The very first time I had Mexican food, I made it myself. From scratch. Including the tortillas.
Why? Because, at 17 years old and coming from a background where the only ethnic foods I ever ate were pierogis or pizza, I had no idea you could buy tortillas pre-made at the store. So when one of my friends suggested that I make tacos for our group before we went out, I said okay.
I found a taco and tortilla recipe in an old all purpose cookbook my Mom had (was it the 1950's Good Housekeeping Cookbook? Wish I still had it...) and proceeded to make tortillas from water and cornmeal, and pressed them out as thin as I could with a rolling pin (not very), and then baked them on a cast iron skillet. Not bad, but certainly NOT what my high school friends expected or were used to.
Since then, I've eaten lots of different kinds of ethnic foods, some more, some less authentic, but I still enjoy making foods from scratch, even when they're readily available.
This week I made a supremely easy and delicious Fresh Tomatillo Salsa, from tomatillos we picked at Honey Brook Organic Farm - better than anything you can buy in a jar.
Two authors come to mind immediately when researching Mexican food: Diana Kennedy, and Rick Bayless.
Forthwith the recipe I adapted from Bayless' Mexican Everyday. I'm also going to try the Salsa Verde from From My Mexican Kitchen by Diana Kennedy - I've still got a lot of tomatillos! I highly recommend both of these authors and books.
Fresh Tomatillo Salsa
8 oz. tomatillos, (I used about 6, each about the size of a golf ball) papery husks removed, and rinsed
1 large garlic clove, quartered
1 jalapeno or other hot chiles, stemmed and quartered (or 5 more, if you're like my son)
1/2 cup cilantro
Blitz the garlic in a food processer first. Add the rest of the ingredients along with 1/4 cup water and process until chopped but not pureed. Serve with tortilla chips (don't have to be homemade!).