Thursday, July 29, 2010

Logical Food Storage

One of the things I have learned to do from time to time is to think logically about my food storage. It's hard to project ahead to what could or would happen in an emergency, but I kind of like to go there in my head! Strange, I know.

I think to myself what would I do in this situation? If I had no electricity, what could I whip up for a quick meal? What items in my food storage are the most versatile? What comfort foods are quick to fix?

One thing I always come back to is this: I may not always have the time or the energy to whip up a batch of homemade bread and wait for it to rise and bake, but I can make pancakes. Or I can make flour tortillas and fill them with almost anything to make a quick meal.

I love homemade tortillas. There is no comparison to the store bought brands. In fact, when I do buy flour tortillas I usually end up throwing part of a package away because they just don't get eaten. Here is a good recipe for flour tortillas if you don't have one. You can make these in a bread mixer but you definitely don't have to. I have seen the Spanish ladies who taught us how to make these, with their hands up to their elbows in flour and shortening, but they certainly turn out a good product.
Flour Tortillas
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 c. shortening (you can use lard)
1 c. very hot water
Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Add shortening and cut in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in HOT water. The water needs to be hot enought to melt the shortening but not too hot or it will be gooey. Mix well until thoroughly combined like dough. Divide into balls (You will get between 8 & 12) depending on how big you make them. Preheat a heavy skillet to medium-low heat. Roll balls into tortilla shape without adding more flour. If you need you can spray your area where you are rolling. Try to maintain as much of a circle shape as possible. Place rolling pin in middle of flattened dough ball and roll to desired thickness, shaping as you go, and keeping edges smooth and even.

Put tortilla on preheated skillet. The first one is the hardest. You want the dough to puff up into bubbles but not for them to pop and burn. You'll know when you do it. Adjust heat accordingly. When they really start to puff up, turn on cook on the other side for about 45 seconds or so till they are done. You don't want it to be too dark because it will be crispy when it cools and we want soft and flexible. Stack them in a pile as you cook them to keep warm. They can be also be reheated if necessary. So good when they are fresh off the griddle.

For a fun snack, cut the tortillas in wedges, using your pizza cutter. Place on a baking sheet and spray or brush with oil. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar (to dip in cut up, sweetened fresh fruit) or sprinkle with your favorite spices to dip in salsa or ther dips. Bake at 350ยบ for 8-10 minutes till they start to curl and crisp up.

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