One dish two versions. That’s what we got going on today. Nachos! Rob of Countryside Food Rides and I got together and figured we could do this He Said, She Said type post where we choose one dish and see how two different people would interpret it, particularly a guy and gal. You must check out Rob’s Grill Photo Index, filled with incredibly delicious foods coming from his grill, Wok, and get this- Wood Fired Oven (WFO). Did I mention he has a smoker too? Yeah. This guy has it going on with cooking toys. Not only that, he is into bikes, I think he has three. His posts are also indexed by date, destination, and bike or other mode of transportation. One mode that caught my eye was the Eddie Bauer 01-750MAC. Never heard of that bike, and no wonder, its his kid’s stroller and has to be one of the funniest post I had read in a while. But what I found most intriguing about the post was his description of his hobby Pizza Making in his WFO. I hope he teaches us more about it on his blog. Although we have never met in person and are hundreds of miles apart, I had a good time cooking Nachos with Rob, and I can’t wait to see what he created. But what I really hope to gain is his Atomic Buffalo Turds recipe. Rob?
Building the Perfect Nachos- My Version
For me, Nachos is all about building layers of flavors that compliment and work well together. I like smokey (my chili and TJs Smoke seasoning blend), creamy (sour cream), sweet and spicy (peppers), tangy (beer queso), herby (cilantro), sour (lime juice), salty (chips), crispy (chips), and a variety of textures for my Nachos. Click on the photo above for the elements of my Nachos.
One thing I decided to try with this Nacho building was adding that element of surprise, by slightly adapting my friend Rindy’s Perfect Hot and Sweet Pickles for these Nachos. Instead of using pickles, I used jalapenos and left out the hot sauce. I was very giddy with the results which were very spicy hot, very sweet, and a very garlicky little peppers for my Nachos. The photo above is the jalapenos layered with sugar and garlic, my adaptation recipe below.
Here is where my friendship and following Joan’s blog Foodalogue comes in to play. I have followed Joan for about 4 years now, and one of the greatest things I have learned from her is that just because the meal is cooked does not mean it is finished. She encourages her readers to be creative and deliberate in choosing a dish’s finishing touches, such as a splash of balsamic, that pinch of pepper, that drizzle of good olive oil, a squeeze of citrus, or a dice of color like red peppers or fresh herbs. Lately when my meal is (almost) finished I ask myself, What Would Joan Do- WWJD? Giggle. With my Nachos, I answered that question with cilantro, limes, and Trader Joe’s Smokey Spice Blend to grind over the Nachos. What a bang the little blend gave to that initial bite into my Nachos, while my taste buds worked their way through layers upon layers of flavors that all worked. Just plain ole worked.
Here is Zuzu building his Nachos in an aluminum pie plate. The chips and some cheese went into the pan, the pan went under the broiler for a minute, and the hot chips and melted cheese were topped with whatever he wanted. This is a really fun idea for entertaining guests, and very easy too. I think we will be doing this more often.
Sweet Hot Jalapenos- adapted from Rindy’s Perfect Pickles
1 32 ounce jar Hot sliced Jalapenos
2 cups sugar
2 T. flaked or minced dried garlic, not powdered or granulated
Instructions for Jalapenos:
Turn jar of jalapenos over in a strainer and allow to drain for about 4 hours. Remove peppers from jars and start layering the peppers with sugar and the garlic. Press down each layer with the back of a ladle. It will all fit! Secure lid and store on countertop for 4 days, turning the jar over each day. You can leave this at room temperature or store in the refrigerator. Makes 1 quart.
12 ounces Applewood smoked bacon, chopped
one red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground chuck
3 T. dark chili powder
1 T. smoked paprika
2 t. roasted cumin powder
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2-1 t. chipotle chili powder
1 T. cocoa powder
28 ounce can ground crushed tomatoes
Kosher salt, to taste
Instructions for Chili:
In a large skillet, brown bacon. Remove bacon from pan to drain on paper towels. Remove bacon grease from pan leaving about 2 T. to fry the onions. Cook onions until nicely browned, but not burnt. Stir in garlic and cook for one minute. Add beef and cook until browned. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, chipotle, and cocoa powder. Stir well and cook a few more minutes, the add the tomatoes and bacon. Stir well, add salt to taste. Let simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.
8 ounces freshly grated pepper jack cheese
8 ounce freshly grated mild cheddar cheese
2 T. flour
1 cup beer
1 t. mustard powder
Kosher salt to taste
Instructions for Queso:
In a large pan over medium heat, bring beer to a simmer. Toss cheeses in a bowl with flour to coat and slowly whisk into beer. Add mustard powder and cook until the queso is thickened and smooth. Do no allow to come to a boil. Check your sauce to see if salt is needed, and salt if required. Remove pan from heat, and keep warm.
Note- Do not use pre-grated, packaged cheese, it gets gloppy.
Other Items Suggestions for your Pie Pan Nachos
Fresh or jarred salsa
Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
Sliced Black Olives
Sliced Green onions
Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn- in the freezer section, cooked and drained
Sour Cream thinned with a little milk to drizzle
Black beans or pinto beans
Smokey Blend grinder seasoning
Tostito Chips- try a variety of flavors, shapes and types- corn or flour
Go on over to Rob’s “He Said” Nacho post. It’s Smokin Hot! And that shredding meat gizmo tool he uses to shred the chicken, I want one.