Homemade Tortillas (from a mix) and More From My Kitchen Today, Existential Crises Notwithstanding

Homemade Tortillas (from a mix) and More From My Kitchen Today, Existential Crises Notwithstanding
Thank goodness technology has brought us this far. I can now photograph my own hands “in action”. And the quality is so good, I won’t need to spend time editing the photograph. Because I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THAT.

I’m not one to regret much.

I’ve been making sound decisions for myself for a long time now. And I wish I had the ability to describe in words how much angst I’ve produced over this blog, and my work, and my approach. It’s not something that comes easy. I’ve been working on this food blog for nine years now. Ever since I sold my last wedding cake and decided to become a food writer. I do regret that the first few years of my blogging was “slash burned”. Meaning, in great moments of insecurity I’d delete everything. Yes. I deleted everything multiple times.

There’s something that happens to us when we are doing what we REALLY want to do. I think we hit pockets of fear where we are afraid someone will take it all away from us. And if we go down that rabbit hole, and think about all the people who we know who really DON’T wish us well, and here we are all putting ourselves “out there” and everything – we hit a point of madness, where we think if we can just disappear, then the ones who are lurking to see us fall flat on our faces will not see ANYTHING at all. Because there will be nothing to see.

Here I am, flat on my face, taking a photo with my nose. It’s my latest, greatest triumph.

Of course, I wish I had never deleted anything. And I wish I had not been so careful about what I posted. And I wish I had just recorded the daily happenings of my kitchen.

Like the day in 2014 where I was pregnant with Little Rosie, and all I wanted was a delicious piece of lemon meringue pie. I remember posting to my personal FB page that the mission of my day was to find some great lemons, and make a wonderful lemon merengue pie. All of a sudden, I had dozens of my childhood friends accompanying me to the market in Okinawa, Japan to look for lemons. And we found them. Then we made the pie “together”, and they cheered when I finally got to eat that pie.

The pie I made for myself when I was pregnant with Rosie. I can’t believe I found the pic! Apparently, I delete whole posts, but not necessarily photos.

They cheered, we cheered, I cheered. Sure, there may have been some nasty grams lurking: “Who does she think she is, making PIE. GET A REAL JOB. Quit having kids. Blah blah blah blah blah”. I think it was at about that time that I realized that if we all try to disappear because we don’t want to be scrutinized, we are really deleting pieces of ourselves. Just like I deleted so much of my own work. A rash, fear-induced action that I now regret.

It was my husband who finally convinced me to quit deleteing my work. He said “Shannon, please listen to me. Whenever you feel like deleting your work, you need to fight that urge. You need to absolutely NOT delete your work”.

And ever since then, I haven’t deleted my work. I’ve deleted people from my life, I’ve deleted situations that didn’t serve me, I’ve deleted old attitudes that were breaking me down, and I’ve deleted entire infrastructures of old beliefs. But I haven’t deleted any more pieces of myself. And I’m glad about that. Many of us, in attempts to “keep peace” delete pieces of ourselves. Don’t ever do that. Please.

So, I promise, I won’t delete any more work. And from now on, I’ll run this blog like a food blog should be run. It’s a LOG of cooking. A LOG of recipes. It will be an ongoing journal of the goings-on of my kitchen. I regret that I didn’t record my cooking like this years ago. So many important days, thoughts and food adventures would have been recorded. I did record many of them to my personal fb page, and maybe I will be able to set up an archive. If nothing else, for my grandchildren one day, or for the nerdy food anthropologist a couple hundred years from now (hi! I’ve waving at you future person!!). What I wouldn’t give to read a daily account of the going’s on of a Mesopotamian kitchen. Or a Roman kitchen. And I suppose my family is a new Roman family, what with our military life and our Empire and all. And if you know me and like me, or know me and don’t like me, or kind of know me to the point of being uncomfortable that you read my work and are not quite sure how you feel about all of it…..”hi”. Probably a good idea to talk to me about Star Trek or something. Or your cat. I like talking about cats. Better yet, just introduce me to your cat and we’ll call it good.

Fruit Salad of the Day!

I go food shopping every day. As a cook, I cannot help myself. As the mother of seven, it just makes sense. Today’s fruit salad is cantaloupe, kiwi and blood oranges. I felt very lucky to be able to buy cantaloupe and blood oranges on the same day. The cantaloupe is phasing in, and the blood oranges are phasing out.

