8 Fresh Corn Tortillas 101

Finally!  I have figured out how to make the perfect corn tortilla!  Light and soft, it's a great compliment to your favorite taco, tostada, enchilada or tacquitos ~

My hubby is not a corn tortilla fan.  He prefers flour.  So do I, until I discovered fresh corn tortillas.  Now we both love them!

These are a healthy, fat free, low sodium alternative and once you taste them, you will never go back to store bought corn tortillas. The store bought ones are filled with preservatives to increase their shelf life as fresh corn tortillas go stale very quickly.
How can something so good with only three ingredients be so complicated to make?

Just like learning how to make whole wheat bread, it's all in the technique and getting the feel of the dough.  My very first corn tortillas were miniature frisbees...

Let me show you what I've learned...

First, you can't just grind your own popcorn into flour and make these.  A particular kind of corn kernel (field corn)  is soaked, treated with lime (not lime juice) and ground into flour.

This is what I used.  Maseca: Instant Corn Masa Flour.

I also use this for my pork tamales.

A four and a half pound bag is just a little over $2 at Walmart or Winco.

Run to your nearest store and buy it today...

If you're not going to use it right away, store it in your freezer.

Don't buy the Maseca in the brown bag to use for tortillas.

It's more coarse and is perfect for tamales, if you prefer a little texture to your tamales.

Though this is very easily mixed by hand, I decided to use my food processor.  If I can mix pie dough in the processor, why not tortilla dough?

Put in 2 cups of Maseca,

1/4 t. salt,

turn on the food processor,

and gradually pour up to 1 1/2 c. hot tap water

Some days, you may need more or less water.  
Just like making bread.

until it comes to a ball, like this.

To test the consistency,  grab a chunk of dough and lightly squeeze it.

It should form a nice clump without leaving a mess in your hands.

If it crumbles, it's too dry ~ add more water

If it sticks to your hands, it's too wet ~ add more masa

This is perfect.

Form your dough into a nice ball.  Notice how the dough feels.  Smooth.  Silky.  Wet, but not sticky.

If you get a flashback to your play dough days....resist the urge to roll the dough into a snake ~

Put it into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.

Let this sit, covered for at least 30 minutes...or up to an hour.
This will allow the corn to absorb the rest of the moisture, resulting in a light, tender tortilla.

Use a tortilla press and a freezer Ziploc bag.  Cut the sides and bottom of the bag and place it on the press.

Parchment paper also works well.

Plastic wrap and wax paper don't work; they are too fragile and fall apart.

Don't have a tortilla press?

Look at one of your plates.  If it has a rim on the bottom, you can use it!  This rim is approximately 5 inches in diameter.

Make sure to still use a freezer baggie or parchment paper...

Get two non-stick skillets.  Put one skillet on med-low and the other on med-high.  When a drop of water is placed on the hot skillet and sizzles, it is ready.

Even better...use e a griddle that covers two burners!

Roll a golf ball size (1.5oz) piece of dough between your hands.

Keep rest of dough covered to keep from drying out.

Place it slightly off-center, toward the hinges, onto the plastic.

Place the other piece of plastic on top,

fold the hinged lid over,

and firmly bring the lever down.

Don't put your whole weight into it...

Open the hinge and rotate the entire plastic wrapped dough 180º.

Fold over the hinge and bring the lever down just a little bit more...

this will help you get a more uniform circle.

Check the edges of your circle.  They should be smoooooth, not cracked or ragged.

Take the top plastic off.

Transfer the raw dough circle by putting your hand over the dough and turning it over.

Slowly and carefully peel the plastic off.

If the dough sticks to the plastic, it is too wet or pressed too thin.

Hold flattened dough at a 45º angle over the med-low griddle.

Move your hand quickly away from your body, letting the hanging part of the tortilla hit the pan, then roll your hand out from underneath, letting it fall flat and smooth.

After 15-20 seconds, the tortilla's edges will feel dry enough to pick it up and flip it over to the med-high griddle.

To reduce the risk of burnt fingertips, use a spatula.

Your fingers will thank you.

The high heat from the second griddle will cause your tortilla to puff up, which is exactly what you want!

Happy dance......happy dance!

Feel free to smoosh the bubble flat with the spatula...

Won't hurt the tortilla a bit ~

After 30-40 seconds, the tortilla is cooked and ready to be covered with a clean, heavy kitchen towel.


Initially the tortillas will feel dry and crisp, but after spending some time with their other tortilla buddies under a heavy kitchen towel, they begin to relax and soften ~

No more miniature frisbees!

There you have it....a soft, tender, white corn tortilla that is ready for your favorite fillings.

What do you like on your tortilla?

Fresh Corn Tortillas
(4x6 recipe download)   (full page printable recipe)
Special thanks to Alton Brown, Rick Bayless, and countless bloggers who have made successful corn tortillas and have encouraged me to make my own ~


6 Chocohotopots ~ You've Got to Try 'Em!

Hot.  Chocolate-ty.  Melt in your mouth.

My very own individual serving of heaven.

so easy and fast to make!  Let me show you...

First, find your favorite semi sweet chocolate.

I used Ghirardelli's Double Chocolate Bittersweet chips.

I found these chips at Sam's Club.

Melt 4 oz. (2/3 cup) of these chips with butter in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time, until melted.

Set aside to cool a bit...

