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Too Simple Fancy Pants Artisan Bread. No Knead. No $Dough. Just great bread.

There is nothing like homemade bread.  This past year, I’ve learned how to make really fabulous bread for my family.  We mix up a batch of dough and keep it in the refrigerator.  And when we need a loaf or a ball of dough for pizza crust, it’s waiting for us.  It’s so good, we’re not buying processed bread at the store anymore.  Say hello to easy crusty, golden artisan bread and say goodbye to 42 ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Stirred-not-kneaded, refrigerated dough didn’t originate with me.  Grab this book—Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day —- and Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois will show you how to make bread that will wow your taste buds with a minimum of prep.  You can also check out their recipe here on Mother Earth News. If you would like to watch a video of them mixing up a batch of whole wheat dough, they’ve posted a link on the Amazon page for their second book, “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.”

As if making bread with 4 ingredients and doing it in 5 minutes isn’t quite zippy enough, I’ve tailored their recipe to make it slightly more budget friendly on start up costs.  Hertzberg and Francois recommend using a pizza peel, preheated-baking stone and cornmeal, but stones and pizza peels are an investment, cornmeal smokes and worst of all, it’s no fun to shatter a $45 baking stone making a .50 loaf of bread.  I also modified the salt content and I like the results.

Of course, most normal people will start with the regular recipe, but we’re feeding a crowd, so I make the big one.  I also have given up trying to count cups of flour (I lose count somewhere between 3 and 13) and just invested in a scale.  Scales are so handy.  And fun.

The recipe

13 cups of UNBLEACHED flour:   You won’t need bread flour, but do pick out an unbleached variety.     Hertzberg and Francois will tell you their method for scooping the flour; too little flour and your dough will be too moist.  I however, just measure out 4lbs. 4oz.  So yep, that is almost an entire sack of flour.  My favorite unbleached flour is found at Kroger.  It varies through the year from 1.99 for 5 lbs. to about $2.39.

3 tablespoons of yeast:  If you enjoy this bread, you will want to buy yeast in bulk.  You can purchase 4 lbs. of yeast for about $13 on Amazon–and less if you use Subscribe and Save.  My friends who shop at Sam’s can also find a great deal on yeast there.

2 tablespoons of sea salt:  I really like Kroger’s Coarse Mediterranean Sea Salt and the price is better than the Morton brand I find at Walmart.  Word to the wise:  sea salt is not as salty as plain ‘ole salt.  I think that coarse kosher salt is also a good choice.  If you have a choice about what to use, though, consider avoiding iodized salt.  My grandpa Connie thought it tasted bitter and I agree with him.

6 cups of hot water:  I use it very hot from the tap.  (Edited on 9/21/14 to say this:  I’VE STARTED USING 5 3/4 CUPS WATER the last 6 times I’ve made the bread AND I LIKE THE RESULTS.   I think this recipe has a lot of wiggle room.   Please don’t be afraid to try.  It’s a minimal investment of dough, I  mean $, so just keep at it.)

Here are the easy directions:  Mix the dry ingredients into a really, really big bowl.  If you don’t have a big bowl, use a very large stock pot.  Pour in the water and stir very well.  Make sure all the flour is incorporated because it will not magically mix itself.  Cover with a lid, plastic wrap or a damp towel.

Let rise for 2 hours in a nice, warm spot.  The dough rise up to eat you like the Stay Puft Giant.

Punch the dough down so the lid will fit again and put the dough into the refrigerator and let it chill out for a couple of hours (at the very least).  The secret to getting this loose dough to form a proper shape is to have it well-chilled.  I have, in a pinch, chilled the dough in the freezer.  The dough will keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.

Heat your oven to spit-fire hot.  The goal is to get your oven to 450 degrees, but of the 4 ovens I’ve spent lots of time with, only one of them would be at 450 when I set the dial just so.  Even with my brand new oven, I find I need to set it on 470 for regular baking and 440 on convection.  Set a broiler pan on the lowest rack to heat up along with the oven.

