Thursday, December 8, 2011

What's Cookin' Good Lookin'

This has been my first year of really cooking a lot of meals for myself.  And so far I have not burned down the apartment, which is a pretty fantastic accomplishment when you recall that I am a college kid. I really do enjoy cooking, but despise doing dishes with a passion.  If there was ever something that needed to be illegal, it would be not having a dishwasher. 
Last night I knew I was going to use leftover rice and make my (in)famous MexiRice.  There is really hardly anything that is "authentic" Mexican in it except Wholly Salsa (if that is even considered authentic) and some taco seasoning.  I'm not going to lie, I used mozzarella and colby jack cheese.  Don't judge me, it is DELICIOUS.  However, this MexiRice brought me to the most unusual and unexpected circumstance. 
I go to the Circle K near school to get tortilla chips, thinking surely every convenience store must sell tortilla chips.
They had queso, but no tortilla shells or chips...because that makes sense.  I know I would want to buy some ruffles and dip 'em in queso.  So after being somewhat bummed that I was going to have to change my menu idea, I decided that, in fact, I would change for no one.  And within five minutes I had found a flour tortilla recipe that did not require lard or any other ingredients I did not have (for any of you thinking "Oh God" it gets even better!).
I get out the flour (I am going to owe my roomie a bag at the rate I am going) and mix the baking powder and salt in with a fork.  We don't have a sifter, so naturally a fork seemed like the next best thing.  I pour in the cooking oil, stir it around a bit with the fork, and then decided I was going to be even more awesome chef-like and mix it by hand...
Bad choice.
In hindsight dousing my hands in cooking spray might have made this experience a little more enjoyable.  But I didn't think of that until after the fact, which is just how it always seems to work out isn't it... So I am completely covered in tortilla dough and trying to find creative corners of fingers to reply to text messages throughout this whole scenario (I couldn't possibly just reply later, that would be too much like admitting defeat.)  I add the warm water and get it into a much more manageable ball.  I read the next step and it is wrap the tortilla dough in plastic and let it rest.
We don't have Saran wrap in the apartment or anything like that, so a gallon size zip bag was pretty much the next (and only) best thing.  So I am letting this dough rest and getting all the rest of the dough off my hands.  I let it rest 30 minutes, rolled it into balls, and went to roll them out. 
We don't have a rolling pin (is anyone wondering why exactly I took this on yet? I blame Circle K for this).  However, I do have this fantastic waterbottle that I got from the World Wildlife Fund which happens to be perfect as a pseudo rolling pin.  So I roll out my first one and cook it and it comes out looking just like a pita bread.  So I roll the next ones out so thin I can practically see through them and they still kind of look like somewhat thinner pita bread.
The homemade "tortillas" tasted pretty good and I never thought anything of it until my mom asked me what kind of flour I had used.  I had literally never even given it a second thought, but I had never asked my roommate what kind of flour she buys! So I figure the flour was self rising and I added baking soda to it to make it even more delightfully puffy haha.  Or the recipe is just wrong. The recipe though would have been highly delicious (even with the wrong flour) if I had left out the salt, as it really would have been like pita. My conclusions from this venture?
  • Listen to my mother's advice and never take a completely new recipe to someplace when you don't know if it will work (although I still think variations on trusted recipes is fine)
  • Ask your roommate first what kind of flour she got, or for that matter even remember the fact that different kinds of flour exist
  • Homemade pita would be super easy to make
  • Tortillas are very easy to make if you use the right stuff
  • The best laid plans usually fail the hardest
Even though these weren't perfect, I had a blast.  How many people ever even TRY to make their own tortillas, much less their own pseudo-pita.  I will try to make tortillas again someday and I will conquer them.  And then I will probably determine they aren't worth the work and I will just buy them like I have been.  And as for tonight, I will eat my non-authentic MexiRice with my Pita tasting tortilla leftovers...
And love every bite haha.

PS- In my defense I am usually pretty decent at cooking basic things and bake a mean cakepop.  I had a successful first try at a cheesecake a few weeks ago, yet I failed tortillas.  Life, unscripted! Pin It Now!

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