Saturday, January 30, 2016

Friday Night Gorditas For the Win!

Hello, everybody! Mary here with a delicious recipe I've eaten many times but never attempted myself. I just loooooove to try out my iffy recipes on the Yankee Belle Cafe crowd, so be prepared for some culinary wandering!
But first, some pictures. 
Terrible photo but it made me smile so I'm putting it up. This is what happens when your little brother is sad because he's too little to play the guitar. You make it happen. 

Also, my fourteen year old decided to color her hair purple. (Not a picture of her. I have some great shots but I'm still having trouble uploading to facebook. I think there's some setting that I can't figure out. If anyone has any tips, let me know. :P Some do, some don't. Technology!)
This is where I used to be the children's librarian but it didn't look like this. Behold the powers of a state grant! I'm so excited about our children's section now. Instead of dreary brown and tan and dusty half-filled shelves, there is this! Bright, cheerful, full of books and toys. Our little town doesn't have a single indoor play area for children (not even a McDonald's) so this is just an incredible gift to the community!
 This is what happens when a 12 year old gets dish duty.... I hope there's a college major for bubble making.
I'm pretty sure little brother doesn't know what big brother has written on this box. 

And now for a recipe!
 There is something I love to eat when we go to Mexico. It's called "gorditas", which means "little fat ones" and I'm pretty sure that is a description of the food and not the person eating it but don't quote me on that. Anyway, gorditas come in many, many different styles and vary hugely from region to region.
 So, following the directions on the back, add four cups of cornmeal masa mix, 4 tsp baking soda and two cups chicken stock. Mix until it makes a thick dough. The baking soda will make it fluff up a little. Without it, you're making a hard tortilla. (Those are also great, but I had something specific in mind, so I added the baking soda.)
 Add two tsp of paprika. Some add salt here but the chicken stock and the baking soda has salt, so I just had 1/4 black pepper and 1/4 cayenne pepper.
 Make a ball about 4" inch diameter.
 Using another piece of foil, squash the corn meal mix flat, to about 1/4 of an inch.
You can make them look perfect but we weren't too bothered by rough edges so we didn't trim them at all. Stack them on a plate.
 Now, traditionally, we ate these heated on a tortilla cooker. But as I tried it, even using the lid of a pot, it just didn't taste the same. I'm not sure if I was missing an ingredient (my mother in law uses lard in a lot of food and I didn't have any lard, just olive oil, so that may be the difference) or if they were cooked outdoors and clearly my kitchen is not outdoors.
After cooking one side for several minutes on medium high heat (don't worry about burned parts, it should be similar to cooking over a fire), flip it over and put a lid on it to trap some of the steam.
 This doesn't look particularly special the smell of roasted corn meal had brought everybody into the kitchen! MMMMM.
The toppings we use are pretty simple, but you can really add anything. A lot of people top the gordita with shredded carnitas (shredded pork or beef). We use diced tomatoes, avocado, hard cheese, and a squeeze of lime.
 The gordita is crunchy but not too hard. If a fried flour tortilla for tradition taco is a ten on the hardness scale, this would be a six. The baking soda keeps it fluffy in the middle. More like a flavorful pita bread than a hard taco.
 Street vendors in my husband's home town often fry the gorditas and some of my kids prefer them that way. Really, isn't everything better when it's fried? Personally, I could eat them straight, just like this. They're really so tasty.
 Golden brown, fried to perfection... but I'm not as good at flipping them in the skillet so they get a little broken around the edges. (These are also pretty soft. Think a crispy pancake rather than a hard taco.)
 The hot gordita topped with chilled avocado, tomatoes, cheese and lime is a perfect mid-winter meal. Fresh but filling!
That's it for this week! I hope everyone is keeping warm as we head into February! Feel free to stop by my author page at Mary Jane Hathaway, my other author page at Virginia Carmichael, my blog The Things That Last or over on Huffington Post Books.


  1. I'm trying to imagine the taste of these, Mary. Do you taste the corn, or does the broth dominate?

    Just curious. Either way, the fillings of tomato and avocado sell me on it! This is the point of winter when I stop craving hearty soups and stews and root vegetables, and start anticipating fresh produce.

    Thanks for sharing the pictures as well. I love the redone library. The one where I used to take my children when they were little was redone recently, but I haven't been inside since. It is one of the 2,509 Carnegie libraries built by Andrew Carnegie between 1883 and 1929, so I guess it was in need or an update.

    1. I grew up in a Carnegie library, and it's right down the street from this new one. :) My book, Leaving Liberty, is set in an old Carnegie Library and the current owner of our old Carngie let me wander all over her beautiful home so I could get an accurate idea of the nooks and crannies. Very fun stuff!

      And the gorditas taste very much like corn meal. A friend told me it reminded her of cornbread, but less cakey. So, definitely like cornbread, but not sweet. If that makes sense.

      And YES/ I've been craving fruits and vegetables for weeks now. I had a conversation today with the owner of a kitchen store in the next town over. He grows his own food and he was downright teary-eyed as he told me all the wonderful fresh food that he gets in the spring and summer. I totally understood where he was coming from. :(

  2. Love the pictures -- the antics of your kids. I wonder how much shipping a little brother to Alaska would cost???

    I ran out of bread in the middle of a cold snap when I didn't want to venture out and tried my hand at making unleavened bread. Ended up looking like yours but only had water and flour and bit of salt and oil. Amazingly good. I felt quite pioneerish.

    1. Probably a LOT!!

      Isn't it good?? I think that people forget how tasty a simply baked flat bread can be. Just like you said: water, flour, salt and oil... baked or toasted. Just delicious.

  3. These sound so good! I'll have to try making them!

    I love these kid photos! LOL Love the box. :) You know as far as FB photos, try going into your security and allow FB to have access to your photos. I bet you haven't given it permission.

    1. I think you'll like them, Missy. I love how filling they are (and you can make the gordita smaller) with all the fresh toppings.

      I'll definitely try that. It happened again tonight. It's a new phone (iphone) that I bought after I dropped my phone in the ocean last summer. But something is definitely amiss. It uploads photos about 1/10 times. Very frustrating. My daughters phone uploads all the time, no issues. Also, she can upload with the cord. Maybe I just got a bad phone. I'll have to try your tip and see if that fixes it.