Taco night… every night

July turns me into the laziest meal maker. World Cup 2018 is in full swing, the garden needs weeding, I want to be outside!

Subsequently …… we have been eating a lot of tacos lately. Kiddo seems to not mind eating whatever protein I wrangle up for dinner as long as it is a taco condiment and can be drowned out by her shredded soy cheese, sliced kalamata olive and iceberg lettuce combination. As a parent of a 9 year old picky eater that is a huge win. I keep a stock of corn tortillas on hand. Salsa and sour cream are always in the fridge. Some small amount of protein thing (pulled chicken, pork, beef or sliced steak, re-fried beans or chickpeas, or crisp bacon!) is always available, a bit of lettuce, some sort of cheese, some pickled onions or peppers and a pile of herbs from the garden makes supper ready in about 10 minutes. Sometimes I make some rice, sometimes we add corn or another hot vegetable. Viva la tacos!

I was recently asked to provide a recipe for a wedding shower and came across this gem while flipping through my collection. Of course I had to whip up a batch to test it out before donating it to the newlyweds recipe collection. Super delicious, not very difficult to master, and very enjoyable to make for yourself. I made mine gluten free using a cup for cup replacement (one with a fair bit of xantham gum which I have been struggling to find a great use for. It worked well in this recipe). I would suggest that the volume of warm water called for may require a little variation depending on the flour you are using. I used almost double what was called for in my gluten free batch. I know you are going to love making these. Enjoy!

Bria’s Flour Tortillas

This recipe was given to me by my sister many years ago. She was living in Australia at the time and had a room mate who taught her to make tortillas from scratch. I am sure this will bring back some great memories for her and I hope it creates some cherished ones for you at your home. Here we go!

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

0.75 tsp baking powder

5 Tbsp cooking oil (I used olive oil)

1 cup (plus a little) warm water

Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry stuff and pour in the water and oil. Combine by “fluffing” the ingredients together. Push your hands down under the dry from the sides of the bowl and turn them upwards and lift. Don’t knead the mixture, just fluff it until most of the wet has been incorporated. Once it is fairly combined it should look like a crumbly biscuit dough. At that point you can knead it a few times to help it form into a ball. You aren’t working the gluten here like you would for a bread dough. This fluffing method is the same way I incorporate liquid into pie or sweet dough. Just barely bring it together. Punch it a few times, divide it into quarters and then cover it with a damp towel to let it rest.

Meanwhile set up a few large pans on your stove. I used a shallow saucepan but a saute pan would work as well. Lightly oil the pan so your tortilla doesn’t stick. Turn on the heat to medium high and start rolling.

I divided my dough half, then into quarters, and then each quarter into thirds. I had enough dough for 20 x 6 inch tortillas! Whoa!

Sprinkle some flour on your counter and form a dough ball into a disc. Tap each side in flour and make sure there is still flour under the dough once you start rolling. Roll the dough out very thin (about 3 mm). I had to flip mine once or twice to keep it from sticking. Put the tortilla in your hot pan and keep on rolling.

Let each tortilla cook about three minutes on each side. Air bubbles should form in a few places within the tortilla as they cook. Let them be, they will deflate once your tortillas cool down a little.

I was a little speedier rolling than cooking so I ended up using multiple pans at once. Work at whatever pace feels best to you. This dough can be wrapped really well with plastic wrap and kept in the fridge overnight but it won’t roll out quite as nicely the next day. If you do stash it like this allow it come up to room temperature before working with it.

If you have a tortilla press now is the time to use that puppy. I have a small pinning pin and no press and it worked just fine for me.

I sincerely hope you have as much fun with this recipe as I have had over the years. Making tortillas from scratch is so satisfying, fairly easy and it just adds a touch of awesomeness to your weekly (or more often… ) taco night.

Cheers!

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Cookie season 

Here is a recipe for some gluten free Chocolatey Oatmeal cookies for all your “stay inside and bake stuff” needs. These puppies don’t spread much so feel free to crowd them a little on the baking sheet. This yields a sturdy oatmeal cookie and is exactly what I have been craving…. for like….. years. 

Chocolatey Oatmeal Cookies

1/4 pound softened butter

1 cup brown sugar 

Beat these together until fluffy and sugar is dissolved. It may take a bit of elbow grease. Stay the course. 

In a separate bowl combine

1.25 cup buckwheat flour 

2 tsp cornstarch 

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

0.25 tsp salt

Mix it up. Gently. Sift into the bowl containing the butter and sugar mixture.

Add 

1.5 cup quick oats

1 egg 

1 tsp vanilla 

Stir everything up until it is a homogenous mixture. 

Place heaping spoonfuls onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Press tops down gently. Bake at 350*F for 6-8 minutes. Let cool slightly before lifting from the tray. 

These are super awesome if made into chocolate on chocolate sandwich cookies with either nutella or chocolate spread. It’s bonkers. 

Enjoy! 

Real Gingerbread

Not cookies, not syrup, not gingerbread infused flavor shot nonsense. I am talking real, dense, spiced so heavily it hurts, good ol’ fashioned gingerbread. Here is an adapted recipe that the kiddo and I made over Christmas. Enjoy!

Real Gingerbread

3 cup gluten free flour blend

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8th tsp ground cloves

1.5 Tbsp ground ginger (it was pretty spicy, feel free to decrease for a milder cake)

3/4 cup soft butter

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup  milk

Combine all the flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.

Bring the 1 cup of milk to a boil and add the raisins to it to plump them. Let sit until cool and then puree the two together. The raisins will help add moisture to the cake and extend its shelf life.

Combine the butter, sour cream and brown sugar. Beat until sugar dissolves and is very smooth (not grainy). Add the egg and molasses. Add half the dry mix, then the milk mix, then the other half of the dry mix.

As this is gluten free flour we are using we can feel free to beat the crap out of this batter to ensure it is totally smooth. With regular wheat flour I would advise gentle folding at this point so as not to develop the gluten network which would affect the final texture of the baked cake. With gluten free flour we do not have to be concerned about that so go ahead and beat it up until smooth.

Prepare a 10″ bundt pan by spraying it with cooking oil and then coating it with gluten free flour. Pour in your batter and bake it in a 350*F oven for about an hour. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a cooling rack.

I suggest whipping up a sauce for this cake. I would have like a cream cheese icing or a hard caramel sauce to balance out all that spice.

Have a great holiday season folks! May your new year be delicious!

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