Tag Archives: Tacos

Homemade Whole-Wheat Tortillas and Other Good Things

I didn’t intend on making homemade tortillas tonight but I did…and here’s a quick story why. Last night I made my son and I tacos for dinner (using store-bought tortillas). I filled them with homemade carnitas de pollo (click here for the recipe and pics), salsa pico de gallo (recipe below), lettuce, and cheese. They were delicious, to say the least. Anyhow, I knew I was going to be home alone tonight and that there were leftover pollo and salsa…all I needed was a few tortillas (we ate the last of them last night). I was going to the health club for a steam and swim and figured I’d pick up the tortillas on the way home. I was/am tight on cash and had just a few dollars with me; enough to purchase the tortillas. Lap swimming often makes me hungry, and all I was thinking about was these tacos when I came home (they were that delicious last night). So on my way home I stopped at a local grocer…no tortillas, he told me. Sorry, all out. Not even the white flour variety. So I went to another store, this time a chain store…the same issue. Huh? After unlocking my bike for the third time, I stood on it for a moment contemplating as to whether I should go to the supermarket (I really dislike large supermarkets). To make a long story short, as I stood there straddling my bike, I thought to myself a few things. One was that I had the few meager ingredients home to make tortillas; the second was that I knew they were easy to make because I’ve made them in the past; and three was that being a professional cook I could make these in just a few minutes. So that’s just what I did…and they were so good I wondered I was going to purchase them in the first place. Recipes are below.

Whole Wheat Tortillas
Makes 12 tortillas
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups warm water
Mix the flour, baking powder, and salttogether in a small bowl. Add the oil, and using your fingers, rubthe ingredients together until it resembles course cornmeal. Add thewater; stir to form a dough. Knead the dough by hand for a fewminutes, then allow it to rest for ten minutes. Cut the dough into 12pieces. Using a small rolling pin or wooden dowel, roll the tortillasout very thin on a lightly floured surface. Heat a large skillet andcook the tortillas one at a time on both sides until lightlyblistered and browned.
 (For a recipe for the Carnitas de Pollo pictured above, click here.)
SalsaPico de Gallo
Makesabout 2 cups
2ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
½medium onion, diced
2cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
2tablespoons olive oil
1tablespoon lime juice
½teaspoon sea salt
afew leaves cilantro
Mixall ingredients together. Use straight away or refrigerate for up to3 days.

Tacos con Carnitas de Pollo…and a few comments on Ezekiel Bread

Pictured above is one of the tacos I made for my son and I for dinner tonight, before it was rolled up of course. Buried under the vegetables and sour cream are the carnitas…delicious. But more on that in a minute. First I have a couple unrelated comments.

Between urbansimplicity.com and urbansimplicty.wordpress.com there are nearly 100 followers (both blogs have the same content; while urbansimplicity.com is my main blog I mirror it’s content at urbansimplicty.wordpress.com). It’s a small amount but I am thankful for those that do read, comment, and email…it makes me remember that I’m not just clicking away aimlessly into the blogesphere. But what is interesting, I think, is how the majority people–first time visitors, I suppose–find there way here. According to stats there are anywhere from 300-to-400 visitors a day. Some blogs get this many visits in an hour (or less) but for me–and my idiosyncratic little blog–this is totally adequate. Anyhow, more than 90% of first-time visitors find there way here by Googling the phrase, Ezekiel Bread Recipe; this site is the second to come up. Go figure.

Anyhow, for the first time visitor…I hope you click around a bit and find other things interesting, and maybe even stop back. But to simplify your search, here’s a couple links within this blog. For an Ezekiel Bread Recipe that contains a portion of white flour (one of my earlier recipes), click here. For a recipe that contains all whole wheat flour–and my thoughts and philosophy behind this recipe–click here. And for a revised Whole Wheat Ezekiel Bread recipe, click here.

My apologies to regular visitors who are getting tired of me carrying on about this bread (it is my favorite…but you know that)…on to the carnitas.

This is really a play on the classic recipe for Mexican carnitas, which is traditionally made with pork. This would be more of a carnitas de pollo, or chicken carnitas. The word, carnitas, incidentally translates as “little meats,” making reference to the little pieces of the resulting dish.

Traditional carnitas–made with pork–requires hours of long and slow braising, but making it with chicken is relatively quick and simple. I use boneless legs because they have enough fat on them, whereas the breast would be too lean and dry. The premise of the recipe is this:

Simmer the chicken in water (with a splash of olive oil and salt) until the water evaporates and the chicken begins to fry in it’s (and the olive oil’s) fat. Add onion and garlic to the pan and cook it until the chicken begins to brown and the onions are translucent. Then, if you like, you can add herbs and/or spices (I added chili powder, cumin, and oregano). Add more water to the pan and scrape anything loose that has stuck to the bottom…this is pure flavor.

Simmer the chicken until the water evaporates again, only this time–as the water simmers and evaporates–break or pull the chicken apart. This should be easy enough to do with a spoon and fork. When the water is evaporated you’ll here the chicken begin to sizzle (remember that you cook with all five senses). Taste the chicken to see if it is seasoned to your liking, and allow it to crisp up a bit by cooking in the fat again. Tip the pan to allow the fat to run to the other side before removing the chicken. This is a quick and easy recipe to do, and one that is so delicious it makes my mouth water just typing these words…and your guests will think you ordered dinner from a fine Mexican restaurant. Anyhow, here it is in pictures.

Urban Simplicity.

Easy (and Delicious) Homemade Carnitas

Carnitas are a type of slow cooked meat, which is usually made with pork but can also be made with beef. It can be cooked either by roasting it slowly and pulling the meat (like you would with a BBQ), or by simmering it and shredding the meat as the liquid evaporates. I chose the latter method; I find it less trouble. Which ever way it’s cooked, carnita meat is delicious, tender and succulent. Here’s how I made it in pictures:

Put a couple boneless pork chops in a small pot along with onion, garlic, chilies, a little salt, peppercorns, and spices (chili powder, cumin, oregano, and a pinch of cinnamon). Then cover everything with cold water.

When it comes to a simmer there will be a lot of foam, this is natural. Simply skim it off with either a ladle or spoon.

Slowly simmer the meat for about an hour. After a while the meat will begin to fall apart. Further assist this by mashing it with a wooden spoon.

When all of the liquid evaporates it will begin to sizzle and fry in it’s own fat (if the meat was too lean you may need to add a little olive oil). Stir and cook the meat until it browns a little; this will offer layers of both flavor and texture.

Now here’s the best part (well, not really, because the best part was eating it). Heat a whole grain tortilla and melt cheese on it, and the rest is up to you. I stuffed it with the meat (of course), but also avocado, salsa, onion, and mesclun lettuce. Then, after rolling it, it was topped with sour cream, a little more salsa, and a drizzle of hot sauce…the final photo is enough to make my mouth water.