Being sick for the first two weeks of the year gives you plenty of time to think about how you’d like the next 50 weeks to go.
My Sudafed-fueled brain kept focusing on all of the ones in this year. Four dates with all ones. That has to mean something, right? Shouldn’t it mean something? And then I’d take a nip of Nyquil and watch another episode of “The Fabulous Beekman Boys.”
Anyway, all of those ones got me thinking that 2011 would be a great year for “firsts” – for making as many new things as possible – starting with the flour tortillas I used for these Cucumber and Alfalfa Tortillas with Guacamole.
Have you made flour tortillas before?
The process is a cross between making pie dough and pancakes.
First, you mix the ingredients in your food processor, divide the dough into balls, and flatten and roll them into 9-inch circles – just like you would if you were making mini-pies. Then, you cook the tortillas in a cast-iron skillet, flipping them halfway through their cooking time – just like you would if you were making pancakes.
I didn’t have much hope when I put my first wannabe tortilla in the skillet. It was raw and thin and had no personality whatsoever. But after a few seconds, it started to bubble and blister and OMG, IT LOOKED LIKE A TORTILLA!
It also tasted like a tortilla. Victory!
However, even a stack of homemade tortillas is pretty meaningless without a good topping or filling. This recipe calls for each tortilla to be spread with a heaping spoonful (or two) of guacamole and filled with a chop-and-toss combination of alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, red onion and cilantro. So, you’ve got the slightly crusty homemade tortilla, the creamy avocado and then all of this crazy texture from the cucumber and sprouts. I like to roll mine up, but you could fold them in half for soft tacos.
Now that I’m thinking about all of the things I want to make for the first time, I’m really excited about the new year. Besides, I’m all caught up on “The Fabulous Beekman Boys.” Time to get 2011 started.
Cucumber and Alfalfa Tortillas with Guacamole
Adapted from Linda Fraser’s “The Vegetarian Kitchen”
- 6 ounces alfalfa sprouts
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
- 3 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 fresh red chili, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
- 1 large avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Pinch of salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
- 2 cups (8 ounces) all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup (4-5 fluid ounces) warm water
- For the Filling: In a medium bowl, combine the sprouts, cucumber, red onion, cilantro and red chili (if using). Toss to combine, and set aside.
- For the Guacamole: Spoon the avocado into a small bowl, and mash it with a fork. Stir in the lime juice and salt. Fold in the garlic and tomato. Taste and adjust. Place in a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside.
- To Make the Tortillas: Place the flour and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the olive oil, and blend.
- Gradually add the water to the flour mixture just until a stiff dough is formed. (The amount of water you need will vary.)
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface, and knead until smooth. Cover the dough with a damp cloth.
- Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Knead each piece for a few minutes, and form into balls. On a surface dusted with flour, flatten and roll out each ball into a 9-inch circle.
- Heat an ungreased heavy-based pan, like a cast-iron skillet. Cook 1 tortilla at a time, about 30 seconds on each side. Place the cooked tortillas on a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
- To Serve: Spread each tortilla with a heaping spoonful of guacamole, top with filling, and roll up.