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The ”Our Family Food Fight” Team Takes on “What’s Cooking?” Challenge: Home-made Tortillas

May 18, 2009 by Joan Nova in Family Food Fight, Food Challenge, Mexican + Southwestern | 19 Comments

Ben of What’s Cooking? issued a challenge to food bloggers to make tortillas. And, I issued a challenge to my team…let’s collectively make the tortillas and individually make a filling and topping. [I’m not a fan of dough-related recipes. I like to eat them, but I just don’t have the temperament to make them. So, “collectively” means I issue ideas (I had a few), Jim does the actual work, and Cassie plays games on his I-phone.]

Ay, caramba! Qué pasó? Every recipe I saw said “masa harina” so I bought masa harina. While harina is the literal Spanish translation for flour, ‘masa harina’ as sold in our supermarkets is corn meal and not the right product. Did I know? When it became obvious things were going badly, I rushed out to pick up ready-made tortillas so we could at least have dinner and not waste all the delicious fillings and toppings. And, there, on a lower shelf all by itself, I saw Maseca corn FLOUR so I bought it figuring we’d (Jim) would give it another shot and if it failed again, we’d be ready to eat anyway with the store-bought tortillas.

1. obviously not working; 2. in the garbage; 3. the back-up plan

Blast Off. We didn’t have to abort and were able to successfully complete the mission and add our culinary points-of-view to the actual tortillas, the fillings and the toppings.

We used the standard tortilla recipe (easy with the right product) and made them ‘ours’ by pressing cilantro leaves into the dough (left); mixing in Sazon seasoning with achiote (center); and blending the dough with squid ink (right).

Jim made carnitas with a slow-cooked pork butt and pickled onions which we paired with the achiote tortilla; Cassie wanted to make a “salad” filling and chopped lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, olives etc. and served it with a citrus vinaigrette and we paired that with the cilantro tortilla; and I made a shrimp ceviche which I had planned to serve with the squid-ink infused tortilla. 
(Note: While none of the tortillas really took on the flavor of the infusions, they did make for a nice visual.)

Toppings. I made a salsa of black beans and crumbled Mexican cheese with cilantro, red onions, and a sherry vinaigrette. Jim shaved a few ears of corn and dressed the niblets in a bright and delicious citrus vinaigrette. He also made pickled onions. Cassie made a fresh guacamole to go along with her salad but we were so hungry, we just started eating it with blue corn chips and it never made it to the photography table.

After a disastrous start, we got our stride and created the meal I envisioned – and it was muy delicioso - so I’d like to thank Ben for coming up with the idea. I would have never thought to make my own tortillas! Visit Jim’s Our Family Food Fight for his take on the challenge, the pork recipe and more photos.

Recipe for ceviche: 
16 jumbo shrimp
3 limes
1 lemon
1/2 cup Naranja Agria (sour orange juice) or use fresh squeezed orange
salt to taste
splash of hot sauce
red onion sliced very thinly
handful of cilantro

Marinate well in refrigerator for several hours (at least) until shrimp take on color.

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. Ben says:

    OMG! Great job! I know getting the right kind of flour can be confusing if you don’t know what you are looking for. I am even confused when trying to explain which kind. They call it masa harina here, but that would be like saying flour dough in Spanish so tortilla flour would be the closest name. Anyway, I am impressed with your creations and so glad you guys were part of this month’s event. :)

  2. Holly says:

    I love the idea of the different flavorings. It looks really good.
    I should never read food blogs when I am hungry:)

  3. Elra says:

    This is incredible! You make very sophisticated tortilla, Oh I love that squid ink tortilla, must tastes delicious! Everything look so mouth watering. It make my stomach rumble!

  4. Karen says:

    Those are some beautiful tortillas!

  5. Caitlin says:

    I love naranja agria! Kudos to you guys for trying to make tortillas…when I buy masa and try to make arepas, it never goes very well! Great flavor combos!

  6. Abigail (aka Mamatouille) says:

    Food art!!! Wish I could’ve tasted it!

  7. Peter G says:

    Wow! Good on you guys for taking the challenge on and succeeding immensely! I love all the creativity and thought that went into this…I especially “heart” the cilantro pressed tortillas! Well done Joan!

  8. Peter M says:

    You took the challenge head-on and with fab results. The colours of the tortillas ans the fillings look delish.

  9. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Wow, how fun and everyone did a great job! The tortillas look excellent!

  10. Robin Sue says:

    Your fillings and toppings look great. And Yes yes yes to cilantro in the tortilla. So beautiful!

  11. Erica says:

    you are amazing…..I’ve never made one tortilla in my life. For the record I am from Colombia, so I can make arepas no tortillas, but I will love to try……

  12. pigpigscorner says:

    This is one of the things I have to try – making tortillas! You did a great job!

  13. Bellini Valli says:

    I haven’t been able to find masa harina anywhere near here. I did find corn flour, but don’t know if that is the same. Needless to say your foray into tortilla making turned out amazing.

  14. elly says:

    Homemade tortillas are so delicious! I never thought they would be one of those things I made at home sine they’re so easy to buy, but I definitely enjoy making them on my own a lot. Yours look delicious! They all look so tasty.

  15. Juliana says:

    Wow, such a great presentation of the different kind of tortilla. Just love it! Great pictures…my mouth is watering. By the way, thank you for visiting my site.

  16. Sara says:

    I have always wanted to try making my own tortillas. I love all of your variations here!

  17. Gabi says:

    That cilantro-pressed tortilla is a work of art! That should be framed!


    Gabi @ mamaliga.

  18. ARLENE says:

    If they even taste half as good as they look, you’ve got a winning dinner.

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