Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fajitas & Tortillas

 Chicken Fajitas and Homemade Flour Tortillas

This is probably the main reason 
my husband married me.
Well maybe not the *main* reason, 
but it was definitely a contributing factor!

Chicken Fajitas are pretty much a no-brainer.
The one piece of advice I can offer is
Combine lime juice, cumin and fresh garlic
with a little olive oil, hot sauce 
and whatever other seasonings you like.
 Marinate your chicken and veggies separately.
It really makes a world of difference.

While that marinates,
make tortillas.

When I was a just a little girl,
my great-grandmother taught me how to make
her famous homemade flour tortillas.
Here is Grandma on her 84th birthday.
What I remember most about Grandma's tortillas
is she never measured anything,
she did it all by hand, 
she handed me a ball of dough just to play with,
and she always, always burnt the first one,
(Grandpa liked it that way anyway.)

Now, every time I make tortillas
all those childhood memories come rushing back,
and that's probably why 
they are one of my favorite things to make.

My recipe's evolved a little over the years...

Here's what you'll need:

4 cups of flour, 
2 teaspoons of baking powder,
1 teaspoon of salt
*1/2 cup of lard, shortening, butter, or oil
1 1/2 cups hot water
extra flour for rolling out tortillas

*Here's the dirt on lard:
I've done some experimenting
and I find the best results come from 
half lard half shortening.
Pretty sure Grandma always used straight up lard.
Now you may be wondering, what is lard?
I really wasn't sure either, 
until I found that it is basically
 just rendered animal fat.
So if you're totally grossed out by that, 
try one of the alternatives 
and let me know your results.
One of these days I'm going to try coconut oil.


Mix dry ingredients in large Kitchenaid mixer
add the lard/shortening (or whatever)
one teaspoon at a time 
with the dough hook on low.
You can also do this with your fingers or a pastry cutter.
You want the lard/shortening/flour mixture to get all crumbly.
With the dough hook still on low
slowly add hot water. 
Let the dough hook do all the kneading for you.
After a few minutes you should have a nice smooth dough ball
Set it on a floured surface, 
cover it with a damp kitchen towel, 
and let it rest for a few.

Next roll your dough into balls.
Try to keep them around the same size 
and keep those babies covered with a damp towel
so they don't dry out!

Roll each one flat and as round as possible.

This is my method: 

Start with a tall skinny oval shape.
Then flip it over, turn it horizontally
and roll it some more 
until you have a (sort of) circle.

I've found they get rounder with every batch,
but they'll probably never be 
as perfectly round as Grandmas.

*FYI: Don't use a tortilla press. 
They are for corn tortillas and they will never
 get the dough as thin as you need it to be.
You'll end up with gordita/flat bread spheres
(which my husband loves by the way.)

Cooking tortillas

I use a griddle but if you have a comal, use that! 
Medium heat, 
You don't want them to burn.
Flip with caution, 
You don't want to cook your fingertips!

See these beautiful bubbles.
 Tortillas are done when those bubbles 
turn a nice brown color on both sides.

Eat one right way 
because you totally deserve it!

Keep the rest under a towel, 
or in a covered pan in a warm oven 
until you're ready to serve them up. 

Now back to the fajitas

Start with the chicken 
and cook until done, stirring frequently.
Remove chicken. 
Cook up the veggies
But don't overcook them, 
you want firm not mushy!
Add the chicken and give it a stir.

Now you're ready to serve up 
your homemade tortillas and chicken fajitas!