Now prepare your baking surface.  Pick one:  cast iron pan, cast iron dutch oven, pizza pan or baking sheet.  I like to use parchment paper, but I’ve also just simply greased my pizza pan with olive oil.  You can also try the cornmeal/wooden pizza peel/hot baking stone trick, but make sure you have an exhaust fan.

Take your well-chilled dough  and shape into a boule or flattened ball.  Tuck the edges underneath and it will be smooth.  You can use a little flour if your dough is sticking.  Place it on the baking surface and let rise, covered with a damp towel, until your oven is truly hot.  When the bread and oven are ready,  cut a few slashes on top of your loaf with a serrated knife.  Pop into the oven, dump a cup of water into the broiler pan to give the bread some steam, and bake for 35-40 minutes.

The loaf is done when it is very golden brown and there aren’t any soft grayish spots near the bottom.  Err on the side of very done, as a dough ball is just plain yucky.  After you’ve made 50 loaves, you’ll be able to look at the bread and tell if it’s done.  This bread doesn’t look quite done to me.  And no wonder–I forgot to set the timer, so I am guesstimating.  My best bread is usually tends toward dark brown on top.  Don’t be afraid to let this bread cook over 45 minutes.  Really.

Let cool on a rack and then slice.  The steam makes for a really crusty loaf of bread.  If you want a softer loaf, avoid the steam.  If you want a really soft loaf, let the bread completely cool and place it in a plastic sack for a while.  It will be very easy to slice then.  One note: I overexposed this picture, and really, the actual bread came out much darker.  Darker is OK.

Bread.  Homemade bread.

Spoonbread: glorious humility.

Occasionally I find myself standing in front of a pantry that I think looks scary empty; it feels like I am in a dark pit with giant spiders chasing me, all squealing for snack, supper, sustenance. In my weakest moments, I throw up my hands and trudge off to the store to find a quick fix.  In braver moments I pause and think.  And think.  And pray.  Surely the one who invented the idea of food can help me:  a  light in a dark pantry.

The truth dawns on me that the pantry is not empty.  I have flour.  I have milk.  I have the ingredients to make baking powder even if I don’t have baking powder.  I have any number of basic ingredients to make lovely food.  Crepes.  Biscuits.  Silver dollar pancakes.  Homemade syrup.  Spoonbread.  Suddenly I find that we are not desperately out of food, rather, I was just out of fresh ideas.

I give you spoonbread.  Glorious humility.

Andrea’s Spoonread

2 c. milk

2/3 c. yellow cornmeal

1 T. unsalted butter

1 t. salt

4 eggs separated.

Separate eggs and whip the whites until they form peaks.  Gently beat the yolks and set aside. Combine milk, cornmeal, salt and butter in a 3 qt. saucepan.  Whisk over medium to medium low heat until the mixture begins to bubble and then thicken.  Remove from heat and stir in egg yolks.  Sitr the egg whites into the mix.  You can gently fold them in, but I prefer to have them actually mixed in a bit so that I don’t get a big bite of egg.  Pour mixture into a buttered casserole dish, about 9 inches round.  Bake at 425 for 20-22 minutes, until golden and puffy.  Serve immediately.

NOTE:  I also enjoy adding corn to this recipe.  During cooking time, just add 1 to 1 1 /2 c. tasty sweet corn (fresh, frozen, or as a last resort, canned.)   You can find other spoonbread recipes online: and Martha Stewart have  great suggestions.  Steer clear of the spoonbread recipes with jiffy corn bread mix and sour cream–tasty though they may be, they really aren’t spoonbread.  Give the authentic southern version a go first.   

Beans again. Rejoice.

Beans. Cornbread. Green leaves.

IMG_5268Comfort food.


