La Condesa chef Rick Lopez has been trying to make the most of the coronavirus pandemic.
In the early days of the shutdown, his downtown restaurant closed for several months, which allowed him to be a full-time stay-at-home dad with his two kids, Arden and Maxine.
He usually spends 10 to 12 hours a day at the restaurant where he’s worked for the past nine years, so this was the first time he’d spent so much time with the little ones. His wife continued her work in health care while he took care of things at home, including cooking meals, often with 5-year-old Arden by his side.
After watching "Kids Baking Championship," she got really into baking, he told me on my Austin360 livestream recently, so they’d host mini competitions at home.
Now that he’s back to work — the restaurant reopened in June and continues to offer reduced-capacity dining — they still cook together, especially in the mornings before he leaves for the kitchen that is his home away from home.
One of Arden’s favorite foods is bacon, so Lopez often makes bacon and egg breakfast tacos, which he demonstrated on that video last week. (She doesn’t really like the eggs, but the bacon helps convince her to eat them anyway, he says.)
Lopez usually saves the bacon fat and then uses it to make homemade bacon fat tortillas, and Arden often helps roll them out. He says it’s been a great way for her to understand a little more about what he does all day at work, and it’s an excuse for them to spend time together and work on a food project that helps feed them for several meals, not just breakfast.
Bacon Fat Tortillas
This recipe makes quite a few tortillas, but you can cut it in half if you don’t need so many. Lopez uses a scale to measure out the ingredients, so I left the weight measurements if you’d like to do the same.
6 1/2 cups (820 grams) all-purpose flour
Generous 2 tablespoons (22 grams) baking powder
Generous 4 teaspoons (25 grams) salt
1/4 cup (51 grams) bacon fat
1/3 cup (75 grams) neutral oil
2 1/8 cups (531 grams) milk
Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt. In a small saucepan, warm the bacon fat, oil and half of the milk.
Pour cold milk into the warm mixture, and then add to the flour mixture. Mix together and then knead lightly by hand. Divide into 1 1/2-inch balls. Let rest for 15 minutes. Heat a cast-iron skillet or comal over high heat. Roll out each ball with a rolling pin and then lay on the hot surface. Cook for 1 minute or until bubbles start to form on the surface, and then flip. Continue cooking for another minute or two. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Makes about 30 tortillas.
— Rick Lopez