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This recipe brings back so many hilarious memories of the time I spent with my dear friend, Tiffiny, back when we both lived in Inuvik. I would need a whole book to describe the crazy adventures we had together! Tiffiny has Mexican blood running through her veins, something just that just goes without saying when you see the amount of jalapenos she can eat in one sitting! This recipe is a staple in Tiffiny’s home and after tasting her amazing burritos a few times I now cannot go more than a few months without making a big batch of these myself. She makes everything from scratch: the tortillas, the salsa, even the beans have been soaking overnight and slow-cooked over the stove making the entire house smell like good cooking. Of course, mine never taste as good as hers for some reason… Isn’t it funny how certain foods bring back certain memories? Whenever I make these (and eat them), I always think of Tiffiny… standing at the counter in her colorful kitchen rolling her tortillas into perfect rounds… Her hands are covered with flour… and she is singing a soulful country tune…

Tiffiny’s Burrito’s

The Beans:

Measure a desired amount of pinto beans (depending on how many people you are cooking for (i.e. 1-2 cups) and soak overnight. Next day, rinse the beans and place in a pot with enough water to cover. Add a pinch or two of salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer gently for a few hours. When the beans are soft, mash them with potato masher. Season with salt to taste.

The Salsa:

6 medium tomatoes

4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1 Spanish (or red) onion

1 large jalapeno chili (or to taste)

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients by hand. Warm in a sauce pan before serving in small bowls with little spoons. Spoon a little of the warmed salsa onto burrito just before taking a bite. (This keeps the burrito from getting soggy.) Note: you can also add chopped cucumber, parsley, a good squeeze of fresh lime juice, even a little chopped mango to the salsa if desired.

The Tortillas:

Even though it is easier to buy tortillas, once you taste homemade there is just no going back. I tried once and they were so disappointing! Yes, these are more work but they are so delicious! I like to put my guests to work grilling the tortillas while I roll them out.

3 cups unbleached flour

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup vegetable shortening (or butter), chilled

1 cup or so of warm water

In a food processor, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the shortening and process in short bursts until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add the water in a steady stream and process until the dough just comes together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 4 or 5 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, then divide each of these into 4 more equal pieces, forming them into balls. Cover the balls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for at least 15 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a flat tortilla round, about 8 inches in diameter. Cook each round on medium heat, in a large cast iron skillet, until lightly speckled brown and small bubbles appear on top. Turn and cook the other side. Place on a plate in a warmed over and cover with a dry towel to keep from drying out.  (Note: this tortilla recipe is from my John Ash Cookbook From Earth to Table).

Putting Everything Together:

1/2 head lettuce, shredded

6 tomatoes, chopped

8 oz aged cheddar, grated (Buy the best quality cheese for this recipe. It makes a difference!)

Optional: 1 package of lean ground beef, cooked until brown and seasoned with salt, pepper, and chili pepper.

Place everything in serving bowls and allow your guests to build their own burritos. Give each guest their own cup of salsa on the side (with a small spoon). Serve with an ice cold glass of beer… Enjoy!