Chortillas? Wait and see, they are an original invention of genius for the corn-tortilla challenged, like me.
Yes, I'm back. I have missed blogging! While I've been away, reading but not responding to the very kind comments posted here, I lost a bunch of weight and have successfully kept it off for over five months. I'm looking so great, feeling so fantastic both mentally and physically, and have so much energy that I'm highly motivated to maintain my current weight and fitness. I also really, really love to cook and eat. This isn't a "my weight loss journey" type of blog, but if you read over my old posts, you'll see that in the past I've been a healthy though high-fat and enormous portion kind of cook, the kind that starts every meal with a generous pouring of oil into the bottom of a frying pan, more oil if things look dry, plus a little drizzle for flavour at the end, the kind of cook who makes enough for four because she's too lazy to divide recipes, then eats it all because she doesn't want leftovers (you all don't see that part...). So I've had to make big changes in the way I cook and eat and think about food, and this has taken some time. As the song says, old habits die hard.
|An example of the new style - steamed mixed grains, cauliflower tabbouli, |
black-eyed peas with greens
|And more - butternut squash curry with coconut and|
First, though, the chortillas. I don't know how many of you have tried to make corn tortillas without a tortilla press. I've done it a few times, without notable success. My corn tortillas are a nuisance to roll out, and always seem to turn out dry, crumbly, and not very tasty. My chapati, on the other hand, rock. So my brilliant idea was to try a flatbread that was half chapati flour and half masa harina, and lo, chortillas were born! They worked great, were a dream to roll out (no waxed paper required), and were as thin and pliable as chapati but tasted like corn. Perfect! Here's what I did:
makes 3 seven-inch chortillas
1/4 cup chapati flour
1/4 cup masa harina
pinch of salt (optional)
Mix the flours and salt, if using, together in a medium bowl. Add enough warm water to make a stiff dough. It should be stiff, but not crumbly, and should not stick to the counter when you knead it. Knead for about two minutes, until the gluten in the chapati flour begins to develop and the dough can be moulded without cracking. Divide into three and form each piece into a flattened ball, like this:
Now cover the pieces with plastic wrap or a plate to keep them moist, and let them sit for at least ten minutes. This sitting period is important for chapati as well as chortillas--it allows the dough to relax so it can be rolled out more easily, and also just makes them cook better.
When you're ready to cook, heat an ungreased skillet (cast iron works best if you have it) to medium. Roll out one of the balls to about a 1/8 inch thickness--nice and thin without actually being transparent. You'll probably have to dust the rolling pin and rolling surface with a little chapati or masa flour. Flip the rolled chortilla back and forth between your hands a few times to knock off any loose flour, and place it on the hot skillet and cook it on one side for a minute or two. It should bubble up in parts. If it starts to burn right away, your skillet is too hot! Flip it, and cook the other side. You should get some nice golden speckling, like this:
It's done--move it to a plate and cover it with another plate or a bowl to keep it moist. You can briefly reheat it in the microwave or oven just before serving, if you like. Do the same for the other chortillas.
Now, for the:
Okra with Soy Curls, sausage, and tomatoes
1/4 cup dry Soy Curls
1/2 tsp olive or canola oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 oz seitan sausage (about 1/4 cup), preferably a chorizo (spicy) kind, chopped
1 fresh hot pepper (like Thai, ring of fire, etc.), minced, or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tsp paprika
1/2 cup sliced raw okra
2/3 cup canned diced tomatoes, with juice
Salt and pepper
First, rehydrate the Soy Curls in some kind of broth or hot, flavoured water. I used hot water with a teaspoon of Bryanna Clark Grogan's "chicken-style" broth powder (see sidebar for a link to the recipe).
|Tell me this doesn't look strangely appealing..|
This will take about 10 minutes. While the Soy Curls are reconstituting, chop up the remaining ingredients:
Now heat a little oil in a non-stick skillet, and add the onions. Stir and fry for about five minutes on medium-high heat, until the onions are translucent. Add the drained and squeezed Soy Curls, the seitan, garlic, and hot pepper (if using), and continue to stir and fry until the onions and Soy Curls are beginning to brown:
Add the paprika, the diced tomatoes with their juice, and the okra:
Bring to a boil, add a little vegetable broth or water if it looks dry, cover, and cook until the okra is tender, about 7-10 minutes. Add pepper and taste for salt, and serve with, in this case, chortillas, steamed broccoli and cauliflower with the Green Goddess dressing from Vegan Appetite, and some steamed beet greens: