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Doing It the Hard Way: Tortillas From Corn From the Garden

I know my tombstone will read: "He did everything the hard way". I'd just add, "But he had a blast doing it!"


This is the story of one batch of tortillas, from seed to taco. Why? Why not!
The corn was from Chiapas and it took awhile to germinate and send up its little soldiers in my Napa plot.


All summer long it did beautifully but there weren't tassels or any sign of corn until almost October. The yield was pitiful, but I got about two or three pounds in the end. My youngest son Nico helped with watering and weeding and couldn't wait to make something good with the starchy corn we were growing.


We dutifully rubbed all the corn out of the cobs (it's miserable work) and later cooked it with cal and let it soak. After 8 hours, we rinsed and rubbed the corn and then later put it through the Nixtamatic, which made quick work of all 2 pounds.


After the grind, we kneaded the masa with wet hands and added maybe a quarter cup of water. Once the dough was fluffy, it was time to get to work.


Nico insists on rolling out the balls for tortillas. I insist he wash his hands first.


Nico prides himself on his tortilla making and he should! He's got a pretty light touch for an 8 year old. The hot comal we're using to heat the tortillas scares him, and this makes me a little happy.



As you can see, we also had beans going in the background. You never know when you'll need beans.


Before long the first tortilla is ready. Has anything ever tasted better? What a great feeling to produce your own tortillas from your own corn. Nico tries not to get carried away but he almost can't believe it himself. The first tiny tortilla shall be eaten plain, maybe with a little salt, we declare.


It really was delicious. As the tortillas started really coming in, Nico made them bigger and we decided to add flavors to our victory discs.


A few beans and some cotija cheese from the microplane grater.


Our stack grows!


Finally, for breakfast this morning, I made tacos with the Ayocote Morado beans, strips of roasted poblanos with mushrooms in a chile sauce.

The verdict? I'll do it again this summer.

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