Sunday, November 2, 2008

You Can't Take Texas Out of the Girl!

I am approaching my third anniversary of living in Florida. I have come to love living here. I love the fact that I a two minute walk to the bay and about an hour from the "nice beach." Mickey is also about an hour away. The weather is great (well maybe not the summers) and people like to visit Florida which means people are always visiting me (or at least talking about it). Florida has become home.

You can take the girl out of Texas, but you just can't take Texas out of the girl!

I love Mexican food. Tampa lacks Mexican restaurants. I know two have actually shut down in the last year or so. Now, you can get some great Cuban food, but it just isn't the same. I have had to resort to cooking my own.

Tonight I tried two new Mexican dishes...both that are considered staples: homemade refried beans and homemade tortillas. Okay, so the tortillas were just something to try my hand at.

Refried Beans

2 cups of dried pinto beans
Lots of water
Seasonings: Seasoned salt, cumin, garlic powder or fresh minced, cayenne pepper, onion powder
I was suppose to add some butter, but I forgot

I also forgot to take pictures until about halfway through. :)

Rinse the pintos well. Place in a crock pot and fill with water. Cook on high for 8 to 10 hours. I only cooked mine about 8. About halfway through the cooking process I gave it a little taste. They smelled good, but were very bland tasting. I went ahead and gave a quick shake of all the different seasonings into the crock pot. I gave it a quick stir and put the lid back on and let it cook about 4 more hours.

Remove all the beans with a slotted spoon and placed them in a bowl. Don't discard the liquid in the crock pot just yet.

With a potato masher, give the beans a good mash. Then season to taste. I did throw in fresh minced garlic at this point, but did not add any onion powder.

Mainly because I had some fresh green onions and cilantro to garnish with at the very end.

Once I got it seasoned the way I liked, I added the liquid from the crock-pot until the beans were the consistency that I wanted. Discard the remainder of the liquid and place the beans back in the crock pot on low.

Meanwhile, I cooked some fajita seasoned chicken and prepared my tortillas.

Flour Tortillas

2 cups flour
4 tbs butter (note it should be softened a little)
1 tsp salt
1/2 c water

Combine the ingredients, adding the water slowly until you get a slightly stickier version of bread dough. Knead, knead, knead...well about 30 times or so...until it looks like this.

Cover with a wet towel and let sit for 30 minutes.

This is actually when I mashed my beans and seasoned them. I also cooked my chicken and cleaned up the kitchen.

Divide the dough into approximately 8 balls, keeping the dough covered while you roll out the dough on a floored surface.

Place the rolled out tortillas into a skillet that has been heated to medium high. Turn when puffs begin to form on the top side. This means the underside is brown. Place in an airtight container to keep warm.

Now, I made one mistake...I didn't get my skillet hot enough to begin with. This is my first tortilla.

In case you are wondering tortillas aren't supposed to stay parallel to the ground when you hold it! :)

Once everything was finished this is what I had accomplished.

Note: The fresh green onion and cilantro "made" the beans. Of course the cheese didn't hurt. :)


Kayce said...

I miss Mexican food too! You are so right, you can take the girl out of Texas but you can't take Texas out of the girl!!

dreamlady said...

oh, Taco Bell, how easy you are! making your own tacos? i have never! that is why i have tacos (store bought), to make it easy on myself. and where is the shredded lettuce, salsa & sour cream? i guess that is not true mexican cooking, but it sure adds a lot of flavor. anyway, i will save your recipes, in case i want to challenge myself in a cooking spree sometime. or no, i will just invite you over to demonstrate for me, and get the best of your talents. besides, i don't own a crock pot!

mjm said...

Kayce- (sigh) It's a truth that I no longer can matter how many other places I live.

Dreamlady- Taco Bell? I honestly don't even remember the last time I ate there! The salsa and sour cream were in the fridge and are completely welcome any time I cook Mexican. I just wasn't in the mood last night. As for lettuce, I'm not a huge fan in my Mexican food plus there isn't any in my fridge. I love to cook for other people, but rarely get to these days, so you just let me know when.

michellem said...

Ahhh...yummy Mexican food. We had fajitas the other night, but I wasn't as good as you. I just bought the yummy homemade HEB tortillas! :)

mjm said...

michelle- If I had an HEB I would buy them too!