You know that food doesn’t become comforting unless it is served up with reliable predictability, right?  Thus, turkey gravy and sugar-butter slathered sweet potato casserole are comforting at Thanksgiving; mayo-rich tomato basil pie is comforting at the end of summer;  a Fiesta Ware tea cup of ice-cream is comforting at any time; and even beans and their music are comforting because they come at least once a week.

Over the course of making beans, cornbread, and salad over and over and over again, my family has become attached to a meal that satisfies both their hearts and bodies.

I’ve cooked this food many times and gotten better at it over the years. I hope that you do the same.  Cook something for your family so often that it becomes reliably tasty and have some fun with it.

And now, despite my typical glee at poking fun of pretentious menus and recipe titles,  I’m going to sell this meal to you like a Southern Food Bistro Restauranteur™:

Savory Slow-Simmered Brown Beans With Petit Jean Ham Bone

Jalepeno, Corn, and Sharp-Cheddar Stuffed Buttermilk Cornbread

Autumn Harvest Spicy Greens with Tarragon and Mint and Dijon Garlic Honey Dressing


I started the beans around noonish during a break from homeschool.

I poured two pounds of rinsed, el-cheapo Walmart brand pinto beans and water into the dented 6 qt. Revere Ware dutch oven we received for our wedding from loving relatives and which has seen more meals than I can count and which will be passed on to a future generation because it isn’t Teflon.

I brought the water and beans to a simmer, put on the lid, added more water when needed;  seasoned with salt and black pepper closer to supper time when the beans were tender.  At some point in the afternoon I remembered that I had a frozen ham bone left over from Jackson’s graduation party in May and I threw that in.  Generally speaking, though, our beans are meatless because pinto beans have a luscious flavor even with mere salt and pepper.

Our family’s cornbread recipe comes down to us from the back of the Aunt Jemima Corn Meal bag.  I don’t know of a better basic recipe.  I make mine in a cast iron skillet.  I think you should, too.

This night I cleaned out the fridge and added some exciting things–spicy peppers that a local backyard gardener had given to a friend who didn’t know what to do with them, who gave them to me, who put them in the fridge unloved until they were on the verge of perishing, and then I had pity on them; a partial bag of frozen corn the kids had raided to do some experimental ramen noodle creations; a half-brick of cheddar remaining from the lake picnic, grated; the sad stubs of almost forgotten green and red salsas; an extra egg; milk spiked with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to make buttermilk; and

an entire stick of melted butter.

Quinn asked me if I set the timer when I put it in the oven.  I didn’t.  I just kept checking it and took it out when it looked beautiful.

After I put in the cornbread, and after the rain, I ran outside to harvest the kale, arugula and butter lettuce that has managed somehow to survive our hot, dry September.  Tarragon and mint jumped into my lettuce basket.  I told the family I did the best I could removing the pine needles and caterpillar caviar but they should be on guard.

The dressing I whisked up as Ed politely requested that the children come to supper.  He is so polite.  I just holler.  The dressing was an almost-Ceasar:  mayo, Kroger Brand Real French Dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and minced garlic.


Those are not recipes, I know, but that’s what happened.  And it was good.

Please come eat beans with us.  If you come regularly enough, it will become your comfort food, too.




This refrigerator contains leftovers.

It’s really too bad that ‘leftovers’ has such a dingy, pouty faced cloud doggedly following it around.  It’s not always true that leftovers are bad; if a thief too hurriedly empties out a gold bouillon safe and there are leftovers, what is left over is gold, right?

On Mother’s Day, I was looking forward to some rather fabulous leftovers.  I thought that I was coming home from church to leftover Terri Lynn’s famous in-house smoked deli turkey, which I would pile on caraway seeded rye bread spread with hummus and spicy guacamole, topped with aged swiss cheese and a leaf of crunchy iceberg lettuce.

Instead, I found an empty, crumpled white deli paper embossed with the Terri Lynn’s Fat Boy sticker.  His bright yellow face looked up at me, giving me nothing now but a smile.

