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      RECIPE TITLE "PUFFY TACOS"
    Recipe from Los Barrios Family Cookbook: Tex-Mex Recipes from the Heart of San Antonio
    Copyright © 2002 by Diana Barrios Treviño.

    yieldsMakes 12 to 15 tacos time--- difficultyeasy

    When Food Network came to town to film a segment for "Food Nation with Bobby Flay," Los Barrios was ready to teach them a little about Tex-Mex. During the show, we prepared several dishes, including our puffy tacos. Of all the dishes Bobby encountered during his stay in San Antonio, these were what caught his attention. The light, fluffy tacos impressed him so much, he talked about adding them to the menu at mesa Grill, his famed Manhattan eatery. How about that -- Los Barrios hits New York!

      RECIPE INGREDIENTS

    2 cups corn masa mix
    1-1/2 teaspoons salt
    2-1/4 cups warm water
    vegetable oil for frying

      RECIPE METHOD

    1. Combine the masa mix, salt and warm water in a large bowl and mix until a smooth dough forms. Pull off pieces of dough and roll them into balls about the size of a Ping-Pong ball.
    2. Cut a quart-size resealable plastic bag open down both sides, to form a rectangle. use the bag to line a tortilla press as you shape the tortillas, so they do not stick: Lay one side of the plastic over the bottom of the press, place a ball of dough in the center, and fold the other side of the plastic over the dough. Shut the top of the tortillas press firmly down on the dough to shape the tortilla. (See Note.)
    3. Meanwhile, pour 2 inches of vegetable oil into a large deep pot and heat to 150° F.
    4. Drop a tortilla into the hot oil and, using a metal spatula, repeatedly douse the tortilla with the hot oil until it begins to puff up. Flip it over and, using the spatula, make an indentation in the center of the tortilla to form a taco shape. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. (Caution: Be very careful when making these. Make sure there is proper ventilation, and do not allow the oil to get too hot.) Note: If you can't get your hand on a tortilla press, a clean countertop will do. You will still need the plastic so that the dough does not stick to the counter. Place a dough ball on one side of the plastic, cover with the other side, and use a heavy skillet to press out the tortilla.
    5. Fill each taco with 2 tablespoons of cooked ground meat or shredded chicken, guacamole, beans, and cheese, or your favorite filling. Top with shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes. You are in for the treat of a lifetime.



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