Saturday, December 29, 2012

More masa!

The other day I walked by my dad using the computer, glanced the browser and saw that he was perusing old Miles and Laurel, the post about making tamales. (Kind of sweetly reassuring to know that my parents will read my blog even when I'm staying at their home!)

This morning, Dad said he was going out to get oatmeal. He went to the grocery store and came back with an avocado and a big old bag of masa! He said he had walked past the bags of masa and done a double-take, remembering what I had just written about it.

It was time to make chips and guacamole!

By the way, if you are still curious about masa, my dad confirmed what I already suspected: that I did a lousy job of explaining the difference between cornmeal and masa. I almost wrote that masa is corn flour, but then one of the Google results said something like, "If you think masa and corn flour are the same, TRY AGAIN!" and I got scared and just concluded that masa/corn flour/cornmeal were all different. The general internet consensus is that the corn in masa is treated in a lime solution, partly to make it better for tortillas, and it's finer than cornmeal. (I know one of you readers must have a better explanation. Please provide it in the comments!)

We got to work. Josh and I are most familiar with making corn tortillas from masa and water mixed together and then flattened in a tortilla press. (We like to make fajitas with the tortillas.) We hadn't actually made chips before, but we figured it should be pretty intuitive - and luckily, it was.

Dad tackled the guacamole with his fabulous recipe while Josh poured the masa and started mixing. There are directions on the back of the bag for how to make the amount of tortillas you'd like.

We left the dough just a little too thick - again, even after the tamale feedback! - but it's pretty hard to seriously mess up tortillas.

Then it was time to roll out tortillas. Without the size restrictions from a tortilla press, where you're limited to small tortillas, I could roll out tortillas as large as I could fit in the pan!

While I rolled them out, Josh tended to the pan. We usually use a griddle, but a flat pan will do the job just fine. Yum.

After they were all done - a couple of minutes on each side over medium-high heat is all it took - I cut each tortilla into sixths or eighths. That's where the chip experiment began. We drizzled a little bit of olive oil and sprinkled sea salt over them, and put half the batch into the oven on a pizza stone at 375 degrees. That turned out to take a long time and they just weren't quite as crunchy as we were hoping. The next batch: 400 degrees, with the olive oil brushed evenly over the tortilla instead of drizzled. Much better!

I wouldn't be surprised if some avocados and a new bag of masa fell into my own grocery cart sometime soon.

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