Homeade Corn Tortillas and uses

Homemade corn tortillas are amazing in comparison to the already made ones in the grocery store. The corn tortilla dough is simple to make, and can save lots of money. Leftover corn tortillas can be used to make homemade corn chips as well.

Corn tortillas require a special corn meal called masa harina, also called maseca. Masa harina is made from corn that has been dried, nixtamalized, dried again, then finely ground into a sandy flour. Nixtamalized means it has been soaked in an alkaline water bath usually of cooking lime, which helps to make the nutrients from the corn more easily absorbed by the human body. Masa harina is found in most larger super markets near the flour and corn meal, or in the Hispanic food section. For a wider selection of brands and colors visit your local Latin market or an online retailer.

Corn Tortillas (makes about 16 tortillas)

Ingredients:
2 cups of masa harina
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt, or salt to taste

Directions:
Mix the masa harina, water, and salt in a large bowl. Mix throughly for a minute or two, until a soft dough is formed. Add more water or masa harina if necessary, about one teaspoon at a time, until the dough is smooth and workable.

Divide the dough into sixteen equal sized portions. Cover with plastic wrap to keep them moist.

With a tortilla press:
Line the press with waxed paper or plastic wrap. Place the ball in the center, and flatten with the press until the tortillas are 5 to 6 inches around. Gently peel the tortilla from the press and set aside. Repeat with each additional portion, keeping the dough and finished tortillas covered while working.

Without a press:
Place balls between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper, and roll into 5 to 6 inch circles with a rolling pin. Gently peel the tortilla from the plastic wrap and set aside. Repeat with each additional portion, keeping the dough and finished tortillas covered while working.

Cook:
Heat a heavy bottomed pan or skillet to medium high heat. Do not grease the pan. Once the pan is heated cook each tortilla for one minute on one side, and then one minute on the other side. The tortillas should be warmed through, pliable, and slightly paler than the raw dough; they should not take on a golden color or become brittle.

Serve the tortillas warm while still warm. If making them in advance, warm them before using in the microwave or a few seconds on each side in a skillet.

If using the tortillas to make tostadas, cool tortillas completely before frying in hot oil.

If there are leftover tortillas:
Keep leftover tortillas in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They should stay fresh for up to a week.

Use leftover tortillas to make tostadas or enchilada casseroles.

Leftover tortillas can also be made into chips. To do so, cut the tortillas into triangles.

Baste both sides of the tortilla triangles with your favorite oil, sprinkle with salt and any spices you desire. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 15 min, or until they start to take on color and are crispy.

Alternatively, the triangles can be deep fried in hot oil heated to 350°F. A few triangles should be cooked at a time for 45 to 90 seconds. The chips should start to take on a golden hue, but should not be brown. Remove from the oil, and place on paper towels or a wrack to drain. Immediately sprinkle with salt and or desired spices.

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Persian Eggplant Omelet Recipe

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Though you’ve all heard this phrase how many of you actually know what it means? As a child, this writer was fortunate enough to learn the real meaning of this phrase cooking breakfast alongside my grandmother every morning. Having been raised in Iran, her grandmother brought with her many of the “old world” ways that had helped her raise her large family amongst all the adversity she was forced to endure in that country.

One of the main principles by which she lived was “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Therefore, breakfast at was always an extravagant event. She never served a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter jelly sandwich and sent the children on their way. Instead, she would spend time, after dinner each night preparing the next morning’s breakfast and she would always wake up before anyone else to cook breakfast, just to make sure they started their day the right way.

Of course, many people often asked her why she went to such lengths each morning when she could stay in bed and relax during her old age. But, she would always brush their comments and concerns aside and do what she did best: make breakfast. Of course, looking back at it now, this was her way of staying active, contributing to the children’s day and showing her love.

This eggplant omelet recipe is a favorite breakfast recipe. One of the main reasons this recipe  is so good is because it is so simple to make that, as a child,  grandmother used to allow the writer to make it (with supervision of course). She still remembers the way her grandmother used to laugh as she helped carry the omelet dish to the breakfast table with pride.

Persian Eggplant Omelet Recipe

Ingredients:

4 medium eggplants
1/2 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
4 large tomatoes, grilled, peeled and chopped into small cubes
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp turmeric
4 eggs
salt, pepper to taste

Preparation:

Peel and cut eggplants into thin strips

Brush eggplants with olive oil and either grill, broil or bake until they are soft and cooked thoroughly (about 40-45 minutes)

In a non-stick pan, saute the garlic on low heat

Next, add eggplant, tomatoes, lemon juice and turmeric to the oil (Arrange the eggplants on bottom of pan and pile the tomatoes on top of them)

Cover and cook for 10 minutes over low heat

Beat eggs together in a glass bowl, season with salt and pepper, and add to the eggplant mixture

Cover and cook omelet over low heat until eggs are cooked thoroughly and omelet is firm

Serve omelet with a side of goat cheese, fresh herbs, and naan bread

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Bacon Green Pepper and Tomato Cheese Spread

Bacon, Green Pepper & Tomato Spread is terrific and may be used in a variety of ways! This cheese spread is a great party dip, sandwich filling and it makes a delicious filling for a savory cheese omelet!

-Bacon, Green Pepper & Tomato Cheese Spread

Ingredients:

8 oz. softened cream cheese

1/2 tsp. milk

1 small tomato, seeded and diced very small

1 small green pepper, diced very small

2 tbsp. bacon crumbles

1/8 tsp. seasoned salt (slight pinch)

Instructions:

Whip cream cheese and milk in small bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy. Remove from mixer and add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine well.

Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

To serve:

Scoop Bacon, Green Pepper & Tomato spread into a decorative bowl, place in the center of a round party or snack tray.

Place dipping tools around bowl such as, Ritz Crackers, Ruffles Potato Chips, Fritos Corn Chips or Kashi Stone Ground 7 Grain party crackers; offer crisp carrot sticks and peppery celery curls to complete the party tray!

-Beef n’ Cheesy Sandwich:

To use this great cheese spread in a sandwich; just spread liberally on one slice of whole grain bread, add three red onion rings, and deli-thin slices of roast beef. Spread remaining slice of bread with roasted garlic paste, place on top of roast beef. Last step now; secure all with a green olive, skewered with a sandwich length tooth pick.

When making a quick breakfast omelet; spoon this cheese spread over one half of the egg mixture in your omelet pan. When spread begins to melt, fold omelet over top. Cover and allow to cook over very low heat for 1 minute.

Slide omelet onto serving plate and garnish with bacon crumbles. Serve this creamy-cheesy omelet with crunchy hashed browns and toast!

Bacon, Green Pepper & Tomato cheese spread is a very ver-sa-tile cheese spread ! Try it, see if it doesn’t fix that “rumbly in your tumbly”.

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Homemade Pizza Balls Recipe

Pizza balls make an excellent appetizer, or even a main dish with a salad. The simple small size makes it easy to portion control. The individual balls can be filled with everyone’s favorite toppings, so that there’s no fighting over what kind of pizza to make. This recipe may seem complicated, but it’s simple to do.

Pizza Balls

Dough:
2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup semolina flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups warm water

Filling:
16 ounces shredded cheese or cheeses
1 to 2 cups pizza or pasta sauce
48 quarter sized pieces of pizza toppings of your choice (pepperoni, pineapple bits, peppers, mushrooms, bacon, onions, etc.)

Topping:
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup shredded parmesan or romano cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:
Mix warm water, yeast and sugar in a bowl, and allow to proof (about 10 minutes). Add semolina flour and salt, and whisk together. Add bread flour 1 cup at a time until a good batter forms. Depending on the humidity you may need to add more water or bread flour.  Using hands or a stand mixer, knead the dough until firm and elastic.

Place dough to rest in an oiled bowl covered with a towel. Allow to rise until doubled in size.

Alternatively, the dough ingredients can be put into a bread maker on the dough setting to make the dough.

