Special Feature

Quick Tip: Tortillas


The trick to heating tortillas—corn or flour—is making sure they don't dry out. I usually heat them in a microwave because it's quicker and the ones inside the stack will heat more evenly than in a conventional oven. and I can do it instantly, at the last minute. Here's the tip: with the faucet running, wet your hands and dampen each tortilla with water—the staler or dryer the tortilla, the more water on each side.

Stack them on a microwavable plate and let them set for a few minutes. Then invert another plate on top. Microwave for a minute or more, depending on your oven and the number of tortillas. Check them half way through (be careful about steam burns and hot plates) and if necessary, flip them over or rearrange their placement in the stack to cook more evenly. By using thick plates, the heat is retained and held for serving at table. and by dampening them with water, they come out soft and steamed, instead of dry and flaky.

You can heat both flour and corn tortillas together at the same time using this method, too. And since it's so quick, you can set out a small amount of steaming hot tortillas to start, then bring out more in just minutes. This way you'll never be stuck serving dried out, tough, cold tortillas again.


Did You Know...?

January is officially Diet Month in the US, and many of us are doing just that: dieting to work off the holiday repasts.

But did you know that all those "lite" and "low-fat" or "no-fat" products now bursting off the shelves can actually be harmful to your health? They frequently contain added sugars and high amounts of salt to replace the flavor lost by fats. Furthermore, there's the "I can eat as much as I want" syndrome—that is, the mistaken idea that since there's no fat, there's no risk of gaining weight. Wrong! These products still have calories and bingeing on them in mass quantities is not the road to weightlessness.

Reducing fat in the diet does not have be limited to artificial means. Indeed, most such products don't even taste good. Instead, concentrate on eating meals that are tasty and just happen to be low in fat as well. Think about dining on grilled vegetables, lemon-peppered chicken paillards, roasted potatoes dusted with fresh herbs, black bean salsa, home-made tomato soup, scallops with cilantro-pepper relish. All of these dishes are naturally low in fat but high in flavor, perfect for serving at anytime—even when you're not on the post-holiday diet. And when you eat a satisfying meal, you'll be less likely to overindulge.

Of course, fat in and of itself is not entirely bad. Nutritionists recommend getting no less than 20% of all calories from fat, or between 20 and 25 grams of fat per day. The reason is that fat transports certain fat-soluble nutrients, like Vitamin E, to the rest of the body. Like most things in life, fat has a function beyond just tasting good. Most people who reduce their fat intake naturally find that within a few months, they no longer miss the flavor of fat at all, or certainly not in the same way as when they started out. If you are interested in more naturally low-fat recipes that really taste great, then join The eGG in February as we celebrate American Heart Month. We'll take a look at some healthful cookbooks and meal plans that take a smart look at eating right by letting you control the fats, sugars and salts directly instead of masking them in processed foods.



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