My little brother was allergic to gluten long,long ago, before it was fashionable. As a result the family used corn tortillas for many things including pizza crusts. In fact, I didn't know that flour tortillas existed until I was a teenager. The warm toasty smell of a tortilla being fried for hamburger tacos, or the taste of the crispy-cheesy-almost-burnt edges of a pan of enchiladas tumble me back in time to favorite growing up flavors.
So there I was watching PBS on a Saturday and Rick Bayless takes my television and myself first to the streets of Mexico city where people are making these amazing tortillas filled with all kinds of goodness, then through the magic of televsion I'm next in his home kitchen where right before my eyes he whips out tortillas, quickly, gracefully, and with an ease that immediately challenges me to do the same. So, I try it.
They are delicious. They are easy. They are infinitely more wholesome than the factory made tortillas.
To make them you can use Masa Harina (corn flour) and mix 1 cup masa with one cup water including the juice of 1/2 a lime and some salt. Mix together in a bowl, it will seem a bit on the dry side. Let it rest. Then roll it out - a golf ball's worth makes an appropriate sized tortilla. OR you can check at your local grocery and see if you have fresh masa available; ours is sold in a 2# bag and is next to the Mexican cheese in the refridgerator aisle. This is our favorite of the two. The texture and flavors of the fresh masa are just richer than the dry masa.
Possibly the coolest part of the whole process, is that you get to use a device to make them - the tortilla press. An elegant and simple tool that uses the mechanical advantage of Archemides' lever to help press out a quick stack. Bella has them for you. I put a plastic bag on each side as a no-stick liner, place the golf ball of masa in the center, give it a squeeze, open, rotate, give it a second squeeze then onto a medium hot steel pan to toast for a couple of minutes, flip until it starts to pillow on the second side. Then into a kitchen towel to steam while I work on the next one. For absolutely the best in quesadillas: after you are finished toasting your tortillas; put a sprinkling.handful of your favorite cheese on the hot toaster pan you have been using and place the tortilla directly over the top of it all - push down a bit to help melt it evenly and when it is appropriately gooey and crusty, use a spatula to peel it all up and off. Really, really good.