Thursday, May 26, 2016

Oh Tortilla! How I Love Thee!

Chicken Tikka Masala Tortilla
Tortillas came into my life when I moved to California a few decades ago.  Up until then I didn’t even know there were two types—flour and corn—let alone what to do with them.  Today flour tortillas have become a key ingredient in my diet, although not in the way you might think. 

I use flour tortillas as wraps.  I’ll wrap anything, be it scrambled eggs, tuna salad, black beans with cheese and hummus, shredded rotisserie chicken, pulled pork, sardines--even a tossed salad.  Almost all dinner scraps, even spaghetti, work in a tortilla.  I just finished eating a flour tortilla filled with leftover Chicken Tikka Masala and cherry tomatoes, doused with hot sauce. 

The key to making mass-produced flour tortillas taste good is heating them.  At room-temperature or straight from the fridge, they could be cardboard.  No filling can compensate.

Bean and Hummus Tortilla
Heating is easy: put one tortilla at a time in a dry frying pan.  Heat on one side until small light brown or golden spots appear, and then flip it over and heat some more.  But don’t heat it so much that it turns very dark brown and cracks when folded.  When the tortilla is hot, add the filling, fold and serve.

If you want the tortilla to include melted cheese, heat one side as above, flip it over and sprinkle on some grated or thinly sliced cheese. Cover for a few seconds with a lid.  Once the cheese begins melting, add other fillings if desired.

For a quick dessert or sweet snack, substitute a big handful of chocolate chips for the cheese and cover briefly with a lid until the chocolate starts to melt.  Fold and eat.  If you need vitamin C, add some banana and strawberries slices or orange sections before folding.  Who needs a French crepe?

Pre-Gooey Chocolate Tortilla

Gooey Chocolate Tortilla

Gooey Chocolate Tortilla Cut into Wedges

Gooey Chocolate Tortilla
– serves 1   
1 8-inch flour tortilla 
1/4 cup chocolate chips 
Begin heating a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Place the tortilla in the dry pan and heat for about 20 seconds, or until the bottom surface has small light brown or golden spots. Turn the tortilla over with metal spatula and sprinkle the chocolate chips over half the tortilla.  Cover the pan and cook for 10-20 seconds, or until the chips begin to melt.  Turn off the heat, fold the tortilla in half so that the empty half covers the melting chips.  Transfer the tortilla to a plate and serve.  Cut into wedges if preferred.
          For more chocolate recipes, get “Chocolate on the Brain”