January is a tough month to be a Penny twin. Admittedly, it’s probably a hard month for everyone. But when you are raised like a Labrador retriever where your “keeper” opens the back door in the morning and lets you come and go as you please and carry things in your mouth and consume meals from bowls on the floor, when the winter rolls in – things get rough. And lately it hasn’t even been that brisk and wintery so we can’t enjoy sleds, boots, coats, gloves (pronounced glo-bes) and excessive snowmen-making. Its been drizzly, cool, raw and just kind of ugly.
Its like dementors are breeding.
What better way to try and beat this spirit than by baking bread, right?
So I picked up a copy of Breads and tried to find the right recipe for us to enjoy. Something which sounded sunny. Warm. Hands-on. Circular.
We went for fajitas.
And because I like to dress up and play homesteader, we had a fresh supply of freshly milled wheat flour to work with (I am totally obsessed with my KitchenAid attachments. You have no idea.)
Admittedly, I’ve never made fajitas before – so I thought I could get my 21st century normal children Henry and Sophia situated with something stimulating (a movie on the computer) and have a try at the dough. By myself. And then let them help with it the second time around.
Two fatal flaws in this scenario:
First, I assumed I had normal children who would take watching Thomas the Train on Amazon over cooking in the kitchen with mom while she played with flour and tut-tutted about not having ample counter space.
Second, I’m not sure if there will ever be a second time around. This magazine is 146 pages of pure bread awesomeness, and I might run out of leavening agent before the recipe cycles around again.
By way of tangent, can I tell you how great it is when your son thinks that the “port” on the front of the stand mixer (used for attaching various mixer attachments) is a “P.T.O.” (for those new to the tractor and large truck world – that is a Power Take Off.) It creates a whole new context for baking in the kitchen, really.
So my incredible little offspring made short work of kneading, making balls and rolling them out. I got placed on skillet duty.
Have you ever eaten a homemade flour tortilla? I think I'm going to take orders. They are pretty incredible. Their delicate flaky-ness kind of reminds me of porcelain. And stuffed with veggies and cumin? To die for.
2 cups flour (we used wheat, but I guess all-purpose would be fine too – I’ll let you know if I ever get around to attempt #2)
1 tsp salt (not kosher, we used table)
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup warm water (plus 2 tablespoons)
Combine ingredients in a bowl
On a heavily floured surface, turn dough over
Knead by hand for 3-4 minutes
Divide dough into 8-9 balls (we were supposed to have 8, but I ended up with 9 because when we count, the kids skip 5 – long story – but I thought I was overcompensating and I think they actually said 5)
Let them hang out covered for a bit (we did 20 minutes)
Roll out as thin as you dare
On a heated and well-oiled skillet put a tortilla in the pan
Cook for 1 minute
Cook the other side for one minute
Put on a plate (the magazine said a clean dishtowel, but those are hard to come by mid-week, so we used a dish instead)
Fight off husband with spatula to avoid eating all the fajitas before rest of dinner is ready; encourage children to do the same
Eat what’s left
Word got around at work that I had this incredible tortilla experience – and when I went in, discovered a bag, pre-measured of fresh ground blue corn flour from my boss on my chair. (I work in the type of place where we share things - and measure them. You have to look before you sit. Important advice, if you ask me.)
So I guess, like it or not, I’ll have to make them again. Not that I think Henry and Sophia will mind.
PS - the recipe said they could be amoeba shaped - so don't make fun of their non-circular-ness. We just followed the directions...