pears and separate the pulp and juice from the seeds.
  • Put the prickly pear juice, simple syrup, lime juice, and salt into a bowl and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 1 hour.
  • When ready to put the chilled mixture into your ice cream maker, mix in the tequila. Process the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the ice cream maker directions. Transfer mixture to a plastic storage container and freezer in your freezer until firm, at least 6 hours.
Time to Memorize: 2 days (the disadvantage of being late with my blogging)

1 comment:

  1. Refried beans and tortillas are what I use to judge good Mexican food too! If you can nail those two things in NYC, you might be able to start a lucrative side-business!

    Not sure where cactus sorbet fits in with staples of Mexican cuisine, but that would definitely crate some good buzz for your future business that I just made up. Beans and tortillas, while Mexican-food perfection, are not nearly as sexy sounding as Prickly Pear Lime Sorbet.

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