The Holy Grail, found.

I’m not a baker.

Therefore, the numerous unsuccessful attempts I’ve made at flour tortillas hasn’t particularly upset me.  I meant, when you need to have crisco or butter to a certain consistency for a recipe to turn out… I’m pretty much out.  I’m the Swedish Chef.  Things are flying in the air, the recipe is mostly ignored, and you know, sift the flours together in a separate bowl.  Are you KIDDING?!  Who does that?  People with live-in maids, that’s who (or people who actually bake well!).

I just cannot make myself cook as EXACT as most baking requires.

I thought I could live with my mean corn tortillas.  I can hammer ’em out.  They are delicious and nutritious.

So, when Valentine’s Day rolled around, Randy and I started discussing dinner options.  Mexican came up and I thought we should have another go at chile rellenos Mattito’s style with raisins and pecans, yum!  The possibility of finding poblanos is always hit-and-miss here in Germany, so our 2nd string option was steak and shrimp fajitas (because I was dreaming of Pappasitos).

Well, poblanos were nowhere to be found and fajitas it was.  We decided to make a go for the flour tortillas.  Why the hell not?  I had decided we weren’t working the dough enough, so we had a new strategy.  As Randy started to roll out the dough, I could tell we had another disaster on our hands and I went on a google search for tortillas.  I found a sea of the same complaints.  We were all in the same boat with the same recipe – flour, shortening and water.

Does not work, folks.  I’m not sure WHO can make these mythical tortillas.

Then I found a blog with the same complaint and a saviour of a recipe.  And let me tell ya, this recipe looks damnable.  It looks wrong.  I mean, MILK?  Come on.  Yes, indeed.  Come on.  Follow the recipe exactly.  You will laugh, you will cry.  They are so beautiful, so soft and pliable, so delicious.  They are everything a flour tortilla should be.

Thank you Homesick Texan.  Don’t even think I won’t be cooking my way through your blog… and I shall start with homemade queso blanco in my kitchen next weekend.  For real, you can make cheese in your own kitchen.  All ya need is a gallon of milk!

Texas Flour Tortillas (adapted from The Border Cookbook by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison)

Ingredients:
Two cups of all-purpose flour (can make them whole wheat by substituting one cup of whole-wheat flour for white flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
3/4 cups of warm milk

Method:
Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oil.
Slowly add the warm milk.
Stir until a loose, sticky ball is formed.
Knead for two minutes on a floured surface. Dough should be firm and soft.
Place dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 20 minutes.
After the dough has rested, break off eight sections, roll them into balls in your hands, place on a plate (make sure they aren’t touching) and then cover balls with damp cloth or plastic wrap for 10 minutes. (It’s very important to let the dough rest, otherwise it will be like elastic and won’t roll out to a proper thickness and shape.)
After dough has rested, one at a time place a dough ball on a floured surface, pat it out into a four-inch circle, and then roll with a rolling pin from the center until it’s thin and about eight inches in diameter. (If you roll out pie crusts you’ll have no problem with this.) Don’t over work the dough, or it’ll be stiff. Keep rolled-out tortillas covered until ready to cook.
In a dry iron skillet or comal heated on high, cook the tortilla about thirty seconds on each side. It should start to puff a bit when it’s done.
Keep cooked tortillas covered wrapped in a napkin until ready to eat.
Can be reheated in a dry iron skillet, over your gas-burner flame or in the oven wrapped in foil.
While you probably won’t have any leftovers, you can store in the fridge tightly wrapped in foil or plastic for a day or so.
Makes eight tortillas.

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Tonight, you should add “TV” to your Thank You’s to the Lord Above

For a full year I’ve been hearing off and on about last year’s Christmas disaster.  Why DIDN’T Santa bring him the machine that shot out mittens that Jackson asked for?

Really, it was what his heart of hearts wanted.  I had no idea how to make that happen and I happen to be fairly creative.

I blame it on lack of television.

It’s really hard to know what you want when commercials aren’t telling you.

