You may be asking why this blog is called "The Lunchbox Tree." I was raised by a family whose memories were made in the kitchen and at the table. One of my favorite stories came from "Ozma of Oz," by L. Frank Baum:
"...the little girl came upon two trees that promised to furnish her with plenty of food. One was quite full of square paper boxes, which grew in clusters on all the limbs, and upon the biggest and ripest boxes the word 'Lunch' could be read, in neat raised letters.... Inside she found, nicely wrapped in white papers, a ham sandwich, a piece of sponge-cake, a pickle, slice of new cheese and an apple."
This scene inspired me to begin a lifetime affair with all things food; and I hope that my recipes inspire you to enjoy making and eating all sorts of delightful things.
Tweets from The Lunchbox Tree
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Homemade Tortilla Chips
Seriously... these tortilla chips are so incredibly easy, you'll wonder why you haven't made your own before. These crunchy little morsels come straight from your home deep fryer/dutch oven, get seasoned to taste, and go straight to your table (or in this case, our wide window sill where our friends hang out and watch the sun set over Lake Champlain) while they're still warm. I guess that technically, real homemade tortilla chips would start with homemade tortillas - but I cheated just a little and used store-bought 6" corn tortillas.
There are quite a few advantages to making your own chips (of the tortilla variety, but also potato, pita, etc... but those are other posts), such as the ability to control or eliminate salt content, add your own favorite flavorings, determine the optimal doneness, and so forth. For this batch, I cooked the chips until they were just barely turning golden, which produced a nice crunch without allowing the chip to disintegrate after the first bite. Simply seasoned with salt and the tiniest bit of pepper, they were delicious enough to eat on their own. I bought our standard brand of tortillas (Olé - I'm pretty sure they are a national brand, but are a good go-to supermarket brand... plus I'm in Vermont so choices are limited), the layers of which separate slightly in the fryer and create an ethereal, delicate feel while supporting dips like salsa and guacamole.
So kick back, enjoy the end of the summer, and try out this simple recipe.
12 6-inch corn tortillas, cut into quarters
Oil for frying (I use canola; amount varies depending on your frying vessel)
Optional seasonings, mix & match to your taste: Freshly ground black pepper, chipotle powder, granulated garlic, smoked paprika, or whatever your heart desires
Heat oil to 375º. Once oil is heated, sprinkle in a handful of tortilla quarters at a time, being sure to separate the tortilla wedges from one another before dropping them in. Fry 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until chips reach desired doneness (light golden brown is delicious), stirring as needed to prevent chips from sticking together. Using a wire spider or your fryer basket, remove chips and transfer to a paper towel lined cooling rack or plate to let any excess oil drip off. Immediately season with salt and/or any other seasonings to taste. Serve while warm and enjoy plain or with your favorite dip.