My kids would eat tacos every night of the week and never tire of them.
They like soft tortillas with their tacos… lots and lots of them, but those things are expensive, not to mention full of all kinds of crap. Speaking of crap… there is a lot of that in store bought taco seasoning too. For a long time I thought about making my own taco seasoning and tortillas, but it all seemed too hard. In reality, it’s actually not hard at all!
So here it is, my first adventure into cooking from scratch….
Taco seasoning is one the of easiest, most forgiving, ‘from scratch’ things I’ve ever made. What’s more, you probably have all the ingredients you need in your cupboard right now… or something else that would do just as well!
There are many great ‘recipes’ for taco seasoning online, I have pinned a few on my ‘family food’ board on pinterest, but I don’t follow any of them to the letter. Here is what usually, probably, sometimes goes into our home made taco seasoning…
Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe
2 tsp chilli powder – or hot paprika works ok if you don’t have chilli powder but maybe put a bit less.
3 tsp garlic
3 tsp ground cummin
3 tsp mixed herbs
3 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp salt
1 tsp flour/corn flour
Mix well and store in a sealed container. You can adjust the ingredients or amounts to your taste… Put in less chilli if that is not your thing, leave out the herbs if you don’t have any, put in less salt, or none at all if that is what you’d like. This is very forgiving but I’ve found the taco-ish flavour comes from the cumin, garlic and a little something spicy and in my opinion the salt is important too. Use as much or as little as you like!
Soft Flour Tortillas
Making your own flour tortillas is a little more work than the taco seasoning, but it’s not hard. A little time consuming, yes… but not difficult! There is no yeast, no waiting to rise, just lots of rolling out little circles, though (thanks to an enabling friend) I have been coveting a tortilla press which would make it a sinch.
Homemade Flour Tortilla Recipe
4 cups of flour – bread flour is better, but regular flour works ok too.
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup of ‘shortening’ – animal fat works really well but you can also use a vegetable oil or butter
1 – 1 1/4 cup water (generally I need the extra 1/4 cup)
Combine all the dry ingredients. If you are using shortening or butter cut it into small pieces (if you are mixing by hand I’d melt the shortening/butter first). I dump the dry ingredients into my food processor with the dough attachment (which is actually terrible for kneading proper bread but ok for this) then add the shortening and set it to a medium speed as it mixes I pour the water in slowly, stopping when the dough begins to come together. I poke it a bit with my fingers and scrape down the sides of the food processor to decide if I need to add a little more water… you are looking for a firmish dough, a little like pastry dough. You can also mix by hand and knead well for a little while until you get a smooth pliable ball of dough.
If you have time wrap the dough and pop it in the firdge for 20 minutes. Cooling it will make it easier to roll out, but I never have time for that!
Divide the dough into around 12 balls, more or less, depending on how big you want your tortillas to be. (We usually make more smaller ones, so everyone gets lots). Roll them out, the thinner the better in my opinion, but by about number 5 I give up on the perfect thinness and just get them done.
Heat a frying pan to medium hotness, pop a tortilla in the pan and cook till you see it start to bubble and puff up, then flip it over and cook the other side. Place cooked tortillas on a plate and cover with a damp tea-towel to keep them nice and soft.
These are fabulous eaten while they are still warm, but you can warm them a little in the oven or microwave if you cook them a little ahead of time. Unfortunately they don’t keep well… in fact mine go hard and rather like cardboard the next day, but that’s ok because there usually isn’t any left overs anyway.
With home made ‘salsa’ (really just cut up tomato and cumber with some balsamic vinegar cause that’s what my kids like!), lettuce from the garden and loads of cheese, there is never anything left over after this ‘cooked from scratch’ meal!
Read last week’s post to find out why I am on this crazy mission to make more home made food, and stay tuned for more recipes, failures and adventures in cooking from scratch!