January 22, 2016
TORTILLAS PART THREE: Not long after my tortilla craze took hold (read about it here if you missed it.), I saw a post on Cadry's Kitchen about using tortillas to recreate a dish from The Chicago Diner — Pierogi Quesadilla. Once I understood that Cadry was using just the pierogi filling, (according to the Chicago Diner menu, it contains "sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, green onions, sautéed mushrooms & Daiya® Cheddar with vegan dill sour cream.") and not the noodles, to fill her quesadillas, I was eager to try it myself. Actually, I was eager to interest my husband in making it — I am the tortilla maker — and he was enthusiastic, though if you compare Cadry's photos to mine, you'll see that she is more artistic. The tortilla in the photo above was one of my puffier ones so I was able to stuff the fillings inside it rather than stacking two together, or laying the filling on top and folding it over, both of which are more traditional quesadilla preparations. My husband's quesadilla was of the stacked variety. We also forgot to cut them into wedges, being eager to consume them as soon as possible. (Just a note: for our cheese we used one of Miyoko's Kitchen's hard cheeses, and though it didn't exactly melt, it tasted melted.) This was our first 'adventurous' tortilla experience — a far cry from the standard, but delicious, weekly taco dinners my husband used to make on his weekend cooking night, while our kids were growing up.
The second serendipitous event to occur after my tortilla awakening, was the appearance of two of the authors of The Taco Cleanse, at a book talk/demo, in Seattle. It took place not far from my house at The Book Larder, a bookstore dedicated to cookbooks.
Jessica and Stephanie had us laughing out loud as they talked about their book and recipes. It was probably the most entertaining book talk I've been to in years. The whole time they spoke, they cooked — or rather, Stephanie cooked. Apparently, Jess' sole recipe contribution to the cookbook was tater tot tacos. Jessica is a master of the "I don't know how to cook taco," and I know there are many vegans out there who will be grateful to her for that. I now know that you can put anything into a tortilla — Pad Thai, curry, pizza — and call it a taco.
In addition to entertaining us, they also fed us. We had tacos filled with soy curls , peppers, sour cream, etc., and they were good. Though, of course, they would have been even better on fresh, homemade tortillas. :D
Naturally, we purchased a copy of the The Taco Cleanse and have been eating tacos pretty steadily ever since. For our first plunge into The Taco Cleanse, I made fresh tortillas while my husband made his version of gallo pinto — Costa Rican rice and beans — except he used kidney beans and no rice.
He also made abundant roasted potatoes so the tacos would be more fun. And a green vegetable, of course, on the side. Plus we still had dill sour cream leftover from the pierogi quesadillas, and a jar of salsa.
Here's what our tacos looked like.
I still don't have a taco press but I'm wielding my cast iron frying pan like a real pro; just this morning I developed a new technique that flattens the tortilla just right. But as you can see, I've acquired a tortilla basket. I was in a Good Will store looking for, (cough cough), a tortilla press, among other things, and I spied a nice little basket sitting by itself on a shelf. I swear it was calling me. I had some reservations about employing a used basket to hold food but I followed directions for cleaning baskets, and disinfecting food contact surfaces with bleach and water. I scrubbed the basket, rinsed, then soaked it in bleach solution, and dried it in front of the fireplace. It looks and smells clean. I lined it with a thick napkin to keep the tortillas cozy while they wait for us to eat them, and it keeps the tortillas warm for at least an hour.
I made tortillas for breakfast, and ate leftover-bean tacos. After my husband finished his share of the tortillas, he asked, "What about dinner? Are you making more tortillas for dinner/" It's clear to me that I have to up my production, and resort to reheating. It's come to this.