On other days though, leftovers are just leftovers.  Yesterday, I opened the fridge at noonish and performed a meal called, “This Is Your Lunch.”  This event consists of me setting out on the kitchen counter certain foods—particular leftover foods—and then having gathered my darling ravenous wolves, I give the following speech:

“Of these foods (pointing to the counter) you may eat.  But of these foods (pointing to the refrigerator and pantry), you may not eat.”

Every time, every time, the young hungry wolf people look at me in a consternating kind of confusion.

Does this happen to real she-wolves, I wonder?

“Here pups—gnaw on this leftover llama.”

Inconveniently, just then, a herd of puffy white bleating lambs toddles by.

“But can’t we have those?  Please?”

“No, eat the llama.”

“But whyyyyyyyyyyyy?”

The she-wolf holds her growl.  She is wise.  She knows they are just baiting her, hoping that their whimpers will change her mind or buy them enough time to come up with an actual argument in favor of lamb chops.

The lambs bleat louder.  The puppy wolves whimper.

She holds up her paw so that she may count her claws for them.  “You shall eat the leftover llama because 1) wasting food is wasteful 2) being greedy is greedy 3) I’m too tired to chase a herd of sheep for you because I’m tired and 4) I said so because I said so.”

Though not pertinent to the needs of the she-wolf, I say to everyone else, that if you ever pick up a classical homeschooling book on why should you spend precious time teaching your children about logical fallacies, such as circular reasoning, just put it down because you should put it down.

But if the she-wolf wants to move on from chasing her tail of an argument just because she’s chasing her tail, then I think she’ll give a reason for eating leftovers that goes something like this:

We’re having leftovers today, Wednesday,  because I took you to the lake on Monday.  While we were there, your brother, the hunter-biologist, caught a large quantity of minnows and tadpoles and also a newt that I didn’t know about, and asked to bring home the schloshing bucket full of them.

“I promise the bucket won’t tip over on the drive home,” he said.

I loaded all of you up, including the bucket of fun, and we gently schloshed our way down Highway 10, enjoying the sunset in the rear-view mirror.  I, feeling weary, noticed the clock telling me that it was too early for your Father to be home, and I didn’t want to deal with you end-of-day-people at home by myself.  But I didn’t say that. I merely decided to stall for time by suggesting we stop at the bridge “to watch the sun go down on the river.”  It was a lovely sunset and it could have been even lovelier without me shrewishly nagging you all to quit walking back and forth past the infrared-people-counter so you could watch the number dial click up instead of enjoying the sunset.  After 45 seconds of attempting a peaceful moment at vespers, back to the vehicle we trooped.

Successful entrance and egress from vehicles by large families should be a trophy sport.  Alas, there will be no trophies for us because Rose kicked the bucket.

She is still alive, of course.

The minnows, however, started dying quicker than Rose and Quinn could scoop them up, so for the fish it was a very real kind of bucket-kicking experience.

I asked you all the right questions.  Was the murky pond water contained to the rubber liners?  Did you find all the fish?  Did you get it cleaned up?  Do you need any help?  But like an overworked and underpaid case manager staring blankly out his gray and mauve tweed cubicle on a late TGIF afternoon, I didn’t follow through.

On the third day, after striding past a protesting Martha who cried that there would surely be a stench, I opened the door to my vehicle, my vehicle which had become a tomb, owing to the tragedy that some of the fish had been…..left over.

To your credit, dear children, you did bravely clean up when asked.  I myself felt more like fleeing, but courageously you donned overly big blue latex gloves and plucked the carcasses of five moldering fish things from the auto carpet.  You “wanted to retch,” you said.  I was trying to feel your pain, but secretly I was proud over your excellent use of vocabulary.  I gave you a box of baking soda to sprinkle, to thus soak up the spectacular smell.  I turned to go water my flowers in the clean spring air and behind my back you decided that the thing that baking soda needs most in the world is not time to soak up offensive odors, but rather vinegar spray.


