My 1st Blogiversary Top Ten Lists

Christmas day 2011. Crazy pic of me in my new apron!

Holy crow!  It’s been a year already on Hold the Croutons.

Actually, technically, it’s been a year two days ago.  Oops.  But I didn’t post my first recipe until August 31st so I don’t feel toooo bad about missing it.

So what am I doing to celebrate?  Looking at stats of course, silly.  One of my most favorite things to do.  I absolutely love looking through my stats and seeing where my readers are from (all over the world!), what you’re looking at, and how you got here.

So anyway – here are the Top 10 blog posts according to you guys – my friends and family, my regular readers, other bloggers who found me through wordpress.com, pinterest gals, and all the people who stumbled upon me by googling things like “most odd looking pizza”.

10.  Thin Crust Gluten Free Pizza Dough

9.  Zuppa Toscana

8.  Brie Smoked Ham Pear Pizza

7.  Raspberry Lemon Parfaits

6.  Roasted Tomato Soup

5.  Balsamic Steak Gorgonzola Pizza

4.  Butterbeer

3.  Salted Caramel Squares

2.  Dulce de Leche Fruit Dip

…and…by a wide margin…

1.  Apple Bacon Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze

Here are the top 10 entries according to me.  These are the recipes I am most proud of – the ones that I look forward to making again this year as we make our way through the seasons once more.   (I would make a separate list of entries I am most proud of because of the writing itself but that would take much more time than my napping babies would ever allow me.)

This was really hard to narrow down.  I started with a list twice this long.  It’s almost like choosing between my children.  I don’t want to leave any of them out!

10.  Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Maple Dijon Pan Sauce

9.  Buffalo Chicken Pizza

8.  Rustic Peach Plum Pie

7.  Arugula Salad with Peaches and Candied Bacon

6.  Seasoned Sweet Potato Fries with Pomegranate Dipping Sauce

5.  Chicken Tortilla Soup

4.  Dulce de Leche Fruit Dip

3.  Gluten Free Pizza Dough (for thicker crust)

2.  The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

 

and finally…

1.  Brie Smoked Ham Pear Pizza

Thank you all for a great first year!

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Back to School Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies

“Cookies” should probably be in quotation marks.  But we’ll get back to that in a second.

It’s back to school time for us already.  The summer went by so quickly I can’t even believe it’s over.  My oldest is now in 4th grade and my boys are starting preschool in a few days.  For all of 2.5 hours a week the baby will have me all to herself for the first time ever!  (The other 2.5 hours we’ll be at jazzercise like normal).

The weather is still summer like and I expect it will be for a few more weeks yet – which is great because there’s still a ton of stuff on our summer bucket list that we never got to do or only did once.  But with school back in session it has brought our household back to the old familiar daily grind.  The one punctuated by pick ups and drop offs and afternoon homework.  It’s time to get organized and efficient again after a glorious summer of “whenever”.

So this morning I made breakfast cookies.  It took me literally 3 minutes to mix them up and 9 to bake them.  I’ve never actually attempted anything like this before and they came out quite wonderfully!   Cookies normally start with a base of butter and sugar and these cookies contain neither.  They are substantial; soft, and cakey, and subtly sweet.  A perfect little protein-rich bite to get the kids off to school with good food in their tummies.

Speaking of good food – there are two kinds of “breakfast cookies” out there.  There are cookies masquerading as health food and there is healthy food masquerading as cookies.  These are definitely in the latter group.  Peanut butter, banana, honey, egg, and whole oats make up the bulk of these cookies.  They would also be fabulous with some chocolate chips sprinkled in but then, you know, we’d be backsliding into the world of dessert for breakfast.  (Which is fine for you and me but not for our children who have to learn stuff during the day :p)

Here they are straight out of the oven.  They’re kind of like what you’d get if peanut butter cookies and banana bread had a baby.  Does that make sense?

Sorry for the lack of pictures.  You know how I said these took sum total 12 minutes to make?  That didn’t include taking pictures throughout.  But they’re super easy to bring together so I’m sure you’ll be okay.  Now get going, I’m sure you have as much to do as I do right now!

