People, I have a problem.
I’m in love with corn tortillas.
Oh, I’m still in love with my wonderful husband, who takes our daughter to the playspace on the island — to climb jungle gym equipment and feed pretend tea to her dolly — every morning about this time so I can settle in front of the computer and write these words.
(And live on Twitter for a bit. It’s so easy to nibble on peoples word’s, banter in that small space, and feel like I’m talking to my friends. It’s also so easy to feel like I’m nattering away my life. And then I find these astonishing essays that connect me to myself again, like Amanda’s piece on the beauty of taking care of ourselves, and I am grateful all over again for this internet that connects people sitting alone in rooms.)
And I adore our darling daughter, who spent a couple of hours yesterday playing in our yard while I weeded a raised bed before I plant potatoes. She traveled at her pace, picking flowers, talking to herself, and climbing the porch steps again and again. As I kneeled to separate roots from black earth, feeling the muscles in my back open to the sun again, I heard her come up behind me, babbling. I sat up and showed her: a worm in my hands. She watched it wriggle, touched it gently, then looked at me in astonishment. Then she was off to kick a big ball.
I love that having a kid means I can be a kid again too.
I love the smell of the daphne just off our front deck (all laundry should smell like this), the rollicking sound of Sharon laughing on the phone, the feeling of my fingers wrapped around the first cup of coffee in the morning. I love pickles dripping liquid, the sound of Little Bean’s giggle when we tickle her, and the rhythm of rain on a tin roof.
I love driving into the tiny town of the expansive island where we live.
(And hey, if you’re going to be anywhere near us this weekend, I’m speaking at the Vashon Food Summit this Saturday. Take a look at this lineup of impassioned people talking about food that matters to them. I’m honored to be a part of this, so grateful that I live in a place like this one.)
I love so much that I could go on typing all day. But I’m forgetting what I came here to tell you.
Corn tortillas. People, I have a problem.
That photo up there? That’s corn tortillas browned in oil, then cut up for migas. My goodness, if you have not eaten migas before, get to it. (I say this as a week-old convert.) That’s one of the endless ways you can eat corn tortilla goodness.
But since we have a toddler instead of a baby, we’re just digging the quesadillas. (“Make yourself a dang quesadilla!” This line from Napoleon Dynamite is always in there while I’m grating the cheese.) Fast finger food with good ingredients.
Enchiladas. Warm soft tortillas torn off in strips, with a little butter and salt. Nachos — man, we love nachos more than two adults probably should. We’re hooked in this house.
For the past week, however, it has been tortilla chips. Homemade tortilla chips. Have you made these yet? Until last week, I thought making tortilla chips must be hard. I mean, they taste so damned good, right? How could it be this easy?
Easy it is. I found this wonderful photo tutorial from my friend Alice at Savory Sweet Life. (Did you know that Alice has a gluten-free category on her website, as well? Thank you, Alice.) I made some 10 minutes later.
I’m always struck by how simple homemade food is. I used to think it would take much longer to make good food from scratch than grabbing something from the deli or takeout. It does take longer. Usually about 10 minutes longer, it seems to me.
(Also, it’s really good for me if I make tortilla chips instead of buying a big bag. Big bags quickly dwindle into tightly rolled empty bags that need to go into the trash. Like I said, I have a problem.)
Sometimes I get letters from people begging me to work on a gluten-free flour tortilla recipe. I have to tell you — it’s pretty far down the list. I don’t really like flour tortillas. They feel so wan and enervated in comparison to the rugged goodness of a corn tortilla. And if you make your tortillas by hand — a skill I’m still improving — then you really won’t want those packaged goods again.
But maybe you have a great gluten-free flour tortilla recipe you’d like to share here. Or one of your favorite uses for tortillas. I can’t be the only one with this problem. Go ahead. Share.
Homemade Tortilla Chips
I could write a formal recipe here, but seriously? You don’t need one. Here’s what you do.
Take 10 corn tortillas.
Brush both sides with canola oil.
Cut them into 4 pieces each (for big tortilla chips) or 8 pieces (like a pie, for tiny crispy wedges that will shatter between the teeth).
Don’t do them all separately, silly. Pile them up then drive that knife down.
Sprinkle with salt and whatever spices you like.
(I’m playing with smoked paprika, chili powder, pepper, and lemon zest. Also, cinnamon sugar.)
Lay each one out on a baking sheet (we put down aluminum foil) — this is honestly the longest part of this short task.
Bake them in a 375* oven. 10 minutes, then turn them all with tongs. (yes, this seems fussy. worth it)
Bake again, about 4 more minutes for the small chips, about 10 more minutes for the big ones. (What happens in your kitchen might be different.)
Are they crisp? Golden? Solid and airy as commercial tortilla chips, but warm? Ah yes.
Let them cool, a bit. (Come on, you don’t want your tongue to be burned.)