Degas the dough. Separate into 24 equally sized balls.

Grease a 9” x 13” baking pan.

Take a ball and flatten it to about 1/4 inch thick. Spread a teaspoon of sauce around the center, leaving the perimeter free of sauce. Put a generous pinch of the shredded cheese and 1 to 2 pieces of optional toppings in the center. Fold the mini-pizza in half, and pinch the seams together. Use your hands to gently cup it into a ball, and place seem side down in the pan.

Repeat the process with all of the dough balls. Place them four balls by six balls in the pan, evenly spaced apart.

Allow the pan to set for ten minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425F.

While the oven is preheating, use a basting brush to apply the melted butter to the top of the balls. Sprinkle the tops of the rolls with powdered garlic, oregano, and parmesan or romano cheese.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the balls are cooked through and golden brown.

Allow to rest a few minutes before serving.

Serve the pizza balls with garlic butter, additional sauce, or ranch dressing for dipping.

These pizza balls will soon become a family favorite!

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A Spanish Omelet is almost a Robust Meal in itself

A Spanish omelet – or tortilla – is a considerably more robust and substantial creation than the light and fluffy French style omelets. The drawback of this is that they take considerably longer to cook than their French counterparts but the results more than justify the extra time and effort. While the principal ingredients of a Spanish omelet are usually only eggs, potatoes and onions, this recipe expands the concept a little bit further for extra tasty results. Although delicious served hot, Spanish omelets are very often left to cool completely and eaten cold, perhaps as a tasty and unexpected treat for a picnic on a hot summer‘s day.

Ingredients (serves six)

1lb starchy potatoes, peeled and cut to 1” chunks
½ lb Spanish onions, peeled and quartered
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut in to strips
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut in to strips
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 large eggs
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp roughly chopped basil leaves

Directions

Pour the olive oil in to a large, deep, non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a medium heat. Add the potatoes and the onions and essentially but very gently stir fry for a couple of minutes until all the pieces are evenly coated with oil. Put the lid on the pan and leave it alone for twenty minutes to steam cook the potatoes.

Just before the potatoes and onions are done, the eggs should be beaten in a large bowl and seasoned with salt and pepper. Strain the contents of the pan over a second large bowl, reserving the olive oil. Carefully add the potatoes, onion, bell peppers and basil to the egg mix and stir in a folding motion to fully combine.

Return the olive oil to the pan and bring back up to a medium heat. Pour the egg and vegetable mixture in to the pan, slowly but steadily, so as not create spills or splashes. Cook for four or five minutes, frequently easing the cooking egg free from the sides of the pan with a spatula.

When you can see by looking at the omelet that the egg is set most of the way up, it is time to turn it. This is a little bit awkward and you should be careful not to burn yourself or spill the omelet.

Take the pan briefly from the stove and sit it on a heatproof surface. Use your spatula to ensure the egg is not sticking anywhere around the edge of the pan. Lay a plate larger than the pan over the top and – using a thick towel or oven gloves to protect your hands – invert the pan that the uncooked side of the omelet is on the bottom of the plate. Return the pan to the heat and simply slide the omelet back in to cook for a further four or five minutes on its second side.

When the Spanish omelet is done, slide it from the pan on to a plate, cover and leave to cool at least partially before slicing like a cake in to six portions. Serve immediately with salad or cool completely and pack with the remaining components of your picnic.

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Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Cookies Rolled Oats Honey Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

These soft and chewy oatmeal cookies have a wonderful flavor and uniform color; made with honey, and baked in a slow oven they win compliments every time. Soft and chewy oatmeal cookies like these will help satisfy a craving for chocolate as well as the need for a good old-fashioned oatmeal cookie. This recipe works well with either cake flour or all-purpose flour. When substituting simply sift the all-purpose flour 3 times and then take out 2 tablespoons for each cup used in the recipe.

