Before my time on this spinning orb, my mother lived with my older brother and sister in the border town of El Paso, Texas. From her time in El Paso, she grew fond of Mexico, the people, traditions, language, and food.
When I came around, the family lived in a small town on the California coast. There, these cultural influences continued with opportunities to practice her Spanish and enjoy and share the Mexican food she loved.
Tortillas are foundational to so many recipes that it seems natural to start here. Making them is straightforward, masa harina, salt, lard, and water. In Spanish, masa means dough, and harina means flour. You can find masa harina in most grocery stores today in the baking aisle with other flours.
A bit of background, masa harina is made from dried corn that has been treated with an alkali, such as ash. The process is called nixtamalization, and it softens the texture, improves the nutritional value, and changes flavor and aroma. The dried, nixtamalized corn is then ground to make the masa harina. You’re welcome; you now have something to add to your cocktail conversation repertoire.
Although Mom is no longer with us, I would have loved to have made and shared these with her. I think she would approve.
Jeff and I enjoy these heated with some melted cheese and Chardonnay.
Photo Illustrations of Steps 3 & 4