Category Archives: Recipes

Corn Tortillas from Scratch

Making Nixtamal (allow 18-24 hours)

By Luz Calvo

  • 2 cups dried dent corn
  • 2 tablespoons cal (slaked lime)
  • 6 cups water
  •      Rinse 2 cups dried dent corn.
  •      Use a large non-reactive pot (stainless steel, glass, or clay are all good). Read about non-reactive cookware here:
  •      Add 6 cups cool water to the non-reactive pot.
  •      Mix in 2 tablespoons “cal” to the water to create a “slurry”
  •      Add rinsed corn to the slurry. It will look like this:
      Cook corn on medium heat for 45 minutes. Ideally, you want the water to just *barely* begin to come to a boil at exactly 45 minutes. This is not as hard as it sounds. The first couple of times you do it, you need to watch carefully. If it starts to look like it is about to boil before 45 minutes, turn the heat down a bit. If at 30 minutes, it is not even close, turn the heat up a bit.

After 45 minutes, turn off the stove and cover the pot. Allow the corn to soak in the pot overnight and preferably for about 24 hours.

      After 18-24 hours, your corn will look like this:
Rinse the corn thoroughly under cool water.

Fill a deep bowl or pot with cool water. Add the corn and using your hands, rub the corn vigorously between your palms. You are trying to remove the outer layer of skin (the hull)—it should fall off pretty easily. Do NOT attempt to clean each kernel one at a time. That would be insane. Just use your hands to massage the corn. It might seem like nothing is happening because the skin is pretty thin but you should begin to see little bits of skin floating in the water.

Pour off the top of the water along with the little pieces of skin that have been removed. I repeat this step about 10 times, until the water I pour off is almost completely clean. Strain the corn one last time.

After rinsing several times, your corn should now look like this:

Now, you are ready to grind the corn. Put a pan under the grinder to catch the masa. Put the strained corn in your grinder. I run my corn through the grinder a second time to get a softer dough.

This is what the freshly ground nixtamal corn will look like:

Take your freshly ground nixtamal and add ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt (I add 1 teaspoon but other recipes say 1/2 teaspoon). Start working the dough with your hands and add about 1 tablespoon of water at a time. Work the dough and add water until you have a nice ball of dough that sticks together, is smooth, but is not pasty. Take care not to add too much water or you will have a mess. I think I add between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup of water.  I’ve heard if you add too much water, you can add some masa harina to get the masa back to the right consistency. But really, just add water in small increments and you will be fine. Your ball of dough should look like this:

Form balls about the size of a golf ball (or a wee bit smaller). I have found that this recipe (2 cups of dried corn) produces about 1 dozen medium sized corn tortillas.

Prepare your tortilla press and heat your comal(griddle). You want the comal hot when you put the first tortilla on. After the comal is hot you can turn the heat down from high to medium high.

Line the tortilla press with two pieces of plastic. Thin plastic from a produce bag works best. Use scissors to deconstruct the bag into two equal pieces. Press the ball of dough between the two pieces of plastic. Push the lever down. Flip over and press again.


      Carefully peel the plastic off the top. Flip the tortilla so you are holding the tortilla on your left hand (if you are right handed) and the remaining plastic is facing up. Remove the plastic.

You now have a raw tortilla on your hand. (Kind of embarrassing that I used a Whole Foods plastic bag. I swear, I hardly ever go there. But their bags really work for this purpose. Ha!)

Ever so carefully, place the tortilla on a hot comal. This is the part that I have found takes practice. Don’t despair. It gets easier with practice and over time you won’t even remember why you thought this was difficult. I think it might be easier with freshly ground corn than with the masa you buy at thetortilleria. You’ll develop your own technique for getting that tortilla perfectly placed on the comal. (I know some people are laughing at me right now. That’s OK. Decolonization is a practice in humility. I messed up a bunch of tortillas before I got the hang of it.)

After the edges of the tortilla start to turn up slightly, flip the tortilla. Continue cooking for a few minutes. You can flip the tortillas a few times until they look done.

Put the finished tortillas between a folded clean dish towel.  Don’t worry too much if you think the tortilla is still slightly raw in the inside. Make more tortillas and let them rest together in the clean towel. They will continue cooking on the inside. By the time you serve them they will be perfect. ENJOY!