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies

(makes 1 dozen cookies)

1 over-ripe banana, mashed

1 egg

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

3 Tbsp clover honey

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup gluten free oats (can’t wait for the day Quaker can say theirs are, for now they are not)

1/2 cup all purpose gluten free flour mix  (or regular flour if you’re not GF)

2 Tbsp nonfat powdered milk

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mash banana and beat together with egg, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla.   Combine dry ingredients (you really just want to make sure the baking soda is evenly distributed – I didn’t even get out a second bowl for this) and mix with the peanut butter mixture.

Spoon even mounds of cookie dough onto parchment lined cookie sheet.  Mixture will not be as stiff as a traditional cookie dough.

Bake 9 minutes.

Cool and serve.

Makes 1 dozen cookies.

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Sauteed Kale Caprese

Welcome to another edition of What I’ve Been Eating for a Week Straight.  I think of this as a salad but it could easily be a side dish.  Whatever it is, I have found myself preparing this easy, delightful meal for lunch on the daily this summer.  It’s…lovely.  Light and clean and balanced.  It just makes you feel good.  Unpolluted, if you will.

We’ve been eating a lot more produce and a lot less meat lately.  It’s cheaper, which is great.  But first and foremost, after watching the documentary “Forks Over Knives”, we felt compelled to make some changes to our diet.  (If you have netflix you can view it on streaming.  I highly recommend it.)   Hot dogs, blocks of cheese, and pepperoni really should not be constants in the refrigerator if you know what I mean.

We have not gone vegan, nor vegetarian, and I very much doubt we ever will.  I honestly would rather take a shortened lifespan than give up dairy.  I do loves my cheese.  But we are eating a whole lot more leafy greens, vegetables in general, and plant based proteins than ever before and that is a good thing.

You can prepare this salad in about 3 minutes.

First, mince a couple cloves of garlic and chop up a plum tomato.  Or you could use a handful of cherry tomatoes if you have them on hand – even easier!

Pour a couple tablespoons olive oil in a big, deep pan and heat over Medium High.  This is my stir fry pan – it works perfectly.

When the oil just begins to faintly smoke, add in as much chopped kale as will fit in your pan.  It’s going to reduce down in volume in just a second here.  To save time, I buy the pre-chopped, pre-washed kale in the bag.  Lunch at my house is a hectic time, man.

…Blurry, sorry…  Once the kale has gotten a little bit more manageable, maybe 30 seconds in, add in the garlic and the tomatoes.  I don’t throw the garlic in first on this one because everything goes so hot and fast it’s too easy to burn it.

After about another minute, remove your greens and other loveliness to a plate and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Salt is important in this dish!  You want salt.  Salt is good.

Next, top with a couple slices of fresh mozzarella.  The heat from the greens will just start to melt the cheese… mmmm nummy.  Again – to save time – I buy the pre-sliced stuff they sell at Sam’s Club.  I normally only top with two slices… but that makes for a bad picture so you see three here.

And lastly, drizzle the whole thing with a little balsamic glaze.  You can buy balsamic glaze at the grocery store (ours stocks it with the other vinegars), or you can make your own by  reducing a 16 oz bottle of balsamic vinegar over low-medium heat down to about 1/2 a thick, syrupy cup.  (If you’re making your own, make sure to do it on a day when you can open the windows or your whole house will smell like vinegar!)

I took the photo above out on my deck with the baby running around me with a train in hand (if you look closely you can see her).  We sat outside in the beautiful sunshine and shared our good, wholesome food.  Just a simple, happy afternoon.  Hope you all get to do the same today 🙂

Enjoy!

Sauteed Kale Caprese

4 cups raw, chopped kale

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 plum tomato, chopped (or a handful of cherry tomatoes)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced

balsamic glaze for drizzling

Instructions:

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep pan (like a wok) over Medium High heat until the oil faintly smokes.

Fill the pan with kale and, using tongs, turn it until all the kale starts to wilt, about 30 seconds.

Add in garlic and tomatoes, continuing to turn it until no raw bits of kale remain, about another 60 seconds.

