Friday, January 23, 2009

Of Old Dogs and New Tricks

Yes, two days in a row - will you be able to stand it?!

I didn't get a toaster when I got married. I didn't get a waffle iron either. Two things that, while I hadn't counted heavily upon receiving - would have been well received. I like toast. I like waffles. I mean, I really like waffles. We did receive a few items that warranted returning as they were duplicates or not needed. We returned items and exchanged them for a set of Visions cookware (cranberry - which was my favorite at the time), a set of sheets (since we had none) and a waffle iron. The waffle iron was, unquestionably, very important. Maybe even more so than the sheets. Just ask my best friend growing up. Every time I spent the night, my friend Linds made me waffles the next morning for breakfast. She just made really good waffles, or I was a little obsessed. So, naturally, when setting up my own kitchen, waffle iron = mandatory piece of equipment.

Now, as newlyweds we were quite adept at turning shopping excursions for waffle irons or other mundane household items into cheap dates. College students, newlyweds = no money. (and you all thought I was bad at equations!) I remember spending quite a while in the small kitchen appliance aisle at the Shopko in Orem, trying to make this all important decision. Finally we settled on the big whack mack daddy of all wafflers. Square, cast iron, with reversible plates (italics = pay attention, this is important people), nifty "done" light and 4 temperature options. We pressed it into service. The waffle iron performed diligently for many years. Sheets have long since gone by the wayside. I broke every single piece of that Visions cookware by the time we had our second child - all that remained was a small lid. Shortly after moving to where we live now, I bought a Belgium waffle iron. I really kind of wanted a round one - but they didn't have those, so I had to stick with the rectangular variety. Now, for you waffle connoisseurs, Belgium waffle irons have deep, deep pockets. We use these deep pockets for catching ooey, gooey butter and syrup or juicy, sweet fruit with oodles of whipped cream on top. Old Faithful got stuck in the cabinet, forgotten, shoved under the only twice used wok (that, interestingly enough, we did receive as a wedding gift) and next to the old, too small, crockpot. Collecting dust, never to be plugged in again - that is, until tonight. In a small twist of fate, our little discount grocery was out of flour tortillas. Not feeling brave enough to face the hordes at Wal.Mart on a Friday evening right before dinner time - I just headed home, no tortillas in hand for dinner, and decided to try making them myself. Now, I have tried this in the past with a bought tortilla mix. It was not a very successful endeavor. I could not get my rolled dough to stay flat; it would shrink up in the skillet and become too small, fat, kind of bland and non-malleable. I did a little internet perusal and gleaned a few ideas for trying this venture again and gave the tortilla mix another go. This left me still however, with the non-flat, shrinking tortilla dilemma. Now, I know they make tortilla makers for this. However, me be rather practical and really not being able to justify spending money on an appliance that specifically only makes something that is actually fairly cheap to buy, and something that I am not certain I would make all that often - I do not own a tortilla maker, nor do I think I want one. Ever. Then it occurred to me - I had a waffle iron with cast iron reversible plates. Plates that reversed from waffle to completely flat and made a double sided griddle whose sides pressed together flat. Yeee-haaaaaaw! Go on, say it - sheer genius!

I added oil and onion salt to the tortilla mix and also instead of warm water - scalded milk. While the dough "rested" (sad when dough gets more rest than I do around here) I dug out my Old Faithful waffle iron and reversed the plates. The iron needed a little spit and polish - but was quite serviceable and efficient. Rolled out my dough and voila!

See here, I have made tortillas . . . in a waffle iron!

Matt said they were tasty and he liked them. Which is saying something, because usually he only has one word for whatever I make for dinner: "okay". "Okay" for Matt may mean he loved it, and it was the best thing he has ever tasted and wants to eat it every night for the rest of his life or, it was a real stinkeroo and "if you ever make it again there is not going to be enough salsa in the world to get me to choke it down" and all points in between those two extremes. The tortillas he liked, what we stuck in them - not so much. We had fish tacos for dinner. The kids like them.

So, I have proven that you can use an old waffler for new tortillas.

Next time though, I think I will skip the mix and just make them completely from scratch and see how that turns out.

Or not.

Next up: Making laundry soap in your food processor (just kidding! Though maybe . . . . . .)

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