I’m all for TV.  We just don’t happen to have it (at least complete with stations and commercials).  So, I thought I’d one-up him this year.  I downloaded the Toys R Us app for the Ipad.  This WAS indeed very entertaining and Jack quickly added 230 things to his Christmas list.  I’m not quite sure he knew what he was “asking” for, but, you know, whatever.

Enter Christmas Bell, our elf, whom Jack speaks with regarding Christmas, well, alot.  He has begun a series of lists for Christmas Bell to bring to Santa that are not looking good.

He would like according the latest and greatest list:

– a phone.  (REALLY?!)  A phone with the number 50910.096.18690 to be exact, but supposedly you could dial just 18690 to reach him
– a machine that makes cookies
– a building, like a hotel
– a magic toy robot
– a magic wand that WORKS
– magic (in general, the ability to do magic)

Awesome.

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

This is what my kids have been waiting for.  They are so excited “Christmas Time” is here.  What a way to kick it off.

The charm and magic of it all is not lost on me.  Sometimes I wonder how we could possibly live up to our blessings?

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Thank You Very Much. Not.

It all started out innocently.  Jack had a very small Birthday party and the children brought him lovely gifts.  I told him if he wanted to continue to have Birthday parties, he should write thank you notes to said children.

I have some blank notecards that lend themselves to making a picture on the front and writing a note on the inside.  Jack drew a couple of rainbows and some thank yous to his friends.  Then I ran out of notecards.  I folded up a piece of paper from my printer into a card shape and handed it to him.

It all started out very innocently.

Then, he asked if he could color the back as well.  Sure!

Some more sun, an airplane, it’s cool.

Then he writes his “thank you” on the inside of the card.

When I questioned him, he said this was him saying “yes”, and his friend (to whom he is writing the thank you note to) is saying “no”.  They are “arguing”.

Lovely.

I tell him that probably isn’t the nicest thing to depict in a thank you card.  Never fear.  He’s going to right that wrong.

Because the argument ended with a “Jackson, you’re right”.

I couldn’t even make this stuff up.

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28

28.

I have 28 Christmas mugs.

How embarrassing.

I now have 25 Christmas mugs.  Thanks for playing!  AND I’m sending you something special to go with your new mugs, Stacey, Tracey, and Lori.  But that’s just because I love you.

Lori, am I that predictable?!  You were only one off!

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It’s a Christmas Miracle!

So, as you know, I hauled TEN crates from my attic and decorated for Christmas on Saturday.  I had to totally revamp my plates / cups situation to accomodate my Christmas Ware.  As I maniacally cleaned my appliances that sit on open shelves (what is WRONG with me?!) I came to my beautiful pink Kitchen Aid Food Processor that did not make the move from Florida.  When I unpacked the food processor, everything looked fine, but I tried and tried it.  It never would turn on.  I didn’t have the heart to throw it away.  It’s been sitting on my shelf so I could long for its better days for over a year now.  I just couldn’t give up on it.  I decided to plug it in, you know, just to see.  My food processor turned on.

My food processor totally came back to life.

Don’t even think that I didn’t whip up some hummus within 20 minutes!

– 2 cans of chick peas, one drained and rinsed, the other I just didn’t bother.  I threw the whole thing in
– squeezed a whole lemon into it
– threw a couple of jalapenos in (without the seeds… the children!)
– couple of cloves of garlic
– turned my bottle of olive oil over for sec (a tablespoon or so?)
– I let the kids spoon some tahini in.  Two spoonfuls each.  I’m not sure how much tahini went in.

Best hummus ever.

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Christmas Shame

I drug the Christmas gear out of the attic today.  And put it all up.  It’s November 13th.  Shameful, it is.

What is more shameful is the number of Christmas coffee mugs I own.  I had to store all of our regular mugs.  And actually, well, all of our glasses to fit the Christmas mugs.  I don’t even collect Christmas mugs.  I’m not sure how this happened except we’ve probably drank WAY too much gluhwein at one too many Christmas markets and NOT returned the mugs (don’t worry, that’s not stealing… you pay a deposit).

Soooooo, if you can guess how many I own, I’ll SEND YOU ONE!  I might send you one if you just take a guess and I like you.  Or if you don’t guess at all.  Guess what you’re getting for Christmas this year???!!!!

 

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