When Americans discovered the tortilla, it was like discovering gold.

Maybe not as dramatic as the stampede to the California gold fields, but a steady, beaten path to the refrigerated section of the grocery store to purchase tortillas.Our addiction began with the lowly taco, but we soon discovered enchiladas, burritos, tosatadas and chimichangas - different fillings wrapped in a tortilla. "The Well-Filled Tortilla" cookbook explores the versatile, yet basic ingredient in Mexican cooking, then stuffing it with predictable fillings.

Tortilla means "little cake." That definition describes the thin, flat, unleavened cake of corn or wheat flour.

According to the authors, "Corn tortillas are the more flavorful kind because they are twice cooked. First lime-soaked corn is boiled to soften it. Then when it is turned into dough and patted into cakes, it is baked or fried. The flavor of corn tortillas, when made from fresh corn dough or masa, is unmistakably nutty and seedy, like corn on the cob grilled on a barbecue, or the best of buttery popcorn."

Flour tortillas, on the other hand, can be made very large - large enough to hold an entire meal. They are also more delicate and flakier than corn tortillas.

Whole wheat and blue cornmeal tortillas are also available.

Whatever the tortilla, it becomes a wrapper or envelope surrounding a vast array of fillings.

Through the recipe selections, the tortilla travels to collect surprising fillings from cuisines throughout the world. Examples are an Indian-style Curried Chicken, Black Beans With Mango and Fried Lemon, Oriental Beef Stir-fry or Greek Ground Lamb, Eggplant and Squid.

Stuff a familiar tortilla with an unfamiliar, adventurous filling.


Recipes listed:


Oriental Stir-Fry Beef

All-American Ground Turkey

Indian Style Lentils