February 8, 2010

I’m ready for my close up Mr. DeVille

Other than the OWOH zentangle journal, I haven’t been inspired to create art in almost two months. Sad I know. I have to get my butt out to the studio soon.  However, ever since I went to New Mexico for Christmas I have been very inspired to make New Mexican food. NM food is different from Mexican food, it’s much hotter. When we were in NM we picked up 10 lbs of hot, chopped green chili. Hot green chili is not something we can get in California. California doesn’t have the climate or the taste for growing the hot variety that New Mexico is known for.  As you may have gathered from an earlier blog post of mine (click here to read), I, or rather we, have an obsession with all things chili.

But alas, this post is not about chili.  In our house you can’t eat chili without making flour tortillas or “torts”.  And in our house, these wonderful little round discs are a source of love, comfort and joy. Not only do we make them as bread to go with our New Mexican food (like normal folks), we make them when we are feeling in need of comfort food. (Like weird folks.) The whole family makes them.

Here is my recipe for the Breshears Family Torts. If you aren’t interested in how to make torts, you must at least scroll to the end of the post for a really cute pic.

Start by preheating a cast iron griddle (or any type of griddle you have) using a medium to high heat. Approximately 7 out 10 on the dial.

2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp.  salt
1/3 cup BUTTER FLAVORED Crisco
2/3 cup warm water

Note: For this recipe you must use BUTTER FLAVORED Crisco. It makes a big difference in the taste.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the BUTTER FLAVORED Crisco. (Are you annoyed yet by my use of all caps for BUTTER FLAVORED Crisco?). Use a fork to cut in the shortening.  Next add warm water a little at a time until your dough is soft and not sticky. Knead the dough for a few minutes but do not overwork. doughball

Separate the dough to make 8 even sized balls. Dust each ball with a little flour and, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough so that it forms a round disc.

But don’t worry if the torts don’t come out perfectly round. It’s hard to do so without using a stencil. Ask my family, in the twenty plus years that I have been making them, they rarely come out round. Sometimes they look like alien shapes.  So imagine my surprise when, as I was rolling one out to photograph, I heard it say “I’m ready for my close up Mr. DeVille.” Isn’t it pretty? No? I guess it’s just me.


Roll them out so that they are approximately 1/8” thick. A little thicker is good too.

Place your tortilla on the hot griddle. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side. Use a spatula to flip to the other side. When they are done it should have lots of nice brown speckles. as shown below.  Keep an eye on them because they burn quickly when you aren’t used to making them.

By the way, cooking torts does not distort torts into alien shapes. The one shown here is different than the almost perfect one above and more like my usual odd shape. 


Place them in a towel for serving immediately or in aluminum foil to keep them warm for later. You can also use a tortilla warmer.

Tortilla Stack

They are ready to be served! Enjoy!

And last but not least, no discussion of torts is complete without this picture:


This is my guy and my girl keeping me company while I made torts back in Aug 1989. They used to steal bit of dough to make eye patches and mustaches. It was so funny. I hope she doesn’t kill me for showing it to you all.

Thanks for reading.


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