Remove kale mixture to a plate and season with salt and pepper.

Top with mozzarella and balsamic glaze.

Serve immediately.

Serves 1 as a main dish, 2-4 as a side

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Arugula Salad with Peaches and Candied Bacon

This is an incredibly easy, colorful, flavorful, textural summer salad experience. I’ve eaten it two days in a row now for lunch.  And I may have it again tomorrow.  This might be a problem if it weren’t a salad.

And it all came about because I didn’t want to do dishes.

You see, the other day I was preparing some of The Pioneer Woman‘s BBQ Bacon Jalapeno Poppers.  (Sorry no recipe link – it’s only in her first cookbook)  They are to die for and have become a party staple at our house because everyone just loves them.  I could eat six of them in five minutes.  You know, I could…not that I ever did, mind you…

Anyway,  my oven safe rack was already baconed up so I thought why not make some candied bacon?!?  If you’ve never had it, candied bacon is incredibly easy to make and mind-blowingly delicious.  And what better way to consume it than over a bed of healthy baby arugula?  Score!

Here’s everything you need right here – arugula, goat cheese, peaches, and the candied bacon (we’ll get to that part in a second).   Now, I was only making salad for myself so I only have one peach here.  I’d say one peach/person would be good.  For a main dish salad anyway.  For side salads probably half a peach would work for each.

For the candied bacon – just take some bacon slices (mine were pre-cut in halves for the poppers but they don’t have to be), and toss them around in some brown sugar.

I sorta cleaned my rack for this shot.

Place them on an oven safe rack over an aluminum foil lined rimmed baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for about half an hour or until done to your liking.  (You’ll want to watch them closely after that 30 minute mark as they go from wiggly to burnt in a very short amount of time.  I left mine in a couple minutes too long and they were a bit too dark for my taste.)

Don’t you just love it when your peaches are perfectly ripe and the skin just peels right off?  Nom.  Wonderful.

For the dressing I made a super quick mustardy vinaigrette.  This is everything you need right here.  I love vinaigrettes because they’re so easy to remember and freehand with whatever you’ve got lying around.  3 parts oil : 1 part acid (vinegar or lemon/lime juice) plus flavor additions.  I love how the slight sweetness of the apple cider vinegar compliments the bacon and peaches.

If you have a cruet like this one you get to go the easy route and just pour up to the lines.  If not, it’s still really quick and easy.  (And you don’t need to add water.  That’s what the “W” stands for.  I find adding even a little bit of water makes a vinaigrette too thin unless you plan on adding a ton of dry ingredients – like a packet of salad dressing mix or something.)

The peaches are sweet, tart, and succulent.  The goat cheese tangy, creamy, and smooth.  The arugula green and dry and slightly bitter.  The bacon salty, savory, sweet, and crispy.  Paired with a simple mustardy vinaigrette that brings it all together?  Perfect.

Enjoy!

Arugula Salad with Peaches and Candied Bacon

8 cups baby arugula

4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

4 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced

6 slices bacon

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp whole grain mustard

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place an oven safe rack over it.

Dredge bacon slices in brown sugar and lay flat on rack.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until done to your liking.  Allow to cool and crumble.

Combine oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk (or shake, if you have a cruet) to emulsify.

Portion out arugula between 4 plates, top with goat cheese, peaches, and candied bacon.

Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Makes 4 main dish salads.

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Rhubarb Crumb Cake

I had a mad craving for some New York style crumb cake last week.  I obsessed over the idea for like, five days.  Which is weird since that’s about as much time as I’ve ever actually spent in NYC.  And whilst there I didn’t even have any crumb cake.  Hmmm.

Anyway… so this post is about the crumb cake, but more than that, it’s about this.

Rhubarb.  My most beloved vegetable-that-we-eat-like-a-fruit.  It grows well here in NWPA so we have several plants in our garden.  They come back every year and need very little care (my favorite kind of plant).

Have you ever gone to buy fresh rhubarb in the spring at the grocery store?  I don’t know how much it is where you are but around here it costs $6/pound.  (!!!) And it’s only available once in a while.  I don’t get why everyone doesn’t just grow their own.