I love you all, my young wolves.  We’re just going to have quick and easy leftovers today because we have an entire vehicle to clean.  And that’s why we’re having leftovers.

The End.


Coming home to home cooking.

We traveled to the homeland to enjoy time with family.  We ate tender braised beef that had been raised right there on the ranch.  We ate sweet corn grown by my aunt–and just about the only area sweet corn that has managed to survive the drought.  We ate party foods–pizza, potato chips, and cotton candy and sno-cones from the Sheridan County Fair.  We ate, ate, ate and ate

It was all good food.

And when we came home, my 11 year old cooked us a supper of boring lentils and boring cornbread.  It was quiet around the table except for passing the salt and honey butter.   Somebody piped up, “I’m so glad we’re home and eating lentils.”

Me, too.

Pinto beans: the kindergarten of cooking beans

A staple of our meals lately has become the simple pinto bean. I love the flavor of this bean–almost could be sweet,  and I love the texture–very creamy.

Pinto beans cook up easily, so if you would like to start on learning to cook your own beans, this is a good choice.

How to shop for dried beans:  pick a store that you think might have a good bean turnover rate.  The longer dried beans sit on the shelf, the tougher they are to cook.  I find that my local Walmart has good beans.  I like the “Casserole” brand.

Any bag of pinto beans will tell you how to cook them.  The favored way is to rinse the beans and let them soak overnight.  In the morning, I choose to drain off my soaking water, dump them back into the pot and cover generously with water.  I slow cook on the stove until tender, usually 2-2.5 hours.

After the beans are completely tender, I will add salt.  I don’t add salt during cooking because it makes for tough beans.

I’ve also found we don’t need ham.  The beans really have great flavor on their own and we don’t need the cholesterol or the expense.  Ham hocks are expensive!

When I’m in a hurry, I’ve also found that I can cook pintos using the rapid boil method.  Rinse beans, sort out the odd ones, place in pot and cover with water.  Bring water to boil and once you have a rolling boil, slap on a lid, shut off the burner and come back in an hour.  Now turn your burner back on and cook your beans for 2-2.5 hours.

For our family, I find it helpful to cook up a 4 pound bag, serve pintos for supper and store the remaining beans in the refrigerator.  For that purpose, I prefer using wide mouth quart jars.  Having jars of beans in the refrigerator makes meal prep fast–burritos, beans and cornbread, beans over rice.

Why choose cooking beans over canned?

Canned beans will typically contain corn syrup and salt.  Now I like my salt, but it just feels better knowing I am choosing the amount.  I don’t, however, want corn syrup in my beans for any reason.

Canned beans come in……you guessed it, cans.  When I cook my own, I am saving the environmental production costs of a steel can.  Yep, we do recycle, but still, I like avoiding the can in the first place.  For most canned products, the steel can is also lined with a “protective” product called bisphenol-A.  I don’t need BPA leaching into my food or my kids’ food.  There is also the gas/oil expense of packing the heavy cans of beans, water and corn syrup into pallets and lugging them across the country on trucks.

And then, finally, there is the the expense to me, the consumer.  Canned beans are just more expensive than cooking your own.  The price of canned beans at my Kroger has gone up and up the past year.  How about .79 for 15 oz of store-brand beans?  I can buy a whole pound of dried beans for a little more than a $1 and those beans will cook up to the equivalent of 3-4 cans of beans.  Yes, in a pinch, I will still buy a can of beans.  But with happiness in my heart and pocketbook,  I can tell you that I like the beans I cook better.

I hope you will give cooking your own beans a try.  Will you let me know how it goes?

Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive-Thru.

Supper comes everyday.

I know this.

Small children must eat every 2 hours and 47 minutes.

I know this.

Afterschool sporting events run late and make it difficult to shop for food, cook a healthy supper, and feed little (and big) people before they melt down into a hysterical tantrum.

