Making Tortillas

Cooking is a source of joy for me. Baking, too. Especially baking. Doing both of these things is an adventure in Manaus. Not only do I have to translate ingredients, but I also have to search far and wide for things that simply are not imported. I’ve become a major fan of baking two ingredient desserts, like cookies & cream bars! One thing we cook with a lot is tortillas. Unfortunately, we can’t just run out to the grocery store and buy some. So I’ve learned how. A skill I have honed and love now. Especially since I am importing a tortilla press. WOOHOO!

The recipe:

Put 4 cups of flour (I use all-purpose, but it could probably be made more nutritious with whole wheat, unbleached, etc…there are only two types of flour here) in a bowl.
Mix in 1/8th a teaspoon of baking powder.
Put 1/2 cup of butter on top (any type of fat, really) and then mix with your hands until it looks like a grainy type sand. This should take about 1-2 minutes.
Dissolve 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt (sea salt would probably be delicious) into 1 cup of lukewarm water.
Pour the salt water into the flour/butter mixture and knead with your hands until you can form a ball. If after 2-3 minutes it’s too sticky, add more flour. If it’s not all coming together, add more water.
Put the ball of dough on the counter and put the bowl on top of it.
Wait 20 minutes.
Divide the dough into 12 equal(ish) parts and form into balls.
Roll one ball as flat as you possibly can (and hopefully into a circular shape) and put onto a shallow, non-stick pan pre-heated over medium(ish) heat.
Once the bubbles start popping up, flip it.
When the bubbles re-appear, it’s done.
Wrap it up in a towel (or put it in a tortilla warmer) while you’re cooking the rest.



It’s even more fun when everyone gets dirty ;D


Adventures in Manauaran Cooking

Everything is an adventure here. Grocery shopping, cooking, and eating are no exception.

There are a number of supermercados here…but as you may know from my “Manaus Moments” driving is an adventure, too…so I try to limit my time in the car. When we first moved here (End of November 2012) we were on a quest to find fresh milk. We found it once. Through months of trial and error and what felt like going to a different store every day of the week I’ve finally found a one-stop place I can usually get everything I need for a week in one go. Roma.

And when I feel like fighting for parking, walking up a hill, and struggling to order cuts and quantities of meat in Portugues and metric for my non-metric recipes, I go to the butcher shop Fino Corte.

The last time I felt like doing all of that I wanted to find something like Italian sausage to grill for an easy protein. If you put Italian sausage into Google translate, it shoots out salsicha Italiana. At the actual shop, in my broken Portuguese, I asked for that & they showed me something that looked like breakfast sausage. I mutely hand-gestured toward something that looked more like what I wanted and tried to ask if it was picante (spicy). The butcher, attempting to help me, held up the other sausages and said that they were spicy. After more gesturing, pointing, and smiling I got three links of what LOOKED like Italian sausage.

When buying such in the US, usually the casing is edible. Here, I have no idea. Furthermore, our small indoor grill is a sad attempt at a grill. This is what happened when we cooked said linguiça.

Sad, sad grill…


Is this casing edible? Why is there so much cheese? How should I cook it in the future?

cute thing

Super cute grill…I mean girl 🙂