10 November, 2011

L'homme de Tortillas

My life has been in a perpetual tortilla drought since 2005. Sure, Boston had tortillas. You could go to the grocery store and buy a pack of overpriced tortillas that had probably been made several weeks prior. Even Whole Foods didn't have great fresh tortillas. For years I resigned myself to buying Mission brand tortillas, trying not to shed tears each time I tore into one. Not at all like the soft, fluffy, cloud-like tortillas I was used to in Texas. Friends can attest to the massive packs of tortillas I would bring in my suitcase after trips to Texas. Typically I'd make it back with 50 flour tortillas, all of which would be gone within two weeks.

In Geneva it's even worse. 6 vacuum sealed tortillas can be had for the outrageous price of 7.50CHF. And since they're vacuum sealed, you know they're as fresh as the day they were made... three months ago. Clearly at the rate I eat tortillas, prices like this will deplete my savings within the first year. And so I decided to strike out on my own and attempt to make tortillas myself. I'm a decent cook and I'd say I know my way around a kitchen fairly well, but I've never attempted to make any bread/dough related things before. I used the recipe from Homesick Texan which seemed simple enough.

Let me reiterate here: I had no idea what I was doing. Not only that, finding simple ingredients in this country ain't so simple. Baking powder? I asked a francophone friend and was told it's "levure." Nope, that's yeast. I think what I ended up with is dried yeast, but I combed through the supermarket and asked two employees (although we've already established the fact that my French ain't tres bien just yet) so I'm not sure that baking powder as we know it exists here. 

I followed the recipe from the blog, and holy shit, the tortillas turned out amazing.

Look at those beautiful things. They looked and felt just like the tortillas from Mamacita's (a favorite Tex-Mex restaurant in New Braunfels). I skimped on the salt which turns out was a mistake, but overall they were amazing and I'll be making lots more in the future. 

I wouldn't have posted this normally because, one, I realized that whenever I write about cooking it's pretty boring, and two, I've sent this picture to the majority of the people who read this blog with the caption of "LOOK HOW AWESOME I AM" or something similar. Ricky has suggested that my new nickname be "Tortilla Dan," or "L'homme de tortillas." I approve. However, something happened that made me decide this was blog-worthy: Amy attempted to make the tortillas

Amy loves baking. Or I assume so based on the fact that she has a blog that's mostly about food and is always experimenting with crazy awesome things. Like bagels. After sending her the picture of my awesome tortillas and raving about how simple it was, she asked for the recipe and gave it a shot:

I'm inclined to blame the fact that she's a New Yorker. She hasn't grown up seeing tortillas being freshly made in the kitchens of restaurants like I have. The first time I got Mexican food in New York, my vegetarian quesadilla came with broccoli and carrots in it. She probably confused the concept of tortilla with "flat, tasteless bagel" or something. And even though she's now a California transplant, she's in San Francisco which doesn't have the good stuff in the way that Southern California and Texas does. Clearly Amy does not earn the title of "la femme de tortillas."

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