Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Tortillas! Bread! Pie! Oh My!

My family loves to eat Mexican food. At least once a week, you'll find us enjoying homemade salsa in some form of meal at our dinner table. I love making salsa in the summertime, when the tomatoes are fresh and ripe. (I actually don't like tomatoes, but I'll eat them if they're chopped up small enough or cooked in a sauce.) The tomato plants in our backyard are not producing yet so I wait for our CSA box to arrive each week with a generous helping of tomatoes.

Up until recently, I usually bought tortillas at a local market. I'd thought about making them myself but all of the recipes called for lard or just seemed complicated. But then, a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a flour tortilla recipe that sounded too good to be true.

This tortilla recipe only uses four, baking powder, salt, oil, and milk. The recipe is incredibly easy to follow. After making the dough, I used my iron skillet to cook the tortillas for just a minute. In the end, I had a plate full of light, fluffy tortillas that we devoured in just minutes.

You can find the recipe here. It's become one of my new favorites!

As for my salsa, there is no recipe. I just chop up whatever we have on hand and go with it. Last week it was black bean and corn salsa with fresh cilantro. I wish I was a better photographer because it looked much yummier than my photo shows.

I have had a few people ask about the recipe I use for our sandwich bread. First, let me say that buying the book, "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day" is well worth it. There are so many amazing recipes in the book and they are all so easy to make! The breads can be made without kneading the dough and you can literally have the dough made in 5 minutes. It's the simplest collection of bread recipes that I've ever seen.

That said, here is the basic recipe that I use for sandwich bread. I buy organic flour and yeast in bulk at a local market.

Light Wheat Sandwich Bread
-1 1/2 Tbsp. yeast
-1 1/2 Tbsp. salt
-3 cups warm water
-1 cup whole wheat flour
-5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Mix yeast, salt, and water in bowl of stand mixer. Add flour and mix until a big, moist ball of dough is formed. Cover the bowl (I use a plate) and let it sit for 2 hours.

When the dough is done sitting, you can either refrigerate it or bake it at 450 degrees for about 24 minutes. I bake it right away by just putting the dough into loaf pans coated with a light spray of olive oil. I bake 3 loaves out of one batch of dough all at the same time. I make small loaves because my pans are small. (If anyone knows of a place to get larger glass loaf pans, please let me know!)

That's it! Sandwich bread from scratch in just 5 minutes. It's so easy that my kids usually help me make it every week.

Because the bread recipes have been so easy, I've pretty much been baking everything we eat from scratch since last year. A few weeks ago we received a big box of cherries in our CSA box and I was inspired. I made a quick pastry dough and the kids helped me pit the cherries. And then we made a cherry pie!

I used this recipe for the pie and it turned out really well. It was delicious! I usually don't care for cherries, but I'll eat just about anything that comes in pie form. Except meat. Cuz that's weird.

Who would have ever thought that I'd fall in love with baking and cooking?
If you have any great recipes, please feel free to share!
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