I know this.

But I don’t always prepare, and so I find myself sending the troops into “It’s Hot and Waiting For You Pizza Joint.”  We order our favorite salty preserved meat pizzas and start licking our lips for our other favorite, “naturally” butter flavored breadsticks.  I walk next door to Food Emporium to pick up salad and leave with salad…and strawberries, and eggs for breakfast, and a 2 liter bottle of root beer.


+ 14.72


= bacon and corn syrup euphoria

(comes free with morning-after re-budgeting)

savory meat roll, or bierocks

Personally, I think the combination of beef hamburger, cabbage, onion, salt and pepper is terrific.  Cook it up, seal it in a homemade bread dough, bake it up, and eat it up with spicy mustard. Obviously, if cabbage terrifies you, this recipe is not for you.  But if you have ever lived in the land of German immigrant Kansas farmers, you know what to say.  “Yah, pass me the bierock!”

Forgive me, this recipe is not written for the bread novice or those fearful of inexact measurements.  If you’re worried about anything, just make sure the savory mix gets enough salt and pepper.  Cabbage needs salt.


1 lb. hamburger, but if you like to go heavy on the beef, of course more is fine.

thinly sliced cabbage–at least 6 cups, but more is fine, especially if you have to feed a crowd.  Believe me, it cooks down to a quarter the amount.

a goodly amount of onion.  definitely one big onion, but more is better.  hmmm…2 c. onion, chopped fine, that ought to do it.  Yes, 2.  As you see in the picture, onions make us cry.  

salt and pepper

bread dough  (if you need a recipe, mine will follow)

Brown your hamburger in a large dutch oven until it is almost done.  Add in cabbage and onion, salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until the cabbage and onion is tender and the juice has cooked away.  Don’t cook it to death, though.  Drain the mixture in a colander when you are done cooking.

Spoon the slightly cooled meat mixture onto your bread dough–have the dough spread out in the shape of a big pizza crust.  Seal it up in the bread dough so that it looks like a mongo calzone.  Pop it in the oven and bake for about 20-22 minutes or so.


Herewith follows our pizza crust recipe.

1 3/4 c. white flour

3/4 c. wheat flour

1 t. salt

1 pkg fast rise yeast

2 T. olive oil

1 c. warm water

Mix the dry ingredients, then add the wet.  Knead until it is soft and pliable.  I should probably knead mine longer, but I am always in a hurry.  Let rise in a covered bowl until double.  Then roll out onto a baking sheet or baking stone.  Let rise again while your meat mixture cooks.  Spoon meat onto the bread dough, wrap, seal, and bake at 425 for 20-22 minutes.

How to make people happy: Tamale Bite Meatballs.

We knew it was going to be a good party if my mom made tamale bite meatballs.  So here it is, the recipe you’ve all been asking for, straight off the index card, straight out of the 1980s—–the decade of little party meatballs.  Don’t bother making just one batch—–two is a must.

The following recipe is time consuming, expensive, fattening, and contains no beans.


1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce

2. c. crumbled corn bread (if you are a jiffy cornbread person, 1 box will do the trick)

1 1/2 lb. of hamburger.  I think ground chuck works the best. Why?  Because it has fat, my friends.

1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce

monterey jack cheese, shredded

Whoop up that cornbread let it cool just long enough that you can crumble it.  In a mixing bowl combine the hamburger, cornbread, 1/2 c. enchilada sauce (this is about half the can, save the rest).  Form this mixture into small meatballs.  I like to use a small cookie/melon scoop.  At this point, you need to be aware that one of your toddlers will try to eat the raw meat.  There is nothing I can do to help you.  Sorry.  Form those up and place them on a baking sheet with sides.   Bake them at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan stir up the can of tomato sauce and remaining enchilada sauce.   When your meatballs are done, place them in a dish, pour over the bubbling sauce, and top with the shredded cheese.  Really, the sauce should be hot enough to melt the cheese, but you can pop it into the oven if you like.  Of course, the microwave is an option, but the microwave is so tricky.  Overzapped meatballs turn into rubbery nuggets.  It seems like I remember my mom piling the meatballs and sauce into a crockpot before we would head out to the party–once we arrived, she would plug it in and top with cheese.