In a separate bowl, combine sugar and eggs,

The recipe calls for superfine sugar, but regular sugar works, too.

and only 3 Tablespoons of all purpose flour.

Add the melted chocolate mixture,

whisk until you get this gooey, dark chocolate batter and pour into buttered 2/3 c. (4 oz.) ramekins or custard baking dishes.

This recipe makes 5 (4oz) servings.

Bake in your oven for 18-20 minutes till you get these light, puffy, dry cracked tops....

Oooooh...I can't wait.

But wait you must.

It will be really hot!  Remember, they're chocohotopots!

This photo says it all ~

Nigella Lawson's Chocohotpots

Bloggers who have made this recipe:
Comemo Let's Eat


4 Katsudon: EASY Breaded Pork Rice Bowl

This is the very first Japanese meal I have ever eaten.  I was on bed rest with my second child when a friend called, "Can I bring over some Katsudon?"

"Huh?  Kat....su...what?"

"Katsudon.  I made it on my mission in Japan and it is so easy and so good!"

When my husband heard that she was bringing this Japanese dish, he nearly lept out of his skin; he was so excited.

What is Katsudon?  It is simply a breaded pork cutlet with sweet soy sauce broth and soft cooked onions served over rice.  It is a very kid-friendly dinner that is a cinch to make.

Start with the broth:  sugar,

an equal amount of soy sauce,

and four times the amount of water.

Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Add a sliced onion, (or green onions) cover and cook till they are soft and tender.

While they are cooking, you can put a pan of rice on the stove.

I like brown rice, but if you are short on time, you can make fluffy white rice.

This is that super thick pork loin that I get from Costco.

I like to slice it about 1/4" thin.

On the left is all purpose flour, a beaten egg, and panko crumbs.

To bread the pork, dip in flour, then egg, then panko and pan fry in a little bit of oil on both sides till you get this...

I've cheated and used frozen breaded chicken patties, which work great in a time pinch.  Shhhhhh.....don't tell anyone ~

Put some rice in a bowl, place your breaded pork (or chicken patty) on top and spoon some sauce over the top...you and your kids will gobble this up!

My hubby likes the authentic way of eating Katsudon: whisk a raw egg, pour it on top of this dish, cover it with a lid/plate and let it steam a minute or two.

Me?  I'm a picky eater and I like it without the egg ~

Katsudon: Breaded Pork with Rice

(4x6 recipe download)   (full page printable recipe)


6 Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

How often do you eat fish?

I probably eat it five times a year.

Did you know you are supposed to eat fish 2-3 times per week?

One of those portions should be oily fish.


I didn't realize there was an oily fish.  I just knew I liked boneless white fish.
Halibut, talapia, or cod.

So what is oily fish?

Okay, what about mercury?  All fish have mercury, but some have more than others.  Check here for a complete list from Dr. Oz.

I just discovered that I should have canned tuna three times or less per month.  Why?  Because it is high in mercury.  I have a case of the stuff in my storage room downstairs and guess what?  It only has a shelf life of two years.

To introduce more fish into our diet, I got a box of individually frozen tilapia from Costco.  Now what?
Look up some recipes on the Internet.  I like finding recipes that have ratings/reviews from people who have actually made the recipe and eaten it.

I stumbled upon Rachel Ray's Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia.  There were only 23 people who rated the recipe, but it received high marks.  Looks like a very simple recipe with four ingredients: fish, paprika, parmesan, and parsley.  Oh, and count the olive oil and lemon wedge.  Looked too easy to be true, but here goes...

I took my frozen, yes, frozen fish and brushed it with olive oil on a foil lined baking pan.

In a separate bowl, I combined the paprika, parmesan and parsley.

I didn't have 1 T. fresh parsley, so I used 1/2 T. dried.

Dipped the frozen fish into the mixture and started having second thoughts...

this looks like a lot of paprika.

I'm not sure how this is going to turn out...

Put it into a 400ºF oven and cooked it for about 20 minutes.  If you have fresh or thawed out fish, it will only take 10-12 minutes.

The result?

Crispy, cheesy, flaky fish.  Too easy, too good to be true, but it is!

Now this, I can eat twice a week.  What is YOUR favorite fish recipe?

Rachel Ray's Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia


1 Rice Chex is Gluten Free!

Many sweet ladies volunteered to cover my position as Primary pianist in  church while I was gone with the Japanese students.  I decided to gift each of these ladies with a hot loaf of my honey wheat bread.

Then I heard that one of these gals has Celiac and cannot eat anything that has wheat, barley or rye in it.  I don't know what I would do if I couldn't eat bread...

I soon came across Redhead Recipes, who announced that Chex (corn and rice) is Gluten Free ~ and I knew what I had to make for my gluten free friend...

Muddy Buddies.  Also known as Puppy Chow.

So easy to make, so addicting, and so good!

You can find the recipe HERE.

I made sure all the ingredients (cereal, peanut butter, chocolate chips, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar) said Gluten Free on them.  If I couldn't find it, I looked it up on the Internet.

She was thrilled to get a treat, and appreciated that I took her diet into consideration.

After talking to her about baking gluten free products, and asking about a gluten free blog site, she highly recommended Gluten Free Girl and the Chef.  More than just recipes for the gluten free diet, here is a story about a writer, discovering the joy of finding food that loves her back and falling in love with The Chef, her partner in life and cooking.

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