I started the year spending five glorious days in Mexico at Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort for Food Blogger Camp 2011. I know feel sorry for me really! It was hard work – really hard work – honestly. It didn’t help that I was finishing putting together a BLAD (Basic/Book Layout And Design) for my book, MADE IN AMERICA – more about that another time but lots of exciting news to share in the future. Every second I wasn’t in a lecture or tutorial, a photography workshop or a hands on cooking demo, I was to be found in my luxury suite tapping away at my computer – with fishes ocassionally jumping out of the lithium pool outside the door and monkeys scrapping in the jungle.
The camp [- and yes I went to camp – and no I am not going to change my moritorium on camping – I even asked them to change the name in my application because as you know I DON’T CAMP but it obviously went on deaf ears] was lead by Jaden Hair (Steamy Kitchen), Elise Bauer (Simply Recipes), Diane Cu and Todd Porter (White on Rice Couple), David Lebovitz (David Lebovitz), Matt Armenderiz (MattBites) and Adam C Pearson (AdamCPearson) food stylist to the stars. What an amazing group of mentors and educators – not to mention lovely friends found amongst my fellow campers – too numerous to mention everyone but thanks for all you shared.
One of the culinary highlights of the trip was the amazing Mexican food – not to mention the tequilla…
Tortillas are so front and center in Mexican cuisine – without them there would be no tacos, buritos, enchiladas or quesadillas. It is so satisfying to not only make the fillings – guacamole, salsa, cheese and/or spicy meat – but to also whip up a stack of soft warm fresh tortillas.
Once you have learned how to make these delicious light tortillas you will never buy dried out store bought again… it’s so easy. Take mesa harina (the corn flour – we used Maseca which is available everywhere, even Target!), warm water and a little salt and within minutes you will have fresh warm tortillas to add to your Mexican fiesta. Here we are making tortillas a mano – handmade tortillas using a press bought at a Mexican market by Maria our Mexican friend who taught us and showed us how effortless this really is (for $26 you can buy a large bag of Mesca flour and a similar tortilla press at the Mex Grocer or you can use a flat bottomed plate to flatten the dough balls). I enjoy the writing and humor at Ask A Mexican, so when it came to making tortilla’s I asked a Mexican – our dear friend Maria – to help us. We all had lots of fun and do this again and again. Thank you Maria.
2 cups Mesa Harina
1 1/2-2 cups hot water
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1. In a large bowl mix mix 2 cups of the mesa harina with 1 1/2 – 2 cups of hot water and half a teaspoon of salt to form a soft dough. Just like with bread dough, knead with the palms of your hands and balance the water/flour ratio so that it’s neither too dry or too sticky. Knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are completely combined.
2. Make 15 small balls of dough.
3. Using the press (or plate) and two pieces of plastic squash the balls into rounds and peel off from the plastic.
4. Place on heated non-stick pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes each side.
For a Taco Party at friends we added an extra flourish by embedding a small leaf of cilantro in the middle of each tortilla.