Unless you are one of those people who’ve never had it or think you don’t like it.  I’ve come across you folk before.  I know.  It looks like celery.  And yes, the leaves are poisonous.  But it is a thing of beauty, a true sign of spring and all the fresh fruits and vegetables that will follow in it’s wake.  Made into a crisp, a pie, a cobbler, a coffee cake, it is sweet and tart and with a flavor all it’s own.  It goes delightfully with strawberries, raspberries, even apples.  I love it best on it’s own though.  Rhubarb pie is actually my favorite “fruit” pie.

My rhubarb in my garden often doesn’t get red.  Contrary to what you may read, there is nothing wrong with green rhubarb.  It just looks dreadful when baked into a pie with nothing else to redden it up.  Very soon, I’ll be putting up my strawberry rhubarb pie recipe.  But anyway, today, as you can see, I had some beautiful red rhubarb to pull out of my garden so I did.

First, mix up your dry ingredients.  To 140 grams of our gluten free flour blend we’re going to add 1/2 tsp Baking Powder, 1/2 tsp Baking Soda, and 1/4 tsp salt.  Whisk that all up and set it aside.

Next, in your mixer, combine 1/4 cup of oil with 1/2 cup of sugar.  Add an egg…

…1/2 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 cup sour cream.  (Blue nails!  Yikes!)

Turn the mixer down to low and add in the dry ingredients slowly.  Your batter will look like this when you’re done.

Spread the batter into a greased 8″x8″ pan.

Next, we’re going to chop up 2 cups of rhubarb and add a couple teaspoons of cornstarch, 1/4 cup of sugar (you really don’t need more in this case since we’re going to cover the whole thing in sugary crumbs in a second here), and 1/2 tsp ground ginger.  I had no idea until recently how well ginger suits rhubarb!  Cinnamon is wonderful too if you’re averse to ginger.

Toss that around until it’s all nice and coated and sprinkle it over the top of the batter.

Finally, let’s make the crumb topping.  Melt a stick of butter in a bowl and add 1/3 cup brown sugar (this is dark brown but you can use light if that’s what you have on hand), 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.  Once this is combined, you can start working in 250 grams of flour (whatever kind you use!).

It makes a fairly solid dough.  Now, the fun part.  Grab roughly equal size hunks of your ball of dough and put them all over the top of your beautiful rhubarb.  You can go as big or small as you like with the crumbs.  Your choice!

I left mine kinda big as you can see.  This is straight out of the (325 degree) oven about 45 minutes later.  The house smells AMAZING.

We totally didn’t wait until it was cool to cut into it.  Nom.  Sweet and tart and buttery.  This cake is soft and fragrant – such a wonderful early summer treat.  We ate it for dessert one night and then again for breakfast the next morning.  It’s versatile like that 😀

You know it’s going to come to this.

Enjoy!

Rhubarb Crumb Cake

(cake adapted from Ina Garten, crumb topping adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

For the cake:

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 extra large egg

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 tsp vanilla

140 grams AP GF Flour Mix (or 1 cup of regular wheat flour)

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp salt

For the rhubarb filling:

2 cups sliced rhubarb

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp ground ginger

For the crumbs:
1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

a pinch of salt

a stick of butter, melted

250 grams AP GF Flour Mix (or 1 3/4 cups regular wheat flour)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease an 8″x8″ glass baking pan.

For the cake – in a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a hand mixer or a whisk – whatever you’ve got), mix the oil and sugar on medium speed.  Add the egg, sour cream, and vanilla.

Turn mixer down to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides to make sure it’s all incorporated.  Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth.

Combine sliced rhubarb, cornstarch, sugar, and ginger.  Toss to coat and spread in an even layer over the batter.

For the crumbs – combine brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and salt with melted butter until homogenous.  Mix in flour until you have a fairly solid dough.  Tear off roughly equal size nuggets (you can really go as small or big as you like with the crumbs) to cover the rhubarb.

Bake about 45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

Allow to cool before cutting into.

Serves 9-12.