Before bring trying this at home, I suggest you also read this informative blog post:

I welcome questions, comments, and suggestions. Find me at


Vegetarian Tamales

Corn Husks

  • 1 8-oz. pkg. dried corn husks


  • 4 jalapeño or serrano chiles, stemmed, unseeded and minced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 white onion, minced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh coriander stems and leaves
  • ½ cup chopped fresh epazote leaves, or 3 Tbs. dried
  • 12 grinds black pepper
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 lb. Monterey Jack cheese or quesillo de Oaxaca cheese, shredded or grated (You can also use re-fried beans for a vegan tamale)

Masa for Tamales

  • 1 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 ½ cups masa harina for tamales with 2 ¼ cups warm water or more as needed, or 4 cups fresh masa with 1 cup water or more as needed
  • 2 Tbs. dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 Tbs. dried thyme
  • Zest of 1 lime
  1. To prepare Corn Husks: Place husks in large stockpot, and cover with hot water. Weight down with plate to keep husks submerged, and let soften for 2 hours or as long as one day.
  2. Select 24 of largest husks at least 6 inches wide. If needed, select smaller ones, and overlap to make wide surfaces for spreading masa; stick together with daub of masa. Tear smallest husks into 1/4-inch-wide x 8-inch-long strips to tie packets together.
  3. To prepare Filling: Combine filling ingredients, and mix well. Set aside.
  4. To make Masa for Tamales: Beat shortening, salt and baking powder with heavy-duty mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn mixer to low, and add masa a little at a time. Turn speed to high, and beat 3 minutes more, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl. Turn mixer off, and add herbs, zest and 1 1/4 cups water. Turn speed to low, and slowly mix ingredients. Increase speed, and beat masa mixture at least 3 minutes more. Turn mixer off, and add remaining 1 cup water. Slowly increase mixer speed, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl, and beat 3 minutes, adding more water as needed, until mixture is soft and resembles thick pancake batter.
  5. To assemble tamales, arrange corn husks, corn husk ties, filling and masa in easy reach. Place soft, wet corn husk on work surface. Spoon and spread about 1/3 cup masa on husk, leaving 2-inch border all around. Place scant 1/4 cup filling in center of masa. Fold one long side of husk over filling, and roll to enclose masa. To prevent leaking, roll tamale with second husk if masa is not fully enclosed. Fold wider end under, and tie closed with strip of husk. Leave pointed “top” end open. Prepare remaining tamales.
  6. Stand tamales on their folded and tied bottoms in steamer. Do not crowd because tamales need room to expand as they steam.
  7. Cover tamales with some of remaining husks, and pack empty spaces of steamer with wadded husks or foil to prevent tamales from falling over during steaming. Cover steamer tightly, and, over high heat, bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and steam for 1 1/4 hours. Uncover after 45 minutes, and add more boiling water if needed.
  8. After 1 1/4 hours, remove one tamale, and check for doneness. Masa should pull away from husk easily. If done, remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes to firm. Open, peel tamales and discard husks. For maximum flavor, cool tamales, and reheat before serving.

The success of tamale making depends on assembling the right steamer. Select a container with a lid that is large enough to easily hold all tamales, and use a stainless steel steamer rack, steamer basket or a Chinese metal or bamboo steamer, making sure that the water does not touch the rack. Line the steamer basket with corn husks. Pour 1 inch of water into the container, and add three to five coins to the water—these rattle during steaming so you know enough water remains in the bottom of the pot. For the corn dough for tamales, buy from a tortilla-making shop if possible. Do not buy masa preparada for tamales because it contains fat. Instead, buy masa harina (masa flour) from a well-stocked supermarket to reconstitute with water into a dough.Tamales freeze well. Place cooled tamales in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Freeze for 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer, and fill plastic freezer bags with cold tamales. Put back into freezer. Do not thaw before resteaming, about 30 minutes. Or wrap cold tamales in heavy-duty foil packages, and freeze. Reheat in a 350F oven, still frozen, for about 40 minutes, but these are best if resteamed. The filling calls for epazote, a popular Mexican herb sold at Hispanic markets.


Courtesy of Vegetarian Times

Azure’s No Bake Snacks


In a saucepan, melt down:
1/2 c. peanut butter (any nut butter you have layin’ around)
1/2 c. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Remove from heat and fold honey mixture to:
3 1/2 c. puffed millet
1/2 c. chopped dried fruit (whatever’s on sale in the bulk bin at coop –
usually currants, apricots, mango)

Keep folding the honey mixture into dried ingredients until everything is
evenly coated. A rubber spatula works well for this.