For great results, follow these simple steps:

1- Heat the oven
2- Arrange all ingredients
3- Prepare cookie sheet (grease)
4- Sift flour and measure immediately; pile lightly in to measuring cup, level with straight edge of knife, refrain from shaking or tapping the cup, since flour particles pack readily.
5- Measure other dry ingredients, add to flour and sift again.
6- Cream shortening in a bowl; do this by whipping until very soft and fluffy. Never melt the shortening as this injures the texture and flavor of the cookie. Shortening creams between 70 and 80 degrees.
7- Add sugar gradually and beat well with each addition. The mixture should have a fluffy appearance when thoroughly creamed. You do not need to sift granulated sugar.
8- Cream the eggs into the sugar and shortening mixture.
9- Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, and mix.

Here is the recipe:

Honey Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

2 1/2 cups cake flour
1-teaspoon baking powder
1/4-teaspoon soda
1/2-teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon cinnamon
1-cup shortening
1 1/4 cups honey
2 eggs, beaten
2 ounces chocolate, melted
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cup nuts or coconut

Sift flour, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon together. Cream the shortening and honey together. Add the beaten eggs, melted chocolate, and rolled oats. Mix these ingredients thoroughly. Add the sifted dry ingredients and the nuts or coconut. Drop dough from a teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet and then bake in a slow oven at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. This recipe makes 5 1/2 dozen delicious soft and chewy oatmeal cookies.

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Practical Pre Cooking and Cooking Advice for Ensuring Omelets are Served as Light as possible

Omelets are a delicious meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They can be prepared and served plain or filled, but either way, they are likely to be at their very best when the egg mixture is cooked light and fluffy. Following are several techniques that will help your omelets turn out just right.

Seasoning

Never season an omelet before it’s cooked. Salt in particular can affect the moisture levels and cause the eggs to become grainy in the pan, so seasoning should only be added just before the omelet is folded over for plating.

Beating the eggs

A fork is very often used to beat eggs when making an omelet. While a fork will do the job and serve to combine the eggs, a balloon whisk will allow far more air to be beaten in to the eggs and result in a fluffier omelet. These whisks are useful for many purposes and can be purchased fairly inexpensively in either conventional stores or online.

Consider separating the egg whites from the yolks for beating. By beating the whites until they increase by about 25 percent in volume, it is much easier to incorporate the necessary air that will make an omelet fluffy. Do be careful, however, not to over-whisk the egg whites as though making meringues. The yolks should be lightly beaten in a separate bowl before being folded into the whites. This prevents the precious air being forced out of the mixture before it hits the pan.

As an alternative to separating the egg whites and yolks, try adding a tablespoon of water per three eggs to the bowl before the eggs are beaten. The steam caused by the water during cooking will help the eggs to puff up and become more fluffy.

Omelet pans

Special pans are available for making omelets. They are usually smaller than a standard frying pan and can be either cast iron or nonstick. A pan of this size helps prevent the egg mix spreading out too thinly over the surface and ensures the omelet cooks evenly with no bald patches in the pan.

A little butter or oil should be added to the pan before it is placed on the heat, but not too much or the omelet will be greasy. It is important to know that the pan must be brought up to a moderately high heat before the beaten eggs are added in order that the mixture begins cooking immediately and doesn?t absorb the fat or oil.

Tending the cooking omelet

When the eggs are first added to the pan they will of course be in liquid form. Use a plastic spatula to work slowly around the circumference of the pan, drawing the mixture from the edges in to the middle of the pan. This makes for more even cooking but has to be done very gently to avoid forcing the air out of the mixture. As soon as the eggs begin to solidify, it is vital to stop doing this or the eggs will scramble. The heat should be reduced and the eggs left to cook until only the slightest residue of liquid is visible on top of the set eggs.

Finishing the omelet

When the omelet is almost but not quite set, season with salt and pepper. Any filling which is to be incorporated should be laid on one half of the omelet and the empty half carefully folded over the top with a spatula. The egg will complete cooking in a matter of seconds in the residual heat, so the omelet should be plated and served immediately with accompaniments of choice.

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How to Make a Mexican Omelet

Why not start the day with a kick? Here you will find a delicious way to get some veggies inside your tummy and a kick to your metabolism. Try this Mexican Omelet and see if you don’t agree, its “delish!”