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Filed under Breakfast, Cakes, Desserts

Mango Salsa

I don’t think I ever had a mango until about five years ago.  And if you would have asked me then I would have said something to the effect of, “Mangoes are a love it or hate it kind of food.”  Wegmans says on their signs that mangoes taste like a cross between a peach and a pineapple.  I remember thinking, “Yep.  That pretty much says it all.”

I wasn’t a fan.

But over the years I kept coming across recipes calling for mangoes.  They’re actually the most popular fruit in the world.  Did you know that?  Not here in the U.S., certainly.  But there are a whole lotta people around the globe that love these peculiar, sweet, large-pitted fruits.

I first fell in love with them when I had some Mango Sticky Rice at a block party downtown a few years ago.  A very simple Thai dish of sweetened coconutty rice with slices of mango served on top – it’s one of my favorite side dishes to bring to a party for it’s ease of prep and “wow” factor.

I had actually planned on doing a whole bunch of recipes with mango since I bought a crate of beautiful Champagne Mangoes at Sam’s Club last week.  Also known as Atualfo Mangoes, they are smaller and have a softer, less fibrous texture than the regular ones.

(I just wiktionaried the plural of “mango”.  Apparently both “mangos” and “mangoes” are correct but I have always intuitively spelled it the British English way.  I was so tickled by this mundane bit of info I had to share :p)

So anyway, here is my new favorite thing to do with them.  Great for parties, healthy, easy to prepare, and impressive to folks used to eating boring old tomato salsa out of a jar.

Here are the elements – 3 ripe Champagne Mangoes (or 2 of the bigger ones), pitted and chopped (we’re just going to pretend that my mangoes are not on the verge of going bad…), some finely chopped red onion (about 1/3 cup – not a whole onion), a handful of fresh cilantro, half of a jalapeno pepper (or a whole one if you like things really hot), seeded and finely minced, 1 Tbsp lime juice (or the juice of one fresh lime), and a good size pinch of salt.

Here is a video showing one method for cutting a mango.  Also – remember to handle jalapenos with great care.  Wear gloves if you have them.  Just a little bit of juice in the eye will burn for hours.

Chop and mix it all up and you have a fresh, wonderfully flavorful salsa.  It’s sweet, spicy, refreshing, and goes magnificently with salty tortilla chips.  It may just make a mango convert out of you.

Enjoy!

Mango Salsa

3 ripe Champagne Mangoes (or 2 regular ones), pitted, skinned, and chopped

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1/2 jalapeno, membranes and seeds removed, finely minced

a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

1 Tbsp lime juice (or the juice of 1 fresh lime if you have it on hand)

a pinch of salt

Instructions:

Mix and serve at room temperature with tortilla chips.

Makes about 2 cups of salsa

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Filed under Party Fare, Sauces, Condiments, Dips etc.

Red Chile Beef Nachos

Some nights all you want is a huge plate of nachos to call it a day.

These nachos are not a last minute fix but they are not even comparable to the slop you’d get in the drive through at Taco Bell.

Ick.  Do you guys go there?  We went there in high school occasionally.  But now?  Now that I know what real food is supposed to taste like?  No, thanks.

The last two times I went there were when I was pregnant.  First trimester, sick as a dog, and it was the closest drive thru to Wegmans.  Why, I can hear you asking, if I had a car full of groceries did I not just park and grab something to eat out of the back?

Anyone who has ever been pregnant already knows the answer to this.  Because I was pregnant and if I didn’t eat something in the next few seconds  I was either going to vomit, pass out, or DIE.  I remember feeling like I couldn’t even breathe and if I didn’t eat something NOW I was going to have to pull the car over and lie down until whatsoever time I felt okay enough to drive again.

That is one aspect of pregnancy I do not miss.

