Friday, October 28, 2011

Flour Tortillas

I think of flour tortillas as the biscuits of the Southwest and they are easier to make than biscuits.  There is nothing better than a fresh, warm and chewy tortilla to go with eggs and bacon or with soup.  The trouble is in putting any on the table because your family will magically appear with honey jar in hand as soon as they see you rolling out the first one.  You will need a tortilla warmer or a container with a lid lined with a towel.  Resting the tortillas in the warmer lets them steam and soften and keeps them warm for a surprisingly long time and is an important part of the cooking process.  I use a cloth one sewn like a giant pita bread that can also be put in the microwave to re-warm the tortillas.  I usually use butter for the shortening but you can also use Olive oil or Grape Seed oil if you like. 

4 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening
1 ¼ cup warm water

Cut your shortening into the flour.  I do this with my kitchenaid and the wire wisk.  Or the food processor works great.  Flour should look like coarse sand.  Add in the other ingredients and mix until blended.  The dough will be rather sticky and soft.  Form a ball about 1 ½” wide and roll it in flour.  Pat it out to a disc and put it down on a cutting board with a nice layer of flour on top.  The secret to a nice round tortilla is this:  Roll out into an oval.  Lift and turn 90 degrees and then roll into a circle.  Add flour if they stick to the pin.  Repeat until your tortilla is about 1/16” thick.  Have your pan heated to med-hi.  Just a dry pan.  Lay the tortilla in the pan and let it cook for 30-45 sec.  You will see bubbles start to form in about 15 sec.  Check the bottom.  You should have some nice browned areas.  Flip and cook until the bubbles are brown.  Transfer to your tortilla warmer.  Beat back the honey jar holding family members with your spatula. Continue making as many as you want and stacking them in the warmer.  This recipe makes about 20 tortillas and any unused dough can be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days.  Lastly sit back and bask in the compliments.

Cook the first side for 30-45 sec.  Bubbles will form after about 15 sec.

After the first side has some nice brown spots flip and cook the bubbled side for 30-45 seconds more and then transfer directly to your warmer.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Acorn Squash Custard

I grew some Acorn Squash this Summer because my wife likes them.  Never  been much for Squash myself.  I had a bumper crop and I have been experimenting a little with them.  The first one I cut in half and baked at 375 degrees for an hour and then put butter and brown sugar and baked them for another 15 minutes.  That was o.k.  The second one I cut in half and baked for an hour.  I scooped out the cooked meat and saved the rinds.  Then I lightly beat the cooked squash in the mixer with some butter and 1/2 cup of brown sugar.  I can't tell you how much butter I used because the food police are probably monitoring this blog.  Let's just say it was a lot.  I put this back in the squash "bowls" and baked it for 30 minutes at 350 with some marshmallows on to.  This was really good.  

This recipe is for my third trial which was really, really good.  I baked the two halves of a large Squash for 1 hour at 375 and scooped out the cooked meat.  I put this in the mixer and added 3 cups of milk, 3 eggs, 1 cup of sugar and the spices for Pumpkin pie.  I mixed this all together and put it in a sauce pan and heated it until it was just about to boil.  I poured it back in the scooped out rinds and baked this for an hour at 350.  

It looked just like Pumpkin pie and tasted very similar.  The kids and my wife loved it.  I will definitely make this again but next time I will only add 2/3 cup of Sugar.  

I don't consider myself a gourmet cook by any stretch of the imagination so if any of you have any suggestions I would love to hear them.