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October Unprocessed 2012 – Day Three

Homemade corn tortillas

The first few days of October Unprocessed were a little bumpy. I thought I had everything planned, but I soon found out otherwise.

The very first day of October Unprocessed, I encountered a stumbling block. I had planned on a chicken noodle casserole, but my husband wanted chili. I started pulling out ingredients for dinner and found that the chicken had moved to the freezer. No problem. I like chili, except that he wanted to try the flavor packet for the seasoning. If there are flavor packets without processed ingredients, I haven’t found them. It seems that most of the ingredients in a flavor packet are chemicals.

So, instead of making bread the first night, I made tortillas to go with the chili. Tortillas are made with masa and water and they are so quick and easy to prepare. They go with just about any meal. Just mix two cups of masa with 1 1/4 cups water, plus however much water it takes to get the dough damp enough (which will depend on the humidity of your kitchen). After mixing it with your hands, split the dough into sixteen even pieces and roll them into little balls. Let the dough balls sit covered for about thirty minutes, then flatten and heat in a skillet over medium-high heat for about thirty seconds on the first side and one minute on the second side.

Masa is corn flour, but it’s not just ground up corn. The corn is treated with lime or ash before being ground in a process called nixtamalization. The process has been used for thousands of years across many cultures, but in our industrial age, sometimes companies take shortcuts and the process is no longer something I could do in my kitchen. A quick check of the internet shows that, sure enough, there’s an industrial shortcut involving protease enzymes. The ingredients list on my bag of Maseca says it’s corn treated with lime. I think that means the traditional method. If anyone knows different, please let me know.

On the second day, we had band practice, a short break, then soccer practice. Because of the awkward timing of the two practices, the family basically split up for the late meal. Nights like those are when the leftovers get cleared out of the fridge.

And here I am on the third day. Tonight, I’ll make the chicken noodle casserole I was going to make on Monday. I haven’t decided if I’ll make biscuits or quick yeast rolls to go with the casserole.

How is your October Unprocessed going? Let me know in the comments, or stop by the Important Media Hangout on Air tomorrow at 4 p.m. Eastern.

Homemade corn tortillas photo via Shutterstock

3 comments
  1. Becky Striepe

    It’s kind of comforting to hear that I’m not the only one who’s hit a stumbling block. Today my sister told me that Sriracha was processed! I’ve been putting it on basically everything all week, but I’ll switch to my homemade hot sauce instead.

    We also have an open jug of soy milk in the fridge that I don’t want to waste but is definitely processed. When it’s gone, I’ll stick to the almond milk I make myself.

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