Burritos/Tortillas

Burritos are one of our favorite foods. It had been a few months, which is very out of character for us, since we’d had them so the other day, we needed to fix that.

First things first, we had to cook the beans. Typically, we’ll just rinse about 2 cups of pinto beans, place them in a two-quart pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Then the heat is turned off and they sit for an hour. After draining and rinsing, they are again covered with water and brought to a boil. The heat is turned down so they remain simmering and they are watched. For refried beans, you want them to be really, really soft, which takes water, but you don’t want them watery. Or too dry. Once they’ve been cooking for an hour or two, we start mushing them against the side of the pan. Eventually you’ll have a mass of mostly mushed beans. You can use a fork or even put the beans in a blender or food processor. In our kitchen, we like to go for easy and the fewest possible dirty dishes. That means mushing against the edge of the pan with the spoon that’s been stirring them upon occasion. At some point in time, you should add salt. We usually add between 1/2 and 1 whole tablespoon; it is completely up to you and what your tastebuds/blood pressure will allow.

We also like to have rice in our burritos. I prefer long-grain brown rice and since no one else either cares or gives opinions otherwise, we have long-grain brown rice unless there isn’t time for anything other than white. White rice is really good as a hot pack–I should perhaps discuss this in another post. Continuing on with the brown rice, you need 2 1/4 cups water, 1 cup rice, about a tablespoon butter or oil, and however much salt you like, we typically use in the neighborhood of a teaspoon. Bring that all to a boil in a one-quart pot, reduce the heat so it’s simmering but won’t boil over with the lid on, and cover. It should be done in about 45 minutes.

Cheese: my preference is extra sharp cheddar but we use whatever cheddar we have on hand. Grate up a bunch because there is no such thing as too much cheese.

Salsa: I have made my own salsa off and on for years. When I don’t make my own, Mrs. Renfro’s is our favorite. Especially the green jalepeno or the habanero. Well, for those of us who like it hot. The rest of us use whatever baby salsa we have on hand. Baby salsa? you ask. Yeah, no heat, basically. Those of us who don’t like the heat really don’t like the heat. It’s kind of lame.

Avocados: unless you live somewhere where you can pick them off a tree, make sure they’re soft but not mushy. And ignore the smarty-pants people who talk about the “green stuff like butter that has no flavor.” If you don’t like avocados, fine. Just keep your mouth shut.

I think that brings us to the tortillas. Yeah. The best commercial tortillas I’ve ever had were ones we discovered while we lived in New Mexico. I think they were called Albuquerque Tortilla Company but I can’t find anything definitive in a quick online search so it may be that they are indeed the company that sold out to Mission. Very sad. Honestly, however, it is their whole wheat tortillas I loved. I had white flour tortillas. They’re pasty and gross. Yuck! I love whole wheat tortillas; if they’re made right. Typically those you find at the store are like cardboard or aren’t really whole wheat. Still yuck.

The recipe I have came from a couple of Mexican women who frequented the same organic garden we did in California so I’m pretty sure it’s pretty authentic. Here goes:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup warm water

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the oil and mix well. Mix in the water. Let rest 1/2 hour.

Divide dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a circle.

 

2016-02-06 making tortillas 3

Four ready to go.

Cook on an ungreased griddle on medium heat for about 30 seconds. Flip; cook until brown spots form, about ten seconds. We use a cast iron skillet.

2016-02-06 making tortillas 4

As you can see, this one obviously isn’t very round. You can also see the towels to the right waiting for more tortillas and the sourdough starter to the left. Always, the sourdough.

Place the cooked tortillas on a rack on which you’ve placed a towel and cover the stack with another towel; this keeps them warm and from drying out. We usually have two or three people working on tortillas because we don’t make just 12. Currently we make 24 and while we had everyone home, 36 was not unheard of. In order to make short work of tortilla making, have one person squishing the dough into fat rounds, one person rolling them thin, and one person cooking. A tortilla press would be a good investment.

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