Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How to Make (Healthy) Tortillas



I am like my recipes.
While almost all my recipes are unique--tweaked to fit the meal or my ingredients or to make it healthier--most of them are versions that have originally come from friends or family. I too have become a tweaked combination of the special people who have influenced me over the years, adding their own ingredients and seasonings into my life.

My next recipe is one of those weekly staples that comes with a vivid memory. And my teachers just happened to be a 9-year-old…and an 7-year-old...and a 6-year-old...and a 4-year-old.

Eight years ago, I lived in a tiny bush town in Alaska, in Port Alsworthwhich is accessed only by airplane. This gorgeous village of 100 people had no grocery stores, no convenience stores, just one small restaurant (open only during summers), and probably just one completely incapable cook (that would be me).

Thankfully, I lived right next to the Brendemuhls and their six kids (at the time). And those six kids knew how to cook. So, Abigail and Quentin and Deborah and Anna taught me how to make tortillas (along with a few other foods) for the first time. This simple recipe was actually in a kids’ cooking book, if I remember right.

Just four ingredients later and I had tortillas ready for wraps, burritos, tacos, and chips…and to rip apart and share with my little friends.

I’ve tweaked the recipe (of course) to make it a bit healthier. But I always have a stack in a Ziploc bag in my fridge, ready for a preservative-free, cheap and healthy base for lunch or dinner.

I can’t mention the Brendemuhls without saying how they influenced more than my cooking. Susan, the mom, is a laid back woman who enjoyed her kids, invested in their sweet characters, allowed them to play wild with tons of laughter, and taught them to value those around them.

I only had two mouths to feed (my husband’s and mine—no kids yet )with the plane full of groceries we’d get every couple of months. Somehow they managed to feed all eight of their mouths. I was amazed how this family embraced the complications of life with grace, generosity, flexibility and purpose. I sat among them, soaked it all in, and my life is now seasoned with their example.

TORTILLAS


Ingredients:
2 c. flour (I use 1 ½ cups white flour and ½ cup whole wheat flour or ground-up oatmeal)
1 t. salt
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup lukewarm water

Instructions:

1. Stir together the flour and salt. Stir in the canola oil with a fork or pastry blender. Add the water.
2. Divide the dough into six or eight round balls. Using a rolling pin, flatten onto a floured surface to the size and thickness you want. Cut around a plate on top of the top to make a perfect circle, if desired.
3. Carefully move your flattened dough to a hot, grease free skillet and allow the dough to cook for a few seconds on each side until fully cooked, but still soft.

NOTES:
For healthy chips, cut up the tortillas into triangles and bake in a 425 degree oven (no oil needed) for about five minutes or until they are crispy.

For tacos, heat up oil in a skillet, fold the tortillas over a spatula while one half of the tortilla fries in the oil. When crisp, carefully rotate the tortilla’s uncooked side into the oil, keeping the folded taco shape.

For wraps: Cut up your favorite raw veggies (I like bell peppers, tomatoes, spinach, onions) and add in some avocado and some parmesan cheese for a healthy lunch. You can add some vinaigrette or barbecue sauce or honey mustard dressing (equal parts honey, oil and mustard, to make your own) for more flavor.

For burritos, place beans, salsa (cut-up tomatoes, cilantro, onions and salt for the homemade variety) and your favorite cheese into the tortilla and roll into a burrito. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.

Use also for quesadillas, burritos, fajitas or enchiladas.

4 comments:

  1. You are amazing. I can't wait to try these, it will probably be after Thanksgiving when I do, but I will let you know how it goes! Kate and I were talking and we need to know how to send you stuff. Even just a Christmas card, but let us know how to send you and your family little treats from the states! You all were always so good to be around, I'm so glad you keep this blog so that I can get to know you once again. I love it.

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  2. Charlotte--it's so fun to reconnect with you! By the way, do you remember that Thanksgiving I spent with you guys when you lived in Carlile and i was at college? Email me at borneowife@yahoo.com and I'll send you a couple of addresses--one for cards, another one for treats. Thanks!!

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  3. I love your post Rebecca:) It was so much fun have you and Brad living beside us. We still talk about the fun times we had with you:)

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  4. Suuuch an amazing post! Thank you, thank you, thank you. The tortillas are amazing!

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