I grew up working for a family business, not of my own, but with people that treated you like family. This wasn’t my first job, and at 26 years old, the age I got hired on, I was hardly a kid anymore, but I use the term “grew up” to signify how much I learned about food, business, and myself while working for these lovely people. The business I’m referring to is La Tortilla Factory. I spent 12 years there and have many stories to tell. This week’s recipe is one of them.
Way before La Tortilla Factory I was introduced to tortillas by some more beautiful people who moved next door to us when I was 8 years old. Every day, I mean every day, Rosa, the matriarch of the family, would make, from scratch, flour tortillas. Wholly smokes were they good. Rosa would call my mother and have her send me over to get some just off the stove. I would run back home with a stack of piping hot tortillas and we would tear those suckers down. They would be gone in minutes! No meat, no beans, nothing, just tortillas and a little butter. So as you can imagine tortillas are near and dear to my heart and working for the Tortilla Factory just brought them closer.
I started my career at the factory as a bookkeeper, and eventually as a sales manager, but always figured out a way to get myself into the R&D lab to pick their brains and raid their seemingly endless variations of flours and minor ingredients. As a kid I learned to eat tortillas, but now I could learn how to make them. And I took every opportunity to do so.
Remember, I told you I was a recovering baker. In there was my dilemma. I am quite sensitive to just about every grain flour on the planet now so what is a recovering baker to do. Then I discovered cassava flour and things change. Cassava also known as Yucca is a root of a South American plant. It is not a grain, but a flour can be made from it that is hypoalergenic and in many cases can replace wheat flour. And what do you know, it makes pretty damn good tortillas. This recipe brings me way back to my childhood, I hope you like it. Let’s cook
- 2 cups cassava flour
- 1/4 cup coconut oil or grass fed butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp warm water
- Tortilla press
- Wax or parchment paper
- Skillet or griddle
- Mix salt and baking powder with the flour in a large bowl
- Cut in the oil or butter with a fork until it forms a coarse meal
- At 3/4 cup of the flour and stir until the mixture starts to come together
- Add the remaining 2 tbsp of water if the mix is too dry. It should be soft in your hands but not sticky
- Let it rest covered for 10 minutes while you prepare your press
- Cut two squares of wax or parchment paper to fit the entire surface of your tortilla press
- Start rolling your dough balls by taking a piece just a little bigger than a golf ball in your hand and rolling it aound on the counter inside your palm. Roll all the dough balls out
- Heat your skillet up on medium low heat
- Put one piece parchment on the press and place the dough ball in the center. Cover with the other piece and press out the tortilla using a firm action.
- Peel the top paper away from the tortilla then flip onto your hand and peel away the other piece of paper. Then place the tortilla on the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes until the bottom has just started to brown. flip and cook for 1 minute more.
- Remove from pan and place on a dish. Continue pressing and cooking until all tortilas are done. You can serve right away. Add you favorite topings and enjoy! If you have left over, wrap in paper towels then plastic wrap and store in fridge or freezer.