So anyway, what were we talking about?  Oh yeah, really GREAT nachos.  Now, I have to give major credit to Bobby Flay on this one.  This recipe is a conversion of a conversion of a taco recipe of his that I’ve used and abused for a couple years now.  I’ve switched around a couple of the more expensive ingredients and made the whole process a bit less complicated.  I also usually use a pork shoulder for the meat but this night I had a chuck roast that needed to fulfill it’s destiny so beef it is.  (So if you have a 3 lb pork shoulder on hand you could totally use that)

Let’s start by browning a chuck roast on all sides.  I used my Dutch oven for this, the same one we’ll use again in a minute – that way we don’t have to make everything in the kitchen dirty.  Just a few minutes over medium-high heat will do it.

Next, chop up 6 cloves of garlic and a large sweet onion (like a Spanish or a Mayan).  These are actually shallots.  Because for some reason I had no onions.  Only shallots.  Who knows.  Anyway.

Now, using that same pot, over medium-high heat warm a couple tablespoons of canola oil and saute the onions until opaque (about 5 minutes).  This is when you get to scrape up all the little brown bits in the pan.  Mmmm.  Add the garlic and cook another minute more.  No longer or the garlic will burn and then you’d have to start over.

And cry.

Behold!  The world’s cheapest wine!

No, seriously, this bottle costs like $1.99.  I know they say you’re supposed to use wine that you would drink on it’s own but who can afford that???  And more to the point, I don’t even drink wine so Goya it is.  Pour a cup and a half of wine into the onions and let it reduce down almost completely.  I set a timer for 12 minutes.  Works every time.

Yum!

While that’s reducing down, grab a can of chipotle chile peppers in adobo and chop up two of them.  (Two peppers.  Not two cans worth.)

Add the chopped up chipotles and 1 Tablespoon Ancho Chile Powder to the wine-soaked onions.

This looks like I’m adding water.  I am.  And I’m not.  At this point we’re going to add 3 cups of chicken broth along with a teaspoon of dried thyme.  I use bouillon which is why we have a completely useless shot of me pouring water into the pot.  Bring it to a boil, add the meat back in, COVER IT, and stick it in the oven at 350 degrees.  We’re gonna leave it there for about 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is pull-apart tender.  (I’ve also done this in the crockpot a number of times.  In this case you only need about 1 1/2 cups chicken broth and 4 hours on high)

Meanwhile, we’re going to make our green chile salsa.

Pull out your food processor, we’re gonna use it a couple times here.  Grab a big handful of cilantro and pulse it until it’s chopped up evenly.

Then add in the can of Roasted Green Chiles, the juice of 1 lime, salt and pepper to taste, and about 10 cherry tomatoes (or equivalent amount of whatever kind of tomatoes you have on hand).  Pulse until your salsa looks something like this.

Remove the salsa from the food processor and wipe it down quickly.  Using the shredding attachment, shred 3 cups of cheese.  You could use Monterrey Jack, Pepper Jack, Colby Jack, Colby, or Cheddar.  Pretty sure this was Colby.

Or you could just grab a bag of pre-shredded “Mexican” cheese out of your cheese drawer.  Whatev.

Now let’s make our cheese sauce.  Melt 1 Tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan and whisk in 1 Tablespoon cornstarch.  Cook it for just a minute.

Next, gradually whisk in 1 1/4 cups whole milk, whisking continuously so you don’t end up with lumps.  This whole process goes so much faster and easier if you heat up the milk in the microwave first.

Bring it up to a full boil (still whisking) until it’s thick and glossy.

Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Okay, so it’s two and a half hours later and our beef is falling apart tender.  It’s on a plate right now, being shredded with my extra arms (don’t I wish).

Anyway, I have removed it from the pot and all this goodness is what’s left over.  Now, my roast was not terribly fatty so I found using a degreasing cup to be unnecessary but if you want to you can skim out the fat.  We’re gonna put this back on the burner over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, just letting it boil away until it’s reduced and thick and saucy and wonderful.  Taste it.  Give it what it needs (salt/pepper/nothing).

Oh, there’s the money shot.  Look at all that meat in our thick, rich sauce.  Heeeeeaven.

And here it is all together!  I put it on a baking sheet because…I don’t remember why.  I honestly have no idea.  Wait, I think maybe I warmed the chips in the oven for a minute first.  Maybe.  Anyway.  Layer of chips.  Layer of meat.  Drizzle of cheese sauce.  Scