This is a recipe
I learned from a Mexican mom who came to P.S. 61 to demonstrate
the preparation of homemade corn tortillas. It seemed miraculous
to the children and me that the fine yellow masa four mixed
with just a bit of water would, within a few seconds, be transformed
into yummy tortillas to fill with whatever we chose. The only
tricky part about making tortillas is to be sure to get the
consistency of the dough just right. It will just take practice,
trial and error. Mas harina flour is inexpensive just as wheat
flour. It is available in Latin markets or, since blue corn
masa is increasingly available in health and specialty stores,
you can buy blue corn masa - they make wonderful tortillas.
Masa flour is not the same as cornmeal; cornmeal is not ground
finely enough for tortillas.
cup and two Tablespoons water
cup masa harina
cup olive oil
cans black beans, drained
teaspoon dry epazote or oregano
salt to taste
small bunch cilantro, minced
salt to taste
- Shredded lettuce and grated Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
- Tortilla press or plastic wrap covering a cutting
board and a bottom of a large and heavy pot wrapped in plastic
1. Have children
place masa and the one and one-half water in a mixing bowl.
Mix well, adding 1 tablespoon more water as needed until mixture
forms a dough. Now have the children divide the dough into
8 equal little balls. This offers a great math lesson in fractions.
Start out with the dough in one large ball. Next help kids
to cut it in half, then cut the halves in one half and so
forth until you have 8 equal pieces. Now let the kids roll
each piece into a ball. Press each ball into the tortilla
maker between sheets of plastic (or place ball on covered
board and press down with bottom of covered pot). Cover the
remaining dough to keep moist. Continue this process until
all 8 tortillas are made, lining them up individually on a
cutting board or counter.
a large skillet - cast iron if possible. Gently remove one
tortilla at a time and cook in the ungreased skillet for about
20 seconds on each side - do this three times. Cover finished
tortillas to keep them warm.
In a medium-sized saucepan, place the oil and heat over medium-high
heat. Let the children help you open the cans of beans, with
parents removing the sharp lids. Let kids pour the beans (do
not drain) directly from the can into the pot with oil. Add
seasonings. If you don't have epazote (an herb which is available
dried in Latino groceries) use dried oregano. Cook until soft,
gently mashing the beans with a wooden spoon.
the salsa fresca:
1. Have older children help dice tomatoes and chop the scallions
with supervision. Meanwhile, have little ones pluck the cilantro
leaves from their stems and tear the leaves into tiny pieces,
have kids combine tomatoes, scallions and cilantro in a mixing
bowl and combine thoroughly. Season to taste with kosher salt.
Have each family member spoon some beans inside their tortilla,
top with shredded lettuce, salsa fresca and even some grated
cheese, if they so desire.