From Fail to Fabulous

I made homemade tortillas to go with fajitas last night. The flour tortillas turned out great. The corn tortillas were an abomination. They were too dry. Too thick. Too awful. C’mon! It’s corn masa, salt & warm water. How hard can this be? I was tempted to throw them away, but I didn’t. As a corn tortilla lover, I was totally bummed. So bummed, I didn’t even make margaritas. That’s how bummed I was. Those of you who know me well are now probably saying, “Ahh, HELL no! She did NOT skip the margaritas!” I know! I know.

Homemade Corn Tortillas - great taste; terrible texture

The Complete Package is working from home today, so for lunch I took my short stack of awful corn tortillas and I fried them up in a little canola oil. Presto… homemade tostadas! My issues with texture went away when these little beauties crisped up in hot oil. With toppings like leftover grilled fajita beef, slow-cooked refried beans, grilled poblano peppers and homemade pico de gallo and guacamole, we turned drab into fab. I wish you could have been here. These puppies were fabulous! I think they will be going on our Hoegarden Weekend menu this spring (am I right, ladies?). I could eat these every day.

Homemade tostadas - holy cow, these were awesome!

Lessons learned:
1. never give up
2. be creative
3. there is nothing wrong with leftovers; not one little thing
4. when life gives you crummy corn tortillas, make tostadas!

On a scale of 1 to 10 (as my friend Kat likes to say), these were clearly 11/10. Thanks, Kat. You are SO right.

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16 Comments

Filed under Food & Recipes

16 responses to “From Fail to Fabulous

  1. Mmm there are few things I love more in this world than tostadas.
    And also…
    Ahhh, HELL no! She did NOT skip the margaritas!

  2. Amy

    This is all well and good, but please tell me that you finally had a margarita!

    (Seriously, though, those look awesome!)

  3. Claudia

    And after the tostadas… margaritas! Yes? NO?!?!
    Oh dear…

  4. Kat

    Oh yes, 11/10 for sure. There are many mental images I conjure up when trying to ascertain whether or not something is an 11/10. These are definitely it. Good god. Way to save the day. Maybe once I get into marathon training I will eat this arrangement every day. Would that be such a bad way to go?

  5. Yay! U r so resourceful…brilliant!
    Glad we’re all doing Mexican together. I’ve got tortilla soup on the stove now ;).

  6. Mary

    Use lukewarm water with the masa harina. Ypur hands should be slightly wet too. As you make the tortillas, be aware of how wet/dry the masa is. You can add a bit of lukewarm water to the masa if it starts getting dried out. A little bit (pinch) of Clabber Girl too– makes them fluffier. Wrap tour tortillas press in plastic- slide off easier. Depending on where you live, try to get the bag of masa harina in the brown bag that says for “tamales”. Cover the pressed tortillas with a slightly damp paper towel on a plate before you cook them. Put the tortillas on a lightly greased comal or grill. They should come out just fine. Also, you need to be in a really good mood- or the tortillas will taste bitter. This I leaned from my mother-in-law, who is 100% Mexican & from a small pueblo in Jalisco.
    Buen provecho.

    • Thank you, Mary. Your comments were enlightening for this rookie. First, for the fact that I was so close to getting it right. I did use the masa harina in the brown bag that said “for tamales.” We had 1/2 a bag leftover from our Christmas holiday tamale night (which turned out really, really well). I didn’t know about adding the Clabber Girl baking powder, so I will definitely try adding a pinch next time. I also used plastic wrap on my tortilla press, which worked beatifully – they peel right off the plastic wrap instead of sticking to the press. That tip really works. I also kept my tamales covered in plastic while I pressed the others, but next time I’ll try the damp paper towel trick. I cooked mine on the built-in griddle on the top of my stove, and it seemed to work really well since I let it pre-heat for about 5-10 minutes prior to cooking the tortillas. Perhaps it was my mood. I was a little nervous that they wouldn’t turn out. Next time, I’ll put on some Gypsy Kings, throw in a little baking powder, add a smidge more water than I used last time, and attack it with more gusto. Thanks for the tips, Mary. I really appreciate your comments, and I feel better prepared now to try it again. Muchas gracias!

  7. Still reeling from the fact that we both made failure corn tortillas on the same night. Freaky. I must say that I admire your resolve to Fry the Failure into submission. Brilliant move. I baked chips out mine and drowned my sorrows in a bowl of salsa. Although perhaps our mistake was skipping the margaritas?

    • Sometimes I’m rocked by how similar we are and how much we seem to think alike. The fact that we’re starting to post up stories on the same topics on the same days without any prior discussion? Well, that’s just our strong bloggy friend connection. I liken it to Dionne Warwick and her “Psychic Friends Hotline.” We’re just *there* cosmically. Including your conclusion that our biggest mistake on corn tortilla night was skipping the margaritas. BIG mistake!

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