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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Second Attempt at Homemade Taco Shells

Taco Bell was one of the very few fast food restaurants I would indulge in for the tacos but it's on my hit list of never to eat at again restaurants so I am on a quest to make homemade tacos from scratch.  That means I want everything made from scratch including the shell and the seasoning.  This quest is all about creating the perfect taco!  During our last vacation I bought a tortilla press and masa harina.  My first attempt at making tortillas was encouraging.  With a bit of tweaking I should be able to get as good as if not better than store bought tortillas.  Tortillas can be formed into salad bowls and taco shells.  I was a bit disappointed in the first taco shells I made so was on to plan B.

taco shell maker
Google is an amazing tool that saves an awful lot of leg work.  I made a note to check for some type of taco form the next time I was at a kitchen specialty shop.  Being rather impatient I did a search to find that such a character does exist then went onto eBay and purchased one.

The taco shell maker I bought is really a simply designed tool meant to get the perfectly shaped taco shell.  Now some would question why I would want to make my own taco shells since they are quite inexpensive.  The reason is quite simple in that I am after the fresh flavour of homemade.  Saving a bit of money on the cost of taco shells by making homemade is just an added bonus.  Making taco shells one at a time likely is not practical for a larger family but it works for our needs.  I'm sure there are taco shell formers available that will make more than one at a time.

using taco shell maker
Pictured is the taco shell maker in use.  I put a fresh made tortilla shell into the form then proceeded to fry it in the deep fryer.  Here I ran into my first problem.  The depth of my deep fryer does not allow the loaded taco shell maker to be fully immersed so the shell cooks all at once.  This is not a huge problem as it only takes a few seconds to fry on each side.  The second problem is the actual design of the taco shell maker that when flipped over to fry the other side leaves a gap of unfried tortilla at the handle side.  It is impossible to get this portion into the oil given the design.  The alternative is to use an open pot of oil on the stove deep enough that the entire form can be submersed.  While this is an option, it is not one I'm overly warm to since heating oil on the stove is more of a safety risk than using a temperature controlled deep fryer. 

homemade tacos
There has been progress in my journey towards making homemade taco shells.   The end result were delicious homemade beef tacos.  The homemade taco shells were quite good but they are not the same texture as store bought taco shells.  Masa harina is quite a fine grind so the resulting taco shells are smoother and crispier than store bought.  I'm looking for a homemade taco shell closer in texture to store bought.  To my way of thinking using a corn meal mixture should give me what I'm looking for.  Corn meal is a bit coarser so I will be experimenting with that for the next batch of taco shells.  I will also try making them just a bit thicker as the ones made with the masa harina were a bit difficult to work with.  They kept tearing on me.  I also did not like that the shells made with masa harina had jagged edges.  While this doesn't affect the flavour it is an aesthetics thing.  So back to the drawing board for my next attempt that will hopefully be closer to what I'm after.


1 food lovers commented:

jennifermolnar said...

Wow, they look good to me!