fridge-cleaning fiesta

by Stacy

That’s totally different from pantry-busting, right? Right.

We’re low on food. That’s good, packing-wise. Not so good around lunchtime. What we did have was flour, salt, butter, and water. Which meant we had homemade tortillas.

homemade tortillas

They were good, man. I found a recipe for flour tortillas on Orangette, and she’s a trust-worthy lady, so I gave it a shot. I only made half a recipe because 18 tortillas sounded like a lot for the two of us. Her recipe actually calls for shortening, but I used butter because… I had some. It turned out fine. I also used bread flour because that’s all I have left. I had to add a little more flour to combat stickiness, but they were quite nice to work with – nice and stretchy.

Why do I have so much trouble rolling dough into circles? I will say, even misshapen, the tortillas were still delicious. And easy – except for the shape. Just mix up the ingredients and let the dough rest, covered, for half an hour. During that time, go pack your husband’s suitcase with eight days-worth of work clothes. After half an hour, divide the dough into equal parts and roll them into thin disks about 7-8 inches across.

Heat in a cast iron skillet, about a minute on each side. Fill with whatever taco fillings you can devise from what’s left in your home. Devour.

tacos in homemade tortillas

I harvested the last tiny bit of lettuce from the patio (the rest of the garden moved to a friend’s house yesterday! Wah!), cooked some beans from the cupboard, made a salsa of two tomatoes, half an onion, the last few bits of cilantro in the crisper, some frozen corn, and half a can of chipotles in adobo that was floating around in the fridge, and whipped up some cilantro-lime rice like Chipotle’s (except I used sushi rice, because that’s what we had). Oh, and some cheddar cheese.

They were actually quite lovely. I’d never made tortillas before, but I definitely will again!

Flour Tortillas

Adapted from Saveur Cooks Authentic American (via Orangette)
Makes 8-10 tortillas

2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons shortening or butter
1 cup boiling water, divided

Bring 1 to 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a small pan or tea kettle.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour and salt and stir well. Add shortening or butter and cut it in with a fork until blended.

Add 1/2 cup of water to the flour mixture and stir, adding up to 1/4 cup more water until dough comes together. When dough is cool enough to handle, finish mixing with your hands, then turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 2-5 minutes until smooth. Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat a cast iron pan over medium heat. Meanwhile, use a bench scraper or serrated knife to divide the dough into 8-10 equal pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a circle 7-8 inches across, as thin as possible.

When a water drop tossed in the pan sizzles quickly, add the thin disk to the pan. Cook 30-60 seconds – tortilla may puff up – then flip to other side for another 30-60 seconds until brown spots have formed. Place on wire rack to cool. Repeat.

Tortillas can be reheated, refrigerated, or frozen, but are best straight away as tacos, burritos, quesadillas, or just as a snack.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Birch August 15, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Remember when we were little, Mom would make tortillas every time we had tacos? And you needed two so they didn’t rip?


stacy August 15, 2009 at 2:12 pm

I barely remember her making tortillas – I know she did, but she hasn’t for so long. I don’t remember needing two, though! Maybe I put on too much Western dressing since I didn’t have salsa until junior high.


Dandy August 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm

You made your own tortillas? I have never in my life done this and you made it sound so easy.

I have to try this.


stacy August 21, 2009 at 12:36 am

I had never done it in my life, either, and it was easy!

Mix up dough, let rest while chopping/grating/heating taco fillings. Roll. Cook. Serve. So much better than store-bought!


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