Recreating Rivera’s Homemade Tortillas and Indian Butter Recipe

Rivera's Tortillas with Indian Butter
Rivera’s Tortillas with Indian Butter

Last Saturday, Jon and I had an absolutely amazing date night at Rivera restaurant in Downtown LA. We’d been wanting to try it out for ages, and were very lucky to get a gift card there as a wedding present! The food there was just incredible – we had their signature homemade tortillas and “indian butter guacamole”, shrimp ceviche, and then I had seared scallops. We also tried out a few cocktails, which were definitely the best I’ve had yet in LA. Here are a few of our favorite pictures from the meal:

Shrimp Ceviche
Shrimp Ceviche
Constantino's Revenge - Amazing Cocktail
Constantino’s Revenge – Amazing Cocktail
Scallops!
Scallops!

Tonight, using recipes from Salted, I tried to recreate the Rivera tortillas and Indian butter recipe, and I was really surprised by how well they both turned out! Indian butter is a variation on guacamole – Rivera calls it “Indian butter” because that’s what avocados were called in the early days of California. I bought the ingredients (and tortilla press!) to make the recipes at my favorite Mexican grocery story in LA – El Super in Boyle Heights. Both recipes are below — enjoy!

Tortilla Recipe

Ingredients

  • masa for tortillas
  • water
  • salt
  • chives and edible flowers (optional)
  • cling wrap
  • wax paper

1. First, make the tortilla dough. Mix 2 cups of tortilla masa with a pinch of salt and 1 and 1/2 cups of water. kneed until it becomes a dough. Roll into round balls and set aside.

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2. Cut two square pieces of cling wrap. put one piece on the bottom of tortilla press, and put a ball of dough on top. Put the second piece of cling wrap on top, close the lid, and lift the lever to press the tortilla!

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3. Take off the second piece of cling wrap, place edible flowers or herbs on top, put the piece of cling wrap back on, and press again.

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4. Slide each individual tortilla onto a piece of wax paper, and layer.

5. Heat a griddle or frying pan, and brush with olive oil. When it’s steaming add a few tortillas at a time. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve with your favorite taco filling or with Indian butter.

Indian Butter Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 2 jalapeno peppers (diced)
  • 1 Mexican white onion, or sweet yellow onion (diced)
  • about 1/4 cup of cilantro (chopped)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

1. Add the avocados to a food processor, and pulse until blended smoothly.

2. While the food processor is running add the other ingredients in order listed. Go light on the jalapeno! When everything is blended smoothly, taste, and adjust the jalapenos, salt, and pepper as desired. Serve with hot tortillas!

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Chez Panisse Eggplant and Carmelized Onion Pasta

The big news on this end is that Jon and I are moving to Baltimore! I’ll be starting a new job next month, helping to grow a really great nonprofit, and I really can’t wait to get started. We flew out to Baltimore a few weeks ago to apartment hunt, and signed a lease a really charming carriage house – quite a change from our open DTLA loft, but much more homey. The new kitchen is also absolutely gorgeous – lots of counter space! lots of light! Gas stove! I’m incredibly excited for new culinary adventures.

Back in LA, things are perpetually hot and summery as always. I’ve been pretending it’s fall by making lots of stews and hearty dinners.The other night I made my little sister Grainne’s signature pasta recipe (well, “little” sister I should say, as she’s super tall now and towers over me!). I’ve always been a bit of an eggplant addict and a pasta addict, so this really hits the spot. I think the secret to the dish really is the red pepper flakes which give it a bit of a kick!

The recipe is originally from the Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley CA, and I’ve adapted it from the online recipe, available here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1-2 yellow onions
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1-2 cups of plain tomato sauce
  • red pepper flakes
  • white balsamic vinegar
  • pasta of your choice (I use gluten free)
  • grated Parmesan or Pecorino
  • chopped Basil (for garnish)

1. Chop the eggplant into small squares. Add a generous sprinkle of salt (I use Pink Himalayan Salt) and place in a baking pan. Preheat the oven to 400. When the oven is ready, pour olive oil over the eggplant, mix to coat evenly, and bake for about 1/2 hour.

2. Once the eggplant is in the oven, finely chop the onions, and cook in a saucepan over medium heat with a sprinkle of salt for about 1/2 hour (until caramelized). When the onions look ready (translucent but not brown), add in the garlic cloves and cook for a moment more. Add a dash of white balsamic vinegar to the pan.

3. While the onion and eggplant is cooking, cook the pasta al dente, and put aside.

4. When the eggplant is ready (a bit golden on the edges), add to the saucepan with the onions. Cover with the 1-2 cups of tomato sauce, add a generous pinch or two of red pepper flakes, and cook until warm.

5. Combine the cooked pasta and the sauce. Sprinkle chopped basil on top, and serve with grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

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