Growing up in Southern California, I probably ate more flour tortillas than slices of bread. I loved chicken and bean burritos slathered with cheese and salsa, quesadillas made with stretchy cheddar cheese right from the microwave, and taco fillings tenderly wrapped in soft flour tortillas. An almond butter and jelly tortilla even replaced the typical American pb ‘n j. Since then, wraps have become a common alternative to the sandwich, and what could be better than wrapping my favorite sandwich fillings in a huge tasty tortilla? That was before my days of gluten-free living.
Obviously, regular flour tortillas are now out of the question. And I’m not a fan of corn tortillas. I’ll order them for tacos at a “clean” Mexican restaurant, and I’ll enjoy them. After all, isn’t it the filling that really matters? But I won’t get through the meal without wishing that my chicken and beans were gently tucked into a light flour tortilla instead of a chunky, yellow corn one.
Brown rice tortillas are a staple in our home. I love Food For Life’s Brown Rice Tortillas for turkey wraps, fajitas, and breakfast burritos. When fresh, they are tasty and pass the bite test without their contents filling my lap.
Trader Joe’s also makes a great brown rice tortilla, however it’s disappointing that the Nashville TJ’s doesn’t stock them. Whenever I find them while traveling, I buy at least ten packages. They freeze well.
But, as with any other staple in my diet, it’s easy to get burned out on the same tortilla day after day. (Yes, I eat a lot of tortillas.)
I was thrilled when my mom gave me a tortilla press for Christmas last year. I spent Christmas Day, and the remainder of my Christmas vacation, tweaking gluten-free flour tortilla recipes in search of the soft, pliable tortillas of my pre-gf days.
I read the tortilla press directions carefully and did my best to follow them. I worked hard to master the press and release method. But most of my tortillas frayed at the edges or completely blew out in the press. When I did make a tortilla that was round and intact, it was as flat and hard as a dinner plate.
But I don’t give up easily. After a week of trying several recipes and methods, I finally had a batch of tortillas that didn’t resemble pancakes or frisbees.
I actually got the last batch to wrap, or bend, around a scoop of scrambled eggs. (Excuse the blurry iPhone picture from my pre-blogging days.) I still have a lot of tinkering to do before I’m ready to claim mastery of homemade tortillas, but I felt victorious.
While shopping at Fresh Market this week, I stumbled upon gluten-free wraps from La Tortilla Factory. These whole-grain teff and millet tortillas have been around for several years, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen them. They come in ivory or dark teff, and I bought the ivory in my quest to find a replacement for the flour tortillas of my past.
Today I decided to try them out for Sunday brunch.
I sauteed some peppers and onions.
And scrambled up some farm-fresh eggs, a delightful gift from a friend’s parents’ farm.
The tortilla was sturdy, supporting a hearty heap of eggs, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and guacamole.
But it wasn’t so thick that it broke upon folding.
And what about the taste? This was my first time eating a product made from teff, and the flavor was definitely different — deeper, earthier, more present than an innocuous flour tortilla. Combined with the flavors of my Mexican burrito, however, it was delicious. I am very grateful to have another option for wrapping my meals besides brown rice tortillas, but I’m not sure I’d eat this tortilla alone. The flavor is just different enough. But until I find the perfect recipe for gluten-free tortillas and master that blasted tortilla press, I will keep buying La Tortilla’s Smart and Delicious Gluten-Free wraps. Give them a try and let me know what you think.
Does anyone have a successful gluten-free tortilla recipe that works with a tortilla press?