Thursday, March 1, 2012

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March Madness.

Ahhh. The first day of March. A sign of Spring to come! Oh wait, I forgot. I live in New England, sooo I woke up to this

The good news is no school or work, so plenty o' time for blogging! Aside from making lunch and today's blog posts, I have actively sat on my ass thus far. A Jillian Michaels dvd sesh is anticipated later on today, so I don't feel too bad.

I am constantly trying to make my own bread, with results far from satisfactory. I am making improvements, but my earlier attempts resembled doorstops and french toast sticks. Haha my bread did not rise above 2 inches, so the slices were more "stick" like. My last attempt was much better, but still not as risen as I anticipated. My next attempt will include the use of whey, which is the liquid part you see in yogurt before you mix it in. I heard that helps with bread baking, and if it comes out well you will hear it! One recipe that has proven to be successful and painfully easy is for whole wheat tortillas. I used to omit the oil, but found that the oil makes the tortillas much more flexible and chewier, as compared to stiff and leathery. Apart from being entirely whole wheat, these contain no trans fat, and only 67 calories each! A lot of commercial tortillas contain lard, or partially hydrogenated fats both which are not healthy choices. This recipe is a lot easier if you have a food processor and a rolling pin, but can be made without.

Whole Wheat Tortillas
Makes about 16
2 cups Whole Wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 - 3/4 cup warm water
*Gallon size ziploc needed as well

Start by adding the flour, salt, and baking powder to your food processor and give it a few pulses to mix it all together. You can do this with a bowl and a whisk if you don't have a food processor, but much easier and less messy with the FP.

While the machine is running, stream in the warm water until it starts to form a dough. You may have to use a bit more or less water depending on how dry your flour is. I used a bit more than half a cup this time. You want it to be moist but not sticky. Trial and error is the best measurement I can give you.

Now turn out to a lightly floured surface, and knead in a ball about 15 times. I used a large cutting board since it is easier to clean up than a messy countertop. Learned from experience. After kneading, cut the dough into 16 pieces. The easiest way I found to do that is to first cut the dough in half. Next, cut each half in half. Then cut each of those halves in half. It sounds a lot more complicated than it is, but overall, cut the dough in half, and cut each half in to 8 equal pieces.(* I recently got a kitchen scale and weighed each ball to about an 1 oz. each. If you have a scale, weigh the dough ball, then divide the total ounces by 16 to get how much each should weigh). Roll the pieces into a ball, and place on a plate or bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let them take a cat nap for about 15 minutes. While I was waiting I made homemade ketchup! The recipe will soon follow.

Now comes the work. Start by heating a skillet over medium heat. Cut the sides of your ziploc bag so that you can unfold the bag entirely. Lightly spray each side with cooking spray, lay one ball on one side, cover with the other side of the bag, and roll out with rolling pin. This is such a better process than the orginal! No mess, softer tortillas (since less flour is used) and they come right off the bag! Just remember to spray after each tortilla! Sorry I don't have any updated photos, but here is the process I used, which is the same I do for corn tortillas

Now add one to the heated skillet. Don't worry! No oil is needed in the pan. This would result in soggy or burnt tortillas. No good! An important note is that once it's in the pan, it's hard to maneuver it at all, so try your hardest to lay it as flat as possible. Cook it on the first side for about a 30 seconds, or until it starts to brown lightly. Flip, and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate until cool. While one's in the pan, roll out another one so it's ready to go. Once you get in the rhythm of it, it gets pretty easy.

Sorry for the lack of quality pictures, but my camera was in one of it's moods again. Once all your tortillas are cooked up, I cool them on a plate and store them in the freezer. 20 seconds in the microwave and they are good as fresh! These are perfect for tacos, wrap sandwiches, or mexican lasagna! I'll have to post that recipe as well. So good! I've also heard of putting seasoning in such as garlic powder, cayenne pepper, or chili powder, but prefer to keep them plain so they can be used for any recipe.

As always enjoy, and let me know what creative ideas you have!

What's your favorite thing to do on a snow day?

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