How’s the weight watchers going? Pretty good. My lunch today. 4 points (from the avocado).

We need to talk about moms, and cooking and weight.

Although it will have to be on another post. But have you noticed that we think in extremes when it comes to food? Yes, of course you’ve noticed. Today I stayed on my weight watchers plan, AND made tortillas , AND ate four of them. Crikey! It’s because I eat lots of water dense foods for breakfast and lunch. Basically, fruits and vegetables, with enough protein that I won’t nibble on one of my children.

Okay, finally the tortillas. A few months ago I saw a meme that was like “look food bloggers, just give me the recipe”. No story, no nothing. Just the recipe. And I’d like to rebut by saying “look person who wants a free recipe, you need to give me free therapy in return for free recipe. It’s a trade, see”. And also, “piss off”. Go buy a book. Preferably mine when I get one published and I love you. It puts the lotion in the basket.

So here’s your tortilla recipe/method. Ya, see? When I’m good and goddam ready. Wow, these were delicious. Now that I have my new iPad nose method, I was able to take photographs of all the steps.

I used this walmart brand tortilla mix. Basically, just add hot water. If you want to start making your own tortillas (and yes, it IS worth it), then give it a try. Don’t feel bad. People use mixes all the time. Plus, it’s a great way to start working with dough before you need to worry about the components of the dough.

For one batch of tortillas (8 tortillas) measure 1 cup of mix into a bowl. By the way, my family ate 3 batches of tortillas.
Add 1/2 cup boiling hot water. The package says to use warm water but I think boiling water makes the tortilla softer.
Mix with a spoon at first. Remember, that water was boiling!
Now use your hands to mold into a dough. Say “hi” to my phone. Isn’t my nose talented? I took all these photos with my nose.
Get rid of the bowl and kneed well.
Until your dough is soft and pliable.
Wrap with plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes. The package says to let is sit for 20, but I think 30 is better. It helps the dough settle so it will roll out better.
After the resting period is over (30 min), unwrap the dough.
Pull the dough in half, then each half in half, then each half of those in half.
You’ll have eight equal pieces. Approximately. Yes, rocket scientist, I see you in the back. They are not exactly equal. Yes, yes. You’re right.
Take a ball, and press it flat.
Then roll it out just slightly.
Pat it between your hands just a little.
Pull out the edges with a rolling pin, just to widen your disc a little.
Hot cast iron. No oil. High heat.
Just a few seconds on each side.
Turn it with a fork. Or your hands if you can stand it.
Dear God, these smell good. You’ll want to just dip them all in butter.
On this particular “Taco Tuesday” , I had ground beef leftover from our Saturday cookout. My husband likes to buy everything in ULTRA BULK. Like he likes to buy 200 rolls of toilet paper at a time. He likes to know we’re taken care of while he’s gone. Well, he bought an insane amount of ground beef and was about to make it ALL into hamburgers, when I was like “wait, wait there tiger. I’ll use the rest of that for Taco Tuesday”. And as promised, here we are. I think it was about 3 lbs.
Now this is important, so pay attention. I memorize RATIOS for my recipes, and here’s one for you now. For every 1 lb of ground beef I cook for tacos, I add in 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp salt. If you can memorize ratios, you can cook anything.
Just as I shooed Thomas out of the kitchen because he wanted to eat a tortilla, one of my teens came in and took a big bite of the tortilla on the top there. She got shooed out too. After she put the tortilla back.
If you want to up your Taco Tuesday game, give these a try. As you can see, it’s the perfect way to try the technique of tortilla making, without worrying about the measurements of the dough ingredients. 7 weight watchers points per 2 tortillas – if you measure that kind of thing.

A pound here and a pound there of stress-weight, middle age-weight and too-much-wine-weight are the only pieces of myself I’m willing to delete anymore.

Today, on my social media channels, I asked my very loyal followers to tell me what I should make with these GORGEOUS lemons tomorrow. So, tomorrow’s lemon day. I’ll bring you along, and we’ll see what we can come up with, okay? My nose is up for the challenge!

Thank you for being here,

Shannon Vavich

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