And we’re back…I apologize for the lack of posts around here lately. I can rattle off a number of excuses (including travel, personal projects, etc.), but I’ll spare you the details and get right into today’s post…!
Today’s recipes were inspired by mainly two things: a cute new kitchen towel and a New Year’s Resolution. The towel was a Christmas gift from my mother and has a recipe for Tortillas de Harina (Flour Tortillas) printed on it. This colorful towel and its simple recipe would be enough to make me want to make batches and batches of yummy homemade tortillas, but making tortillas from scratch also fits nicely into a recently made resolution to reduce waste.
Overall Graham and I do a relatively good job of recycling and composting, but we still throw away a good amount of unrecyclable materials. We recently read an article about a family in California who is on a zero waste journey (you can check out their blog here). In one year, this family produces only enough trash to fill a 1-liter mason jar. While we don’t think we can whittle our waste down to just one mason jar (at least not immediately), we were inspired to try to significantly reduce what we throw away. This resolution means that we will not only have to reuse more materials, but when we make purchases, we will try to buy items with little or no packaging.
So how does this resolution tie into homemade tortillas and soft tacos? Well, reducing our waste is a long-term project, but one of the first things we are starting with is decreasing the packaging that comes with the food we buy. So, for example, instead of buying ready-made tortillas in a non-recyclable plastic bag, I bought several of the ingredients for the tortillas from the bulk bins at our local market and put them into reusable bags and jars to bring home. Hopefully this change will lead to less waste and better food! We’ll keep you updated on our little project…
We have a few more ideas for reducing our waste (including eliminating paper towels—a difficult one for me!), but we would love to hear about any ideas you may have, or things that you’ve done to reduce your waste.
Adapted from the Red and White Kitchen Company Tortilla Towel
To add a little more fiber to the tortillas, I replaced half of the all-purpose flour with spelt flour. Spelt flour may not be traditional, but it sure was tasty in these tortillas.
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 cups of spelt flour
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 6 tablespoon shortening or oil (I used oil)
- 1 to 1¼ cups lukewarm water
In a large bowl, mix the flours and salt. Add the oil or shortening and mix until well-combined. Stir in 1 cup of water and form the dough into a large ball. Add a little bit more water if the dough seems too dry and does not hold together.
Knead the dough a few times on a well-floured surface. Pinch off pieces of the dough and roll them into balls about the size of eggs. Let the balls sit for about 15 minutes.
Place a large skillet or griddle on the stove over medium heat. While the skillet heats up, roll out a ball of the dough with a rolling pin until it is the size of a small salad plate. Place the rolled dough into the hot skillet and cook for two minutes on one side and flip and cook an additional minute on the other side. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Black Bean Soft Tacos
- 1 cup dry black beans
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Salt (1-2 teaspoons)
- Homemade tortillas (see recipe above)
- Shredded cheese
- Lettuce or spinach
- Sour cream
- Salsa or chipotle sauce
Pick through the dried beans and remove any dirt or sticks. Put beans into a large bowl and cover with several inches of water. Soak beans overnight.
Drain beans and put them into a large pot. Cover beans with several inches of fresh water. Bring the beans to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the beans are soft. Cooking time varies depending on the size of the beans, but could take between 30 to 90 minutes. Drain most of the water from beans, reserving a few tablespoons in the pot.
While the beans cook, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic, cumin, and chipotle chili powder. Stir until well combined. Add the cooked black beans and vinegar to the pot. If beans seem a little dry, add a bit of water. Add salt to taste and stir until well combined. Using the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher, mash roughly half of the black beans. Remove from heat.
To assemble tacos, place a few spoonfuls of black beans in the middle of a tortilla. Top with shredded cheese, lettuce, sour cream, and salsa.
Tasty Easy Healthy Green Recipe Ratings:
|Recipe Report Card||Notes About Recipe Ratings|
Four Chefs (Delicious!)
|We could eat the tortillas plain and we loved the smoky flavor of the beans.|
Three Easy Chairs (Average Difficulty)
|The tortillas were actually a lot easier to make than I thought they would be, but the whole meals does take some time.|
Three Apples (Average Nutritional Quality)
|Black beans are low in fat and a good source of protein, and the tortillas are made of half whole-grain flour. Use the shredded cheese and sour cream sparingly, as the calories and fat from these items can quickly add up.|
Four Leaves (Mother Earth Approved)
|Most of the ingredients were organic, and several came from the bulk bins, which helped us reduce our waste from this meal.|