-Mexican Kicked-up Omelet

Ingredients:

3 whole eggs

2 tbsp. cream

1/4 tsp. seasoned salt

1/2 tbsp. butter or olive oil

1/4 cup onion, diced small

1/2 cup diced hot green chili’s, divided

1/4 cup diced tomatoes, seeds removed

1/4 cup diced avocado

1/2 cup medium hot Picante sauce

1/2 cup grated Pepper Jack cheese, divided

2 tbsp. shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1 tbsp. sliced olives, divided

1 tbsp. black olives, divided

Instructions:

Break eggs into a medium sized bowl, using a french whip, beat until light yellow and fluffy. Add cream, whisk in well. Add seasoned salt, stir and set egg mixture aside momentarily.

Add butter/oil to a non-stick 6-8 inch saute pan, omelet pan or small skillet, over medium heat to melt butter. Add onion, saute until opaque. Remove onion to a small bowl, reserve.

Reduce heat to medium low.

Pour egg mixture into omelet pan, swirl to cover pan bottom. Do not disturb pan for 1 minute or until eggs are set but not totally firm. Reduce heat under pan to low.

Begin adding fillings evenly over one half of egg mixture and in this order:

1/4 cup pepper jack cheese

1/8 cup tomato

Avocado

1/4 cup green chili’s

Reserved sauteed onions

1/2 tbsp. black olives

1/2 tbsp. green olives

1 tbsp. cheddar cheese

Carefully fold empty side of egg mixture over filled side. Pressing down slightly with spatula. Cover pan loosely with lid. Allow omelet to cook for 2-3 minutes on low heat to heat filling through.

To serve:

Slide omelet onto a serving plate, garnish with remaining cheeses, olives and green chili’s.

Heat Picante sauce in microwave for 1 minute, pour over omelet. Grate a bit of cheese over top!

Serve with crisp, golden brown grated hashed browns, crunchy buttered toast and a good cup of strong coffee!

This Mexican Kicked-up Omelet is great on any “I’m staying in bed late” Sunday morning!

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Coconut Bread

One day I was looking through my cupboards because I wanted something baked and sweet, but not too sweet. There wasn’t much in there except for some staples (like flour and sugar) and a bag of shredded coconut I had bought a while back, but never used. This is how I came up with coconut bread. The recipe is quite easy and may look plain, but the smell as this bread is baking will have you impatient, I guarantee it!

INGREDIENTS

3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 2/3 cup shredded coconut
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 ounces golden rum
1/2 cup melted and cooled butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8×4 inch loaf pans, or a ten inch tube pan.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt with wire whisk. Stir in the shredded coconut and the sugar. Make a well in the center of this dry mixture. In another bowl combine the last set of ingredients. Pour this mixture into the well of the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Bake in pan(s) for 50 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean. Cool in pan(s) for 10 minutes. Remove and finish cooling on a wire rack.

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Recipes Quiche

I love quiche and it’s so easy to make. You can add almost any vegetable you like to spice it up. This is my favorite recipe and a few variations to try for yourself.

PIE CRUST

Ingredients

2- 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup of shortening (Crisco)

If you’re in a hurry you can always use a pre-made pie crust with good results as well.

BASIC CHEESE

Ingredients

6 eggs (beaten)
1 can cheese soup
1 + 1/2 cups of cheese (your choice)
1/ 2 cup of half and half
Salt and pepper to taste

VARIATIONS

You can add one or all of these variations to your quiche.

1/2 cup of frozen spinach (thawed)
1/2 cup of broccoli florets (diced)
1/2 cup of mushrooms (diced)
1/2 cup of tomatoes (sliced thin or diced)
1/2 cup of onions (diced)
1/2 cup of green peppers (diced)

If you choose to just use one or two ingredients you can increase the amount to 3/4 cup to 1 cup.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients and mix well, pour the mixture in to the unbaked pie shell and bake for 1 hour. Serves 6

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