Homemade Tortillas

My office is firmly divided into two camps: one that believes that tacos should always, always be on corn tortillas, and one that just as staunchly believes in flour tortillas. I'm in the former - you may be in the latter. Or, you may be a compromising soul, an equal opportunity taco-ist who can admit both kinds into your heart and stomach.

Either way, I think most of us will admit the need for some type of tortilla in our lives. And, since they normally come packaged in plastic, a good way around that is to make your own! Making corn tortillas is easier than it sounds; you won't need to trot out tons of different ingredients or make it a big production. The steps are simple: make the dough, form the tortillas, and cook them. (And, I can't speak with any authority on making flour tortillas, except to say that it looks easy, too - Google a recipe and you're ready to go!).

How to make corn tortillas:

+Purchase a bag of masa harina corn flour from your grocery store (look for it in the international aisle). Though I'd rather purchase the flour from the bulk aisle without packaging, so far I haven't been able to find it package-free. Purchasing it packaged in a paper bag is a good recyclable alternative, and the bags are so large that the contents will last you for years.

+Follow the instructions on the bag to form the dough, and add a teaspoon of cornstarch whether it calls for it or not (this makes the tortillas more pliable - a definite plus). You can omit the salt and oil if you'd like to make the recipe even simpler, and just add water to the masa harina until the dough holds together very well without being too wet.

+Start warming your pan over medium low heat - use a long double-burner pancake griddle if you have one, or a normal cast iron skillet works too. Oil it very lightly with your favorite cooking oil.

+While your griddle is heating, form the dough into small balls, each about the size of one and a half golf balls. Then, you can either use a rolling pin to roll them out thinly like you would a pie crust, or just pat the dough flat using your hands (which is how I made the tortillas pictured above - this video demonstrates the technique well!). If you use the latter method, be prepared that your first few may be a little sad, a little lumpy (mine sure were), but it rapidly gets easier as you practice.

+Cook your tortillas over medium heat in your lightly oiled pan. Flip them over one or two times throughout the process, removing them when the dough looks fully cooked on both sides.

If you find that you need to store your tortillas for later, wrap them in a lightly dampened flour sack towel to prevent them from drying out. Top them with your favorite foods: I like quinoa, black beans, sweet potato, avocado, cilantro, and lime on mine, but of course part of the beauty of a taco is that it's delicious topped with almost anything.

So, tell me: are you team corn or team flour? Or both? Have you ever tried your hand at homemade tortillas? Would love to hear. (PS - Happy March!!!)