Tortillas

Several months ago, I attempted to make my own tortillas. I figured that since I’ve gotten the hang of homemade roti (Indian/Pakistani unleavened flatbread), that tortillas shouldn’t be too difficult. The verdict? Even easier!

These tortillas are so wonderful! They’re soft yet pliable (meaning you can go hard with piling up those tacos to your heart’s content), and so quick and easy to make! I don’t see myself going back to store bought tortillas, and I’m sure you won’t go back either 😉

(Recipe courtesy of Annie’s Eats.)

TortillasPic

Tortillas (Flour)

Yield: 12 to 15 Tortillas

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ – 1 cup water

Directions:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all-purpose flour, butter, baking powder, and salt. Pulse until crumbly, about 5 seconds. With the machine running, slowly add the water until a cohesive ball of dough is formed. Knead for 30 seconds more, until the dough is tacky. Add a bit more flour if the dough is too sticky.

Transfer dough to a surface lightly dusted with flour. Divide into 12 to 15 balls, cover, and allow them to rest for 10 minutes.

Heat a large skillet (or fry pan) over medium-high heat. Working with one ball of dough at a time, lightly dust with flour and roll into a large and thin circle, approximately 8 inches in diameter. Carefully transfer the tortilla to the heated skillet and cook for 20 to 30 seconds, until small bubbles form on the surface and lightly browned. Flip and cook for an additional 10 to 20 seconds. Do not overcook, as this will result in stiff tortillas.

Use as needed, or store in an airtight bag in the refrigerator or freezer.

Crepes

Last week my family and I were vacationing in sunny St. Maarten. It was a wonderful reprieve from the cold (although not as cold as past years) that we had been experiencing. We enjoyed the wonderful locals (so hospitable!), the weather, the beaches, watching planes take off and land, and the wonderful food. St. Maarten hosts tourists from all around the world, and the cuisine of the island reflects that. European (especially French) restaurants and bakeries are abundant, Chinese restaurants are easy to find, there are a handful of Indian eateries, and obviously food native to the Caribbean is sold loud and proud.

One of the restaurants we visited boasted itself as a French patisserie and boulangerie (pastry and bread shop). The pastries and loaves of bread in the glass cases were impeccable. The photos on the menu were gorgeous. Alas, the actual food being served wasn’t so great. We ordered an array of items, including an order of crepes served with powdered sugar. How were they, you ask? Totally rubbery and underwhelming, and left me wondering how a place that calls themselves French could possibly mess up a crepe?

There’s a misconception that   crepes are difficult and finicky to make. I’m here to tell you that they’re not. The ingredients get whizzed together in a blender, and the batter is quickly cooked in a pan on the stove. Seriously you guys, really easy. I used the Kitchen Master Genius, Mr. Alton Brown’s recipe, and was left wondering what we were thinking shelling out money for thin rubber pancakes, oops, I mean “crepes”, when we could have been enjoying these light, delicate, and delicious crepes in the comfort of our home.

 

CrepesPic

Crepes

Yield: 15 to 20 Crepes

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for coating the pan
  • 2 ½ tablespoons sugar (if making dessert crepes)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (if making dessert crepes)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in the jar of a blender and blitz for 10 seconds, until thoroughly combined.  Place batter in the refrigerator and chill for one hour.

Heat a medium nonstick skillet (8 to 10 inches in diameter) over medium heat. Lightly coat the pan with butter. When the butter begins to bubble, pour about ¼ cup batter into the center of the pan and swirl it around to coat evenly. If the heat is too high, the batter will begin to scramble and holes will appear. Cook for approximately 30 seconds, when the edges look like they are beginning to turn back on themselves. Flip and cook until set, about 10 seconds. Remove from heat and serve, or cool completely and serve.

Note: Batter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. It may thicken, so add a few tablespoons of water to thin it out before cooking.

Cooled crepes can be kept in a sealable plastic bag in either the refrigerator (for a few days) or freezer (up 2 months).

Marinara Sauce

I’ve been on the lookout for a homemade Marinara recipe for a really long time.  I’ve been slowly trying to incorporate more homemade pantry staples (although this recipe uses canned crushed tomatoes… you win some, you lose some, right?) and I’ve finally found a red sauce that I can call the sauce.  This recipe is very easy to whip up, and it is wonderful used as a dip (a recipe for focaccia, where I use this sauce as a dip, is coming very soon), as a pasta sauce, and even as a base for pizza. Another great thing about this marinara sauce is that it freezes wonderfully! I made a large batch and froze individual jars of sauce for later use.  Whenever I needed some, I simply left it out of the counter for a few hours, and voilà!  Marinara at your service 🙂   MarinaraPic

Marinara Sauce

Yield: 3 Cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • ¾ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar

Directions: Heat oil in a large vessel over medium heat until hot and rippling. Add onions and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add carrots, salt, and pepper, and cook until the vegetables are slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, and bay leaf, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally, until thickened and the vegetables are completely tender. Stir in butter and brown sugar. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Remove and discard bay leaf. Using an immersion blender or food processor, blend the sauce until smooth.