If you are a high plains native and most of your family has a German sounding last name, you should definitely serve these with some sort of potato:  baked, mashed, or scalloped.

If you are from the south, you should definitely serve these in your Grandmother’s silver plate chafing dish.

Wherever you are and whoever you are, you should make enough to share with friends.

Long live the party meatball.

The humble tortilla.

Have you ever wanted to make tortillas?

STEP NUMBER ONE:  Prepare yourself mentally and physically for the reality that small children will assault you as soon as you get out the flour container.  They WILL want to help.  Get out the child-size rolling pin before you start.  Make extra dough for them to roll out, lick, roll out some more, and lick again.  Turn your back while they lick the dough.  Cook the tortillas for them and serve them to their baby dolls and bears if you cannot bear the thought of eating the lovingly caressed dough yourself.  

THE RECIPE:  My mom gave me an easy recipe for tortillas that we’ve been using for years.  We’ve modified it to add whole wheat flour and we really enjoy them.  CAUTION:  this recipe will not produce tortillas like you get at the store.  To do that, you will need to use shortening and/or lard, white flour,  a cooking class with a patient Senora and an aluminum tortilla press.  What I am giving you is kind of like a tortilla.  🙂  You will not need to go to culinary school; very rudimentary childhood practice with playdough will suffice.  You will use  basic and HEALTHY pantry supplies that are readily available.  They cost WAY, WAY under $1.  We use our “tortillas” for  fabulous low budget bean burrito and soft taco nights–And, let’s not forget the quesadillas!

Yes, it is true, it is easier to pick up a baggie of (sometimes sodden) white tortillas at the store.  I have done it many times myself.  However, when I buy these tortillas that have a shelf life of 45 days, I am purchasing a preservative packed product that is most definitely made with trans fats.  If the label says zero grams trans fats, that only means it has less than 1 gram per serving.  If the ingredients list includes “PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL,” it contains trans fats.  Also, I think tortillas at the store are just expensive.  NOTE:  it would take forever to make enough for a huge crowd.  This is just a recipe  big enough for our family.  On party nights, I buy store tortillas and serve them with love and a smile.

1 c. white flour

1 c. whole wheat flour

1 T. baking powder

1 t. salt

1 c. hot water

4 T. oil (we use olive oil)

STEP NUMBER TWO:  Mix up the dry ingredients, stir in the hot water and oil.  The dough will be easy to work, be careful not to add too much flour.  It should NOT be as stiff as a bread dough.  Form it into a mass and then cut the dough into small pieces.  If you have patience and time for it, let the small pieces rest for a few minutes so that the gluten will develop.  After that, roll each small piece out with your rolling pin, trying to get it to look like a circle.  (Ha, ha)  Ed is really good at this because he is patient.  He also makes nice, thin tortillas.  I am in a hurry and mine turn out round-ish and more like chalupas than tortillas.  Whatever the case, they will eat.

I toss them onto a skillet warmed on medium.  (We have good luck with our two cast iron skillets.) Let them cook for a few minutes and then flip.  It just takes seconds if your pan is the right temp.  Stack ’em up on a plate and enjoy.

Note for quesadillas:  when I am making a fresh tortilla, I cook one side, then after I have flipped it, I toss on the cheese.  Generally, I try to lower the heat a bit so that the cheese has enough time to melt before the tortilla burns.  When the cheese has melted, I fold it over, plate it and cut into pieces.  If I’m making them for me or Ed, I spoon on a little sour cream and salsa after the cheese has melted.


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