Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tortilla Inspiration

I watched the movie Tortilla Soup last night and oh, it filled me with the cooking bug. If you like to cook and haven't seen it, I highly recommend giving it a viewing. It's no great cinematic masterpiece, but especially if you've got immigrant heritage, it will certainly fill your heart with nostalgia for those delicious family meals!

I couldn't help but picture my dear departed Italian grandmother who was an amazing cook and is my eternal inspiration for all things culinary. I know what you're thinking... there aren't too many red-headed Italians out there. Well... the red hair came from my mother, and I fear whatever domestic skills once inhabited that branch of the family tree were long ago lost to the YWCA and the League of Women Voters.

But my father's mother grew up in the kitchen. There were 3 sisters, and she drew what she always considered the unlucky lot of being the one who had to stay home and do the domestic work while the other two went to school. My father and I always considered this to be our great fortune especially where our stomachs were concerned!

Anyhow, the movie got me inspired, and since I bought a half gallon of milk the other day, I've gotta cook like crazy to use it all up before it goes bad.

But the real kicker came this morning when one of my database clients called with a pile of tedious work for me, setting off a horrible case of the "I-jus-don-wanna's".

Sooooo, when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object... it's time to BAKE!

First up... Cornbread!

CatMan is a lover of all things corn, and me... not so much, But cornbread is one thing we can both agree upon. There's nothing like a nice buttery batch of cornbread fresh from the skillet on a cold winter evening. Since I have to use up the milk, I made a double batch.

Here's the recipe (for a single batch)

1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup honey
1/2 stick butter

Preheat oven to 350. Put about a third of the butter into a cast iron skillet and stick it in the oven while it heats up. Melt the remaining butter in the microwave (if you were organized enough you could just melt all of the butter in the skillet and pour most of it into the batter, but that never seems to occur to me at the time).

Beat eggs, milk, melted butter and honey together. Add all of the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly. Some people get their panties all in a wad about not stirring too much or you'll end up with it not rising correctly, to which I say... whatever.

Anyhow, when the oven is hot take the skillet out and swirl the butter around making sure to thoroughly coat the bottom and as far up the sides as you can get it without spilling. Pour the batter into the skillet and return to the oven.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until there is a golden brown crust around the outside and a knife comes out clean from the middle.

Next up.... Tortillas! (Of course!)

The recipe I use is basically this one, so I won't bother to type it all out. I use whole wheat flour though, and the ratio is one cup of milk to two cups of flour.

Well... all I can say is there will be no shortage of carbohydrates in this household for some time!


  1. I made tortillas last Friday, and was pondering a tortilla post myself :) My recipe, which I'm fairly happy with, just uses flour and water. This time, I thought they came out a little dry -- maybe using some milk instead of water would help with that?

    Thanks for the movie recommendation!

  2. This is hands down the yummiest tortilla recipe I have found. It's not exactly traditional because it used baking powder, but it makes such a satisfyingly chewy tortilla. Hope you enjoy the movie!


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