The True Tortilla

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With the completion of a circumnavigation of the rectangular Province of Saskatchewan by foot, he had reached the bottom of his Bucket of Lists and thought, Oh, my goodness.  I have no more reasons to live.  But then, he noticed a thin slip of damp paper stuck to the side about half way up.  Using the tip of a cracked fingernail, he peeled the paper off the side of the bucket and read a note he’d made so many years before– a time when his commitment to Southwestern cuisine was at the forefront of his compulsiveness.  “Make Homemade Tortillas,” read the simple ambition. 

Why this?  He figured that store bought tortillas– resembling cardboard cutout Frisbees– couldn’t really be what tortillas were all about.  No.  There had to be more to them than serving the role as a neutral non-entity platform for fillings. 

Now with a reason to live, he forged ahead to perform a task which gave a whole new complex level of meaning to a life desperate for accomplishments.

Homemade Tortillas

(Adapted from allrecipes.com)

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons lard or shortening or even margarine

1 1/2 cups water

Combine the salt and the flour with the baking powder in a bowl.  Mix the lard or shortening or even margarine into the bowl and work it with your fingers until you get an even consistency similar to cornmeal.  Combine with the water and create a dough.  Knead the dough for 10 minutes, adding water if too dry or more flour if too sticky.

Under the cover of a dishcloth, let it sit for 10 minutes.  Divide into equally sized balls.  I made six with this recipe and rolled them out to be as large as possible.  You could make them half the size if that’s your preference.

Fry in a pan with oil until they bubble on the surface then flip.  Keep them warm in the oven while you cook the others.  With the amazing flavour of these tortillas, you can go fully minimalist on the fillings and still have a satisfying gastronomic experience. 

When you’re done, you can make a great big checkmark next to “Make Homemade Tortillas,” on your Bucket List and be assured that your life has a much greater depth of meaning.

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Backhanded Complementary Cake

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Chocolate’s last relationship with an alcoholic beverage had been a disaster.  An unlikely combination upon first blush– hot chocolate and red wine– seemed like it may have been a good idea.  Why not?  Together, they would be a bold, adventurous pairing their friends on both sides felt would work perfectly together.

They weren’t.  The result was a swift and irreconcilable parting.  Hot chocolate and red wine were never meant to cohabit the same cup.  It brought out the worst in both of them.  Their pairing was a proverbial match made in Hell.

And so it was with understandable reluctance when chocolate was introduced to stout.  But, with the support of plenty of butter and chocolate’s wacky friend cream cheese, they gave it a try. 

Only moments into their conjugal relationship, both chocolate and stout knew, and everyone that knew them knew, they were meant for each other.  Heaven hadn’t known a happier coupling, and everyone who met the two together raved about this culinary power-couple. 

The lesson to be learned in love is that not all types of alcohol are incompatible jerks, especially if they’re Irish.

This version was adapted largely from Meghan Splawn’s recipe on thekitchn.com.

Backhanded Complementary Cake

Cake Ingredients

1 cup of butter

1 cup of Crannog Ale’s Backhand of God Stout

3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

2 eggs

1 cup of sour cream

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

2 cups of all purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup of brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda

3/4 teaspoon of salt

The Icing– (Not just The Icing on the Cake, but an essential ingredient)

1/2 cup of butter

4 ounces of cream cheese

2 cups of icing sugar

Pans and Such

1 round spring-form 9” pan or a 9” circular pan with 3” sides

Parchment paper

Electric mixer

Large bowl

Small saucepan

How to Make It

1.  Melt 1 cup butter and 1 cup of stout in a saucepan over medium heat.

2.  Take the pan off the heat and bloom the 3/4 cup cocoa by whisking in and letting stand for 10 minutes.

3.  In a separate bowl, beat the 1 cup sour cream, 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon vanilla with a mixer.

4.  Add the cocoa-stout-butter mixture to the bowl used in step 3.

5.  Add the 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt and whisk until combined.

6.  Pour batter into circular pan with parchment paper.

7.  Bake at 350 F. for 40 to 45 minutes.

8.  Cool the cake for about an hour before icing.

9.  To make the frosting, beat 1/2 cup butter until smooth.

10.  Add the cream cheese and beat for 3 minutes or so until smooth.

11.  Add the icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time until 2 cups are added.  Beat until smooth.

12.  This doesn’t make a ton of frosting.  Just ice the top of the cake, and it’s plenty.

13.  After a slice of this cake, have another, then refrain from driving for at least 12 hours.