|Chef Paco Cardenas at|
the San Miguel market
I watched with delight as he tranformed items just purchased from the local market into savory nibbles. While matching the market's aromatic abundace would be difficult at home, Paco encouragingly told us the recipes all would be reasonably easy to recreate.
I have tried a few of his recipes since we returned home; in fact, I've made his delicious (and shockingly simple) salsa verde several times, including this weekend. The thing I most wanted to try, but kept putting off, was homemade tortillas.
The tortillas he made for class were nothing short of a revelation. Light and toasty, warm and tender, they made even the best store brand taste like paste. To be honest, we had delicious fresh tortillas in many places during our trip, and each time we were amazed. Paco warned, however, that shortcuts, like using instant masa, would deliver disappointing results.
He was right, of course. The handmade tortillas I made tonight -- from instant masa, but the brand specifically recommended by no less an authority than Diana Kennedy -- were memorable only because I finally did it. They were too small and a bit too much like flatbread. I scorched my comal, meaning I'll have to scrub and reseason it. Despite all this, it was fun, and I'm fairly certain I will be more successful next time.
In a way, it's like using a wok: You really need to have everything organized and ready to rock because it's all over and done with in a flash. I got so carried away tortilla-ing that I completely forgot about the avocado, cilantro and lime I intended to put on the table.