Once ingredients are combined, add all to a greased (coconut oil, ghee,
butter, you name it!) 8 x 8 pan. Press it in as firmly as you can (I use
the base of a measuring cup and really use all of my weight to pack it
into the pan!). Once pressed, place in refrigerator/freezer for at least 1
hour until it’s ready to cut!



2 cups almonds, to be ground into almond meal
1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped for browning “topping”
2 – 2 1/2 cups Medjool or Deglet Nour dates, pitted
3/4 cup cocoa powder OR raw cacao if you have it
1-2 tsp espresso powder or finely ground coffee (depending on preference)
pinch sea salt

In a food processor, finely grind:
2 c. almonds

1/2 c. almonds, roughly chopped
3/4 cup cocoa powder OR raw cacao if you have it (carob would likely work
1-2 tsp espresso powder or finely ground coffee

Pulse above ingredients until combined, transfer to bowl, and set aside.

Then, using food processor, process until only small bits remain:
2 – 2 1/2 cups Medjool or Deglet Nour dates, pitted
Remove and set aside.

Add nut and cocoa mixture back into food processor and while processing,
drop small handfuls of the date pieces down into the food processor spout.
Process until a dough consistency is achieved, adding more dates if the
mixture does not hold together when squeezed in your hand.

Add the brownie mixture to a small parchment lined cake pan or loaf pan
and add remaining 1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds. Toss to combine and
evenly distribute, and then press down with you hands until it is flat and
Place in freezer or fridge to chill before cutting. Store in an airtight
container to keep fresh. Will keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks and
in the freezer for at least 2 months.

Lissa’s Veggie Pizza


  • 3/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 2 cups (or more) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • optional: use cornmeal while kneading the bread instead of flour, we substituted cornmeal when flour ran out, and enjoyed the result!
This makes one baking sheet-sized pizza, we suggest doubling the recipe.


Pour 1/4 cup warm water into small bowl; stir in yeast and sugar. Let stand until yeast puffs up, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup water, and salt. Add yeast mixture and 3 tablespoons oil; mix until dough forms a sticky ball. Transfer to lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if dough is very sticky, about 1 minute. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl; turn dough in bowl to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Punch down dough and roll out, either on a floured surface or in a baking sheet with coarse cornmeal/polenta on the bottom (this is optional). Bake the crust for about 3-4 minutes, until the surface is not sticky and only slightly crusty (to prevent soggy pizza). Remove the pizza crust from the oven, and lightly oil the crust before adding toppings. Bake at approx 375 (experiment with higher temperatures for crispier crust) until cheese is starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Take out of oven, let cool for a few minutes, and enjoy!

Jonah’s Massaged Kale (with secret sauce)

  • 1 bunch kale, finely shredded
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • quarter cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon miso
  • 1 teaspoon agave syrup or other sweetener
  • sea salt (enough to very lightly coat kale)
  • black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds


De-stem kale.

Mix salt and shredded kale in mixing bowl.  Massage kale vigorously to created marinated/wilted effect on kale. Set aside.  This makes it much tastier and easier to digest, giving it a “cooked” texture.

In blender, add shredded carrot, finely chopped garlic, olive oil, sesame oil, black pepper to taste, and miso.  Blend until smooth.  Add more olive oil or a touch of water so blends easily.  Pour over and mix into kale.

In a hot un-oiled cast iron skillet lightly toast sunflower and pumpkin seeds.  Until lightly brown.  Do not over toast!  Add as topping to kale.

Caper’s Yogurt

Emet refuses to eat any other yogurt after having tasted Caper’s yogurt…
yogurt starter (just plain yogurt from the store)
heat the milk on the stove to 180F.
remove from heat and allow to cool to 110F.
add your yogurt starter to your warm milk.
a quart of milk requires 2TBSP of yogurt starter.
stir it in thoroughly, then pour your warm milk into jars, leaving 1/2″ or so space at the top and screw the lids on loosely.
put the jars in a warm or insulated place (we use a lunch cooler with another jar of hot water in there with it to act as a heater) and cover with a towel.
let the yogurt cool down as slowly as possible over the course of the next 8-10 hours, after which time it’s ready to put in the refrigerator and serve once it’s cooled.
to obtain your next starter, scoop the first 2 TBSP (or 4 or 6 or 8 etc, depending on how much milk you’re making into yogurt) off the top of a fresh jar of your home made yogurt, and save this in an airtight container to use in your next batch of yogurt.

Mayi Moulin (Haitian grits)

1 cup course corn meal
3 cups water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1 tsp thyme
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 plum tomato, diced
1 tsp parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Finely diced mushrooms and other vegetables can be added to the saute.
Optional: Serve with a fried egg.
Saute garlic, tomato, and onion in oil. Add water and bring to a boil. Combine remaining ingredients. Reduce flame to medium-low. Stir mixture repeatedly to avoid clumps.

Melissa’s Squash Soup


6 cups (about 2 large squash) seeded 2-inch wide chunks butternut squash
Melted butter or coconut oil, for brushing
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon freshly ground white (or black) pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
3 cups vegetable stock
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon minced ginger
4 ounces heavy cream or full fat coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Brush the flesh of the squash with a little butter and season with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper. On a sheet pan lay the squash flesh side up. Roast for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the flesh is nice and soft.

Scoop the flesh from the skin into a pot and add the stock, honey, and ginger. Bring to a simmer and puree using a stick blender. Stir in the heavy cream and return to a low simmer. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Modified from Alton Brown, the Food Network

Leah’s Favorite – Raw Key Lime Pie

~ From Cafe Gratitude’s “I Am Grateful” Recipe & Lifestyle book

“When has something turned out much better, than you could ever have planned?”


• 1 1/4 cups pecans
• 1 1/4 cups macadamias or walnuts
• 1/4 cup finely chopped dates
• 1/4 tsp vanilla
• 1/8 tsp unrefined sea salt


• 3/4 cup lime juice (or cut with lemon juice for a “lemon lime” version)
• 1 cup avocado (approx. 2 avocados)
• 1/2 cup agave, honey, &/0r maple syrup
• 1/3 cup coconut milk
• 1/2 tsp vanilla
• 1/8 tsp unrefined sea salt
• 2 Tbsp lecithin
• 1/2 cup coconut butter
• 1/2 tsp “green” veggie/grass powder (optional for a greener color)

For the crust, process the ingredients for the crust in a food processor with the “S” blade attachment, until small and crumbly.  Press into greased (with coconut butter) 9-inch pie pan.

For the filling, blend all ingredients except lecithin and coconut butter in the same food processor (no need to clean it after making the crust), until smooth.  Add lecithin and coconut butter, blending until well incorporated.  Pour into prepared crust and freeze for 1 hour, or until firm.

Garnish with lime and/or banana slices.

Bon Appetit!

Jonah’s Dosas


  • 2 cups rice, brown or white
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • Grated fresh ginger, 1-2″
  • diced chives, onion, garlic scapes, or scallion, equivalent to 1 medium onion
  • chopped parsley or cilantro, 3/4 cup fresh
  • sea salt to taste


Soak lentils and rice together for 10 hours. Drain and rinse. Blend in food processor, adding water until you get a smooth batter, approximately 1.5 cups. Use rubber spatula to scrape sides and incorporate all rice and lentils. Set batter in a bowl and loosely cover with plate or cloth. Set at room temperature and allow to ferment for 2-4 days. Leave it longer in winter and for a shorter time in the summer. Stir one time per day to incorporate liquids. When ferment is complete add all other ingredients. Use immediately or store in fridge for quick and easy lunch. Will keep for up to one month.

To make a dosa (this is the hard part) we use a 9″ cast iron skillet and a very thin spatula. Heat up the skillet with no oil until it starts smoking then turn heat down to medium-high. Then, add a teaspoon of oil and spread to coat pan. Add 3 tablespoons of batter per dosa. You may need to add more water to get the right consistency – slight slump. Spread it in a thin layer quickly around skillet using back of spoon. Cover entire skillet. Let us cook until edges slightly brown. Do not flip prematurely or it will stick. Carefully flip and cook on other side for 1 minutes.

Serve with any spreadable leftover – stew, daal, chana masala, greens, preserved vegetables, meat, fish, coconut curry, etc. (almost any savory dish.) This is an awesome crepe/tortilla-type food that is gluten free. Always have some dosa batter on hand!


  • Dosa sticks: skillet too cool, batter too wet, flipped dosa too soon, too much oil in pan
  • Dosa has raw spots: flipped it too soon, dosa too thick