Saturday, January 14, 2012

Easy Flour Tortillas WITHOUT Lard or Shortening!


And these are SOOOOOO easy to make. They're ultra-easy if you have a tortilla press, but still very easy if you only have a rolling pin.

Very tasty, nice and flexible, and if you are vegetabletarian or even vegan these will be perfect for you!

The key is, of course, to use olive oil. Lots an lotsa olive oil! These tortillas are so healthy you won't feel at all bad having 5 or 6 homemade burritos in one sitting!

One caveat to add though: These are not Tex-Mex flour tortillas. It seems Texans for some reason like their tortillas slightly "foofy". That means they add a leavening agent, usually a bit of baking powder, to their tortillas. I personally don't like that for tortillas, as I prefer more of a traditional Mexican tortilla but without the lard and without the modern addition of shortening.

So, here's whatcha need and here's whatcha do:

What you need:
2 cups plain, unbleached flour (or 1 wholemeal and 1 plain)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp sea salt
2/3 cup (Yes, TWO-THIRDS!) extra virgin olive oil
just under 2/3 cup (call it halfway betwixt 1/2 to 2/3 cup) water (H2O)

What you do:
This is pretty simple. Mix everything together in a bowl, knead it for a few minutes till it's a dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Divide your dough into 6 pieces. The easiest way to do this is to roll/shape the dough into a tube, slice it in half, then cut each half into thirds. Although I'm sure you could have figured that out on your own, right?

If you have a 12 inch tortilla press, then you just, ummmmm, ahhhhhh, make your tortillas!

If you only have a 6.5 inch tortilla press (like me) then you still press out the tortillas and then finish them to 12 inches with a rolling pin.

If you have neither, then just roll em out to 12 inches in diameter.

When you stack up the uncooked tortillas make sure you put wax paper or a tea towel betwixt each tortilla.

For "cooking" the tortillas the best cooking implement to use is a large, well-seasoned, cast-iron fry pan. A thick-bottomed stainless steel one will work just fine too.

Once your fry pan is heated up on your stovetop then you just "cook" the tortillas for 20 to 40 seconds a side, only flipping once. Pile up all six, then spread them out on a board to cool for a few minutes.

Once they are cool enough to handle easily but still warm you want to put them into a plastic bag for 15 minutes.

Take the tortillas out of the bag to finish cooling completely and you'll find they nice and flexible and won't tear no matter how much good filling you stuff into them and wrap up!

Load em up with whatever you want! Beans, veggies, shredded seasoned meat, souvlaki fixings, etc. I'm sure you can figure out what to do with them.

Don't worry about how long they'll keep in the fridge, they'll all be eaten in one day -possibly two if you are on your own.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Maggie's Creamy Vegetarian Pepper Pot Soup


I have fun trading recipes, cooking tips n tricks, ingredients substitution, etc on twitter. One of my most wonderfullest twitter mates is named Maggie. She's a vegetabletarian but she also puts my meatiness recipes on her daily paper.

The other day (month!) we were chatting about soups and she said she'd send me her pepper pot soup recipe.

Of course I had to make it!

And of course I had to change it around a bit! Why? Cuz I didn't have all the ingredients at hand so I subbed a couple of items. I also changed the amounts a bit as I was only making it for myself.

She later told me that she herself had modified the original recipe from the person she received it from! Hey, all's fair in the kitchen mates!

Here is her original ingredient list plus directions:


2 Cups Water
2 Cups Veggie Stock
2 Good Sized Potatoes, Shredded
2 Medium Carrots, Shredded
2 Celery Stalks, Chopped fine
2 Medium Onions, Chopped fine
1 Green Pepper, Chopped fine
½ Cup All-Purpose Four
2 tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper, fresh hand milled
1 Cup Water
6 Cups Milk

Mix first 7 ingredients together in a large saucepan. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Mix flour, salt, pepper, and 1 Cup Water together in a small container until no lumps remain. Stir into the simmering soup to thicken it slightly. Add milk. Heat through. Check for seasoning.

Makes 12 ½ Cups

Not being one to take directions too well, I decided to make a few changes based upon why I had on hand. And remember, I was only wanting to end up with 6 to 8 cups. Here's what I came up with:

Maggie's Modified Vegetarian Pepper Pot Soup

1 Cup Water
2 Cups Veggie Stock
1 Good Sized Potato, Shredded
1 Medium Carrot, Shredded
1 Bok Choy, rough chopped, leaves included
1 Medium Onion, Chopped fine
1 Red Bell Pepper, Chopped fine
1 Handfull of fresh Rocket (the peppery kind)
A few fresh basil leaves, rough chopped.
A few fresh coriander leaves (cilantro to North Americans)
½ Cup All-Purpose Four
2 tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper, fresh hand milled
1 Cup Water
2 Cups Milk



I mixed first 10 ingredients together in a large saucepan and brought it to a boil.

It was then covered and simmered for 30 minutes.

Then the flour, salt, pepper, and 1 Cup Water were whisked together and that slurry was stirred into the simmering soup as a thickener and a spicy-er.


The milk was added and the soup was brought back up to temperature.


I checked to see if it needed any more seasonings (like salt) and I added a pinch of sea salt.

And it of course looks great in a bowl!

I of course just had to make one little, itsy, bitsy, teeny, tiny final adjustment...

Fresh grated Parmesan!

The soup was very very tasty, I thoroughly enjoyed it. And you can all thank Maggie up in Canada for sending me the recipe!