Sometime in mid-April, I got an email from an IMUSA PR rep, asking if I might be interested in participating in a Cinco de Mayo campaign. They would send me some IMUSA tools and I’d make something with them and write about.
Because it sounded like fun and I spend my life grossly underestimating how long tasks will take me to get done, I said yes. I was not worried at all about the fact that my book manuscript was due right around Cinco de Mayo because I was certain I would be done in advance of the deadline.
The box containing a tortilla press, a citrus squeezer, an avocado slicer, a pair of salsa bowls, and a tortilla warmer arrived last Thursday. I was hunched over my computer in my signature stress-writing position and so only managed to open the box and glance quickly at its contents before returning to writing about date purees and coconut sugar measurements.
I thought I’d find a moment or two in which to take the tools out for a test drive sometime over the weekend, but it didn’t happen (I did manage to take a break on Saturday to see the new Avengers movie with Scott and our friend Joe. Priorities).
This left me with Monday (and with the manuscript still unfinished) and I was okay with that. I knew I didn’t have a ton of time to devote to dreaming up a new recipe and so instead, I turned to the things I knew would make a good dinner and I could make without a huge investment of time.
I started early in the afternoon by making a batch of this Cumin Cabbage Slaw (it tastes best if it has a couple hours for the flavors to mingle). I cheated a little by using pre-sliced cabbage (in my defense, it was all they had at Trader Joe’s), and added some pre-grated carrots for more color. I used the IMUSA citrus squeezer to juice the lime and it worked beautifully.
Wanting to put the tortilla press to work, I decided to make the tortillas out of Vanessa Barrington’s lovely little book, DIY Delicious (a great book for homemade basics).
However, I made a critical error. I opted for flour tortillas because I didn’t have time to run out for masa harina. But because of the gluten content in the flour tortillas, they don’t work well with a press (you press them and they shrink right back up). So I ended up using the press to start them and then rolled them out by hand the rest of the way. Happily, they were delicious enough to make the effort worthwhile (and truly, it was nicely meditative).
A jar of salsa, a tub of sour cream, and some grated cheddar cheese rounded things out. There was no guacamole because the two avocados in the fridge were way past their prime. It ended up being a really good dinner (even if it was eaten on Quatro de Mayo) and produced leftovers enough for lunches today (and right now, nothing pleases me more than getting multiple meals out of a single cooking effort).
Oh, and the tools? They are sturdy, useful, and colorful. I’m not sure that my life requires a tortilla warmer, but the squeezer and tortilla press are staying in the permanent rotation. I can’t wait to use the avocodo slicer and will do so, as soon as the pair on my counter ripen up. For more from IMUSA, make sure to check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Search for #IMUSAdeMayo to see what other bloggers have created!
Happy Cinco de Mayo to all!
Flour Tortillas from DIY Delicious
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons softened butter
- In a large bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, wheat flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the oil and butter and mix with your hands, rubbing the fat into the flour with your fingertips.
- Pour in 1 1/4 cups warm water a little at a time and knead for 2 to 3 minutes in the bowl. The dough should be soft and pliable, but not sticky.
- Let the dough rest for 15 to 20 minutes under a damp towel.
- Form the dough into 12* equal balls, about 2 ounces each. Let rest for about 10 minutes (longer is okay if covered with a damp towel).
- Heat a dry cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- On a lightly floured board or counter, flatten one dough ball slightly with your palm and, using a rolling pin, roll it out into a thin circle 8 inches in diameter.
- When the skillet is hot, but not smoking, gently peel the tortilla off the counter and carefully place it in the pan.
- Cook for 1 minutes, and then flip it over with a spatula. It should have small brown spots. Cook for 1 minute on the other side.
- Nestle the cooked tortillas in a clean towel as you finish cooking the rest.
- Once you get a rhythm going, you should be able to roll out one while cooking another.
- The dough is easy to work with and shouldn't give you trouble. You may need to adjust the heat under the pan if you notice the tortillas cooking either too quickly or too slowly.
- Use the tortillas immediately or let them cool, wrap well, and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for 2 months.
Disclosure: IMUSA sent me the box of kitchen tools you see pictured at the top of this post. No additional compensation was provided and all opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.