Monday, June 27, 2011

Fiesta Food! - Part 1 of 3

I talk a lot about my job at the bookstore, but the truth is, that's a part-time job. The job that pays my bills is an office job I have for a non-profit. Things that I love about it include: schedule flexibility, no dress code, and we will accept any excuse to have a party at work. This month we lose our Urchin co-worker, Sarah. To see her off properly she would need a rockin fiesta. Sarah is my vegan partner in crime at the office, so I was ever so excited to make awesome seitan tacos for her.

I'm not going to post the recipe for the tacos, because it came from Terry Hope-Romero's cookbook Viva Vegan. It's an excellent book and you should all buy it. Also, I (not so) secretly want to be her. What I am going to post are three staples in my home that can be made with (little or) no waste: seitan, corn tortillas and red chile.

The only tricky parts about making this 100% waste free is the masa harina, a kind of corn meal that's treated with lime and is used to make corn tortillas, and wax paper. I can't find masa herna in bulk around here, but luckily I had a huge bag in my kitchen. If I run out before the year is up I guess I just cry. I also use wax paper with my tortilla press (instructions online always recommend plastic wrap, but that's just silly and wax paper can be reused much more easily). I use the same two bits of paper until they are totally ruined and I really can't get away with it anymore. I've had the same roll of wax paper for over a year and I'm only half way through it, so I can attest to the usefulness of wax paper.

All of these things are easy to make, and significantly cheaper and healthier than what you'll buy in the store.

Oh-my-god-easy Corn Tortillas

½ cup Masa Harina
1/3 cup water
Pinch of salt

Mix masa harina and salt in a bowl. Make a well. Pour water into the well and mix by hand for 2 minutes. Adjust if the dough seems too sticky or too crumbly*. Make into 4 balls. Heat a pan that is just lightly brushed with cooking oil. Depending on your pan, you can do this dry. You know your cookware better than me (I hope). Line bottom of tortilla press with wax paper, place ball in center. Place a bit of wax paper on top. Press. Toss into pan. Cook. Flip. Cook. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Done. Store in plastic in the fridge.

*Use cation when adding water and only add a teaspoon at a time. Too much water will create dough that sticks to everything but itself, is difficult to work with, impossible to please, and may even put bubble gum in your favorite pair of shoes. So easy on the water.

Make 4 tortillas. Duh.

Next up: Seitan

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