I am a firm believer that you do not need to use 100 different ingredients from fabulous faraway lands to impress your friends. You just need to create tried and true flavor combinations with a few simple homemade twists.
My best example of a meal that makes my friends squeal with joy is when I make tacos with homemade tortillas. There are few entrees that are more universally accepted than the humble taco. Even your friends with, shall we say, more selective pallets will gobble up the assortments of freshly made fillings wrapped in tender disks of flour and shortening.
For years, I have always considered homemade tortillas to be a difficult task that could only be successfully executed by those that had tortilla making genes handed down through the branches of their family tree. I am here to say no magic wand or interruptive dancing is needed for this recipe. Just a little patience and a tad bit of finesse.
To make the process even easier, I use a food processor and a two burner flattop grill for the tortillas. The fresh Pico was inspired by the wide selection of hand picked produce at my local Farmer’s Market. The jalapenos were rich with intense flavor and the tomatoes plucked from the vines at there peak of freshness.
- 3 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 6 Tbl. butter flavored vegetable shortening, room temperature
- Approximately 1 ¼ cup very warm water
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and deveined
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Zest of one lime
- Juice of half a lime
- Pinch of salt
- Pour the flour, baking powder and salt into the food processor bowl. Pulse lightly until well combined. Next, cut the buttered flavored shortening into small chunks and add it to the flour mixture. Pulse until the shortening forms the consistency of small peas in the flour.
- While the food processor is running, slowly pour the warm water into the feed tube of the food processor. Be careful not to overwater the mixture. The dough is ready to knead when it forms a ball in the food processor bowl.
- Place the dough onto a lightly floured cutting board and knead the dough for about three to four turns. Add more flour if the dough is still sticky. The final consistency should be smooth and not sticky. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for approximately 30 minutes. If you are time crunched, you can reduce the time to a minimum of 15 minutes.
- Once the dough has rested, cut the large ball into 12 – 16 small dough balls. Preheat a flat non-stick skillet to a medium high temperature. The skillet should be dry with no oil or butter. Lightly flour your board and roll each tiny dough ball to your desired circumference. I recommend 6 to 8 inches in diameter.
- Lay the flattened tortilla in the preheated skillet and cook for a short 30 seconds on each side. The tortilla should have light brown spots, but not be tough to the touch. Now they are ready to fill and enjoy. I strongly encourage you to serve these tortillas warm. Makes between 12 – 16 tortillas.
- Toss all the ingredients in a medium bowl and chill for about 1 hour to allow all the flavors to combine before serving. This goes great with homemade flour tortillas or as a dip with chips. Makes about 2 cups of Pico.