Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tacos with Homemade Flour Tortillas- Dinner


This was inspired by a recipe I found in Gourmet.  The recipe calls for bagged cole slaw mix from the grocery store, but the cole slaw from Bakesale Betty's restaurant in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland is so much better than a plain bag-mix.  This was my first attempt at making tortillas.  I used some of my leaf lard from the freezer.  I don't think I would say that these tortillas were much better than what I can buy at the store.  Is that the fault of the recipe, or me?  I don't know, but I think I'll try corn tortillas next.  The flank steak rub was really good, and very easy.  I've posted the entire recipe here as written in Gourmet, (including bag cole slaw mix and store-bought tortillas).

Tortillas
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup lard
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm water

Special equipment: pastry blender, comal (Mexican griddle; optional), six- to ten-inch-long wooden dowel (found in hardware stores)

Stir together flour with salt in a bowl, then cut in lard with a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture resembles meal. Drizzle vegetable oil over and stir in warm water with a fork until a dough forms. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes, dusting hands occasionally with flour if dough is sticky.
Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 1 hour. Heat a dry well-seasoned cast-iron comal, regular griddle, or skillet over moderately low heat until hot. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces and form into balls.
When rolling out 1 ball at a time with dowel, use just enough flour to prevent dough from sticking; you don't want excess flour coming off on the comal. Keep remaining dough covered with plastic wrap. Roll out each ball into a 7-inch round, maintaining an even thinness as you roll. Cook 1 tortilla on comal as you roll the next.
Tortilla will bubble and puff, and bottom will be browned in spots in 45 seconds. Turn it over and cook second side in same way, moving tortilla around to compensate for any hot spots on comal if necessary. Transfer to a kitchen towel. Stack and cover tortillas as cooked. They can be frozen (cool thoroughly first). Rewarm thawed tortillas on comal before using.

When rolling out 1 ball at a time with dowel, use just enough flour to prevent dough from sticking; you don't want excess flour coming off on the comal. Keep remaining dough covered with plastic wrap. Roll out each ball into a 7-inch round, maintaining an even thinness as you roll. Cook 1 tortilla on comal as you roll the next.
Tortilla will bubble and puff, and bottom will be browned in spots in 45 seconds. Turn it over and cook second side in same way, moving tortilla around to compensate for any hot spots on comal if necessary. Transfer to a kitchen towel. Stack and cover tortillas as cooked. They can be frozen (cool thoroughly first). Rewarm thawed tortillas on comal before using.

Carne Asada
Total Time: 15 min

1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 (1-to 1 1/4-pounds) piece of flank steak
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 (7-to 8-inch) flour tortillas
3 cups packaged coleslaw mix (7 ounces)

Accompaniments: sliced pickled jalape├▒os; sour cream; lime wedges

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Stir together ancho powder, cocoa, and cinnamon.
Pat steak dry and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt, then coat with spice mixture. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then cook steak, turning once, 8 to 9 minutes for medium-rare.
While steak cooks, wrap tortillas in foil and warm in oven.
Let steak rest 5 minutes on a cutting board, then thinly slice across the grain at an angle.
Serve steak with warm tortillas and coleslaw mix.


Bakesale Betty's Cole Slaw

The vinaigrette
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

The coleslaw
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 jalapenos, seeded, cut in half and sliced crosswise
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 green cabbage, core and outer leaves removed, and very thinly sliced
Kosher salt

For the vinaigrette: Combine mustard, vinegar and salt in a bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil until well blended.

For the coleslaw: Macerate onions in red wine vinegar, and let sit at least 20 minutes. Remove onions and discard vinegar. Toss onions with jalapeno, parsley, cabbage and salt. Toss with vinaigrette until evenly coated.
Note- I don't use nearly as much vinaigrette as called for here.  I make a half recipe and use about 1/2- 3/4 of what I've made.

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