27 July 2007

Easy cooking project: Homemade tortillas

My kids both have an attraction to anything squishy. They love all of those stretchy, gel-like trinkets flooding the market, and all manner of playdough. When I can muster the patience, I pull out the flour, water, salt, baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring -- my son's favorite ingredients for "experiments," and let the kids have at it. They mix and pour and squish to their heart's delight, and I avert my eyes from the mess (which, thankfully, my son is now old enough to clean up himself).

We were involved in an experiment yesterday, and it occurred to me that a few of our supplies -- flour, water, and salt -- were the ingredients for tortillas. An experiment we could eat, with the added fun of kneading and rolling! The recipe comes from Mollie Katzen's wonderful kid's cookbook Honest Pretzels, and the results were delicious spread with butter.

HOMEMADE TORTILLAS

1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water

In a large bowl, toss the flour and salt together. Make a well in the flour, add water, and mix everything together till the dough holds together. Knead briefly in the bowl, adding a bit more flour as necessary. Divide the dough into four parts, and, with a floured rolling pin, roll each out into a thin, 6-inch, uh, circle. (None of our tortillas resembled circles, and it didn't matter). Cook in an ungreased skillet over medium heat till little brown spots appear on the tortilla. Flip and repeat. Spread with butter (and honey, jam, or savory fillings) and eat.

Related:
A "recipe" for tactile fun
Ubby glubby Flubber
Jiggly homemade Jell-o
Favorite kids' cookbook? Talk amongst yourselves.

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Vinegar?!?! Why would you give your children vinegar?

vinegar + Baking soda = bubbly fun
(remember those grade school volcanos?)

Plus, a little ball of tortilla dough makes a great, if temporary, plaything for kids who are old enough not to eat it and choke. A small local Fresh Mexican chain makes fresh tortillas to order. A cook gave Baby A a ball of dough and she was *thrilled*.

- L

If you like Indian cooking (asian, that is), this is also a good recipe for chapatis.

Another fun thing to do once you have you tortillas is to make your own tortilla chips. I watched a friend to do one night. They cut the tortillas longways like slicing a pizza. Then fried the pieces in just a little oil in a skillet until brown and crisp. Add some seasoning (if needed) and there you have it!

My 5 and 7 year olds love Honest Pretzels recipes. Our all-time favourite breakfast treat is the large eggy popover which we bake in a pie plate and have renamed "Pancake Pie". It's such a hit that my 7year old requested we serve pancake pie instead of birthday cake at her 7-yr-old birthday party -- which I agreed to despite my concerns that the guests would be disappointed. We served it with fresh fruit and whipped cream and everyone loved it!!

It's just incredibly smelly, is all. And you wouldn't want it in your eyes, I'd bet.

Mmm...chapati....
Mmm...tortillas....

Sounds like a fun activity!

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