I like cooking, but more than that, I like cooking a variety of things. I don’t like making the same thing more than once a month, which sounds challenging but has actually been surprisingly easy to pull off. So far I’ve been pretty good about keeping to my New Year’s quasi-resolution to incorporate more vegetables and use less boxed/canned stuff. We don’t even have pasta all that much anymore, and when we do, it’s often with veggies sauteed with garlic instead of jarred sauce.
The problem with this adventurous cooking is that I sometimes plan to make a recipe without really reading it. Sometimes this results in a minor catastrophe like having something bake for an unplanned hour while we snack. Other times, though, we get something like the flautas incident.
My first clue that this wasn’t going to go well should have come from the cookbook itself. It’s the El Paso Chile Company’s Texas Border Cookbook, and I got it during Border’s closing sale to expand my repertoire of Kevin’s favorite cuisine, Mexican. The problem is that’s a somewhat advanced cookbook. The recipe for flautas is one of a few that doesn’t require a lot of hands-on work or a grill (or more specifically, grill weather).
The chicken for the flautas came together beautifully. It smelled fantastic and we were excited to start rolling up our flautas and frying the suckers up.
Then I discovered that corn tortillas are not made to roll up.
After a couple desperate calls to Kevin’s California parents and attempting everything from microwaving the tortillas to soaking them in water, we decided that corn tortillas weren’t worth the hassle and that we should use flour instead. They wouldn’t be flautas, per se – more like very boring deep-fried burritos – but they would definitely still be delicious.
This left us with a package full of corn tortillas that couldn’t be used for their intended purpose. Luckily, corn tortillas have other excellent purposes:
So, what did we learn?
1) Read. The. Recipe. Before. You. Start.
2) Don’t use corn tortillas for anything ever, unless you’re cutting them into triangles and dropping them into hot oil.
3) A dish is even more delicious when you’ve unintentionally spent hours on it. At least, it’s delicious if you used a good cookbook and followed the instructions. That said…
4) READ THE RECIPE BEFORE YOU START.