Corn Tortillas


I like a lot of different foods but few things compare to a tortilla fresh off of the comal (skillet). A taco con sal is always a treat. Not all tortilla's are created equal though. I would lump them into three categories.

There are the typical commercial store bought ones that regretfully too many people have tried and not liked, myself included. Based on this first experience I missed out on many years of enjoyment because I have always steered clear of corn tortillas. The commercial tortillas are mummified with preservatives and overdried to ensure maximum shelf life. They taste really similar to cardboard that had a little corn smeared on it a couple of days ago.

At the other extreme are tortillas made from scratch by a pro. These are truly phenomenal. They really are two distinctly separate products. These tend to be hard to come by here simply because the process is a complicated one. If you ever get a chance to try one do so at your own risk because you will never look at corn tortillas the same again (and may lose your appetite for the lesser tortillas).

Finally, there are the tortillas that are made fresh at home from masa. These do not compare to the ones that are made from scratch but they are still a significant improvement over the commercial tortillas. The process is simple and you can have fresh hot tortillas in no time. The recipe below goes over the basics of preparing fresh tortillas from masa.

Tortilla Press
Comal (skillet)
1 Qt Ziploc Bag

Maseca (or other) brand masa

Pour a suitable quantity of masa into a bowl add water until you have mixed up a tight dough ball with a consistency similar to PlayDoh. Add a pinch of salt. A little practice will make this fairly easy to determine. If it is too dry it is hard to press thin enough. If it is too wet it will get too thin and tend to stick to the plastic and pan more. It will also cause steam bubbles on the tortillas if it is not mixed thoroughly.

Cut the sealable end off of a Ziploc bag and then cut out the sides so you are left with two separate square pieces of plastic that cover the entire surface of your tortilla press. You can then ball up a piece of your mixed masa so that it has about a 1" circumference. You can adjust this as needed. Place 1 piece of plastic on the bottom of the tortilla press. Add your ball and smoosh it slicely so that the top piece of plastic can be draped over it easily. Then press the dough until it is the size of the press.

Remove the tortilla from the plastic and then place on your comal (or flat skillet) at roughly medium heat. Cook the tortilla for 3-4 minutes on each side or until it has very lightly browned in places and most of the moisture is gone from the tortilla.

Place the cooked tortilla in something that will help it retain its heat. I typically add a paper towel to pick up any moisture from the tortillas sweating. Serve as soon as the last tortilla is cooked. They are best warm and decline in quality quickly.

Chiles Rellenos

Chiles Rellenos
Serves 2


(4) Poblano Peppers
Mozzarella (Whole Milk)
(1) Egg

(1) Medium-Large Red Tomato
Powder Onion
Powder Chicken Bouillon

Preparation (Entrée):

Wash peppers and sear in a dry pan over Medium-Low to Medium heat until skin is blistered (not burnt) and pepper has softened just a little. Rotate peppers to ensure all sides are seared.

Take off heat, place in Ziploc bag, and wrap in a kitchen towel for 30 minutes to allow the peppers to sweat. This makes removing the skin much easier.

Remove the outer skin and then slit the pepper to remove the seeds and veins. Doing this under cold water from the faucet can make them easier to handle.

Stuff with Mozzarella cheese or Queso Fresco if you can find it and close the pepper back up. Don’t get carried away with the cheese or it will leak everywhere.

Separate egg yolk from egg white. Whip egg white until it is thickened like a meringue. Pop the yolk and then fold it in with the egg white loosely.

Coat pepper in the egg white mixture and then drop into a pan over Medium heat with a thin layer of oil. The egg mixture browns pretty quickly.

Serve with sauce and rice when nice and brown.

Preparation (Sauce):

Wash and halve tomato. Boil until tender.
Drop tomato in blender. Add onion powder, garlic powder, and chicken bouillon to taste.
Pour blended sauce back into a pan and simmer for 10 minutes or so to allow it to reduce a little more.Pour over chiles rellenos.