Dig In: Healthy Avocados; Homemade Tortillas

Do you have questions about planting, cooking, and the best restaurants in L.A.? Send them in to our Living Editor Katherine Spiers at fooddesk@kcet.org and she may answer them in this column!

In February, I purchased a Hass avocado tree at the Chino Swapmeet from a vendor who specializes in avocado trees. The tree was young but was already close to 6ft tall. The vendor told me that I should plant it with the plastic flower pot it came in, only that I should cut the bottom out of it. I went ahead and did that and so far the tree appears to be doing fine. Did I do the right thing by doing that? Will the roots be OK surrounded by the plastic pot? -- Cesar G.

Yes! It sounds unlikely, but it's a totally reasonable method of transplanting fruit trees. The roots will eventually grow around the smaller pot. (It is best if there is a few inches of dirt between the bottom of the small pot and the bottom of the bigger pot.) In fact, avocado roots are particularly delicate, so by keeping the root ball contained it's saved from trauma in the transplanting process. As discussed last week, gardening is basically magic, but it sounds like you're on the right track.

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What is a good recipe and process for making corn tortillas? Sometimes I make them and they come out dry. -- Rudy

Assuming you're making them from masa harina, which is much easier to come by than freshly-ground corn masa, I'm going to say there are two tricks to corn tortillas: salt and hot water. Making your own tortillas is archetypal "grandma cooking," where you don't really need a recipe: just make them to taste. You'll only need a pinch or two of salt, probably. And if your previous attempts have come out dry, just add more water to the dough! As long as it doesn't fall apart, and you like the taste, you're in business. So: masa harina, salt, hot water, mixed together. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then begin forming the tortillas. Cook each tortilla on a griddle, for at least 30 seconds on each side. Then eat them. Probably with avocados.

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