March 16, 2016
This is kind of a milestone for me because I have not taken the time to try out any new recipes in a long time. I was intrigued by the idea of poultry-free "Chick'n" and finally took the plunge and made some for this BBQ Ranch Chick'n Salad!
It is extra-firm tofu that has been frozen and then thawed and then squeezed of most of the water leaving a damp sponge-like texture that is ready to soak up any flavored liquid added to it.
In this case, I made ProtectiveDiet Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce in advance to coat the broken up pieces of the spongey tofu - then I put it in a pre-heated oven on a cookie sheet for about 20 minutes.
For this salad, the recipe calls for Salad Chips. These are just corn tortillas cut up and baked in the oven. But I didn't have any corn tortillas! What I did have was Masa Flour - so I made homemade corn tortillas using my tortilla press - so much easier than I had imagined - and cooked in a cast iron skillet. Once I'd made 6 tortillas, I cut them as I would have store bought tortillas and spread them on a cookie sheet and baked till crisp.
This recipe also called for Creamy Ranch Dressing, which I already had in my refrigerator! YEAH!
I had a head of new Romaine Lettuce - so now I was able to assemble the whole salad, and it was REALLY GOOD!
Joe, my 8 year old Maltese doggy, came a-beggin' and I gave him a little of the chick'n and he kept begging for more - so it passed the canine carnivore test!
I guess I'll throw in another picture and brief description of today's lunch. Julie Marie Christensen has a great recipe for spicy No Fat Not Yo Cheeze Sauce that is based from pumpkin puree and nutritional yeast that I like to keep a bottle of in my refrigerator at all times. But it is pretty spicy. So she came up with a new milder cheeze sauce that I wanted to try - with a base of cooked potatoes with nutritional yeast. I happened to have a couple of boiled potatoes in my fridge so I decided to try it today. It turned out smashing! I poured most of it in a squeeze bottle and what was left in the blender I poured over whole grain spiral pasta and topped with cooked frozen petite peas.
Here you see my mac n cheese with my stemware glass of carbonated rose water. I make my own fizzy water with my SodaStream and I went half fizzy water and half rose petals steeped for a couple days in filtered water, with a little stevia for sweetening, and ice.
I usually make hibiscus flower water - I get a big bag of dried hibiscus flowers at Rancho Market for under $3 - I put a half cup of the dried flowers in a big jar of filtered water to steep overnight and then combine equal parts fizzy water and flower water with some stevia. The hibiscus flowers are very tangy so it is a delicious dark red drink that is packed with healthy properties!
In the Mexican store they call it Jamaica - thats the name of the drink they make with the flowers - but Jamaica is super sweet with tons of sugar - I make a version I love without the sugar. A squeeze of lime is good with it too.
But this rose water in the picture is paler, milder and also very tasty.
I used a recipe the first time, but after that I stopped using a recipe or measuring anything.
I am guessing, therefore, on these amounts
Mix these dry ingredients in a bowl:
1 cup of corn Masa flour
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp Pink Sea Salt
Then slowly add these wet ingredients as you are mixing with the other hand
2/3 cup warm water
Dash of hot red chile sauce
The dough should pick up all the flour without feeling sticky or dry. It is like a very soft playdough. The recipe I first tried was way too soft so when I pressed it in my tortilla press, it totally stuck to the plastic wrap I used and I couldn't get a decent tortilla out of it. You want it as soft as you can make it without it being too sticky.
Form into 5-6 balls
Heat up cast iron skillet at medium high
Open press and place a long piece of plastic wrap on inside surfaces of press - one piece can cover both the top and the bottom.
Place one dough ball a little off-center closer to the hinge.
Close the lid and then use the handle to press down. Experiment till you get the right amount of pressure to achieve the desired thickness. I like mine thin.
Open the press and peel one side of the plastic wrap away and put your open hand on that side and peel the other side off, then transfer the tortilla to the skillet.
The time it takes for you to straighten out the plastic wrap and put another ball of dough on the press and press it is how long you need to cook the first side of the tortilla in the skillet - so it is now ready to turn over - turn it over.
Open the press and peel back one side of the plastic wrap on the next tortilla
Open your tortilla warmer, and with a spatula remove the cooked tortilla from the skillet and place in the warmer and put on the lid to keep it warm.
Now remove the other side of the plastic wrap on the next tortilla and place it in the hot skillet.
Keep this rhythm up till you have cooked all your dough balls!
These are so delicious - way better than store bought, and I think with the few extra ingredients I add, they are super tasty as is - without any filling - warm, soft and so good!
If the dough sticks to your hand, or the plastic wrap or the pan, your dough is probably too soft so adjust the amount of water you put in.
You can fill your warm tortillas with whatever you want, or cut them into strips and bake till crispy to put on tortilla soup, or cut into wedges or squares to make into tortilla chips.
when I am making chips, I like to brush on a mixture of lemon juice and hot sauce before cutting, then sprinkle with sea salt before baking on a silicone mat lined cookie sheet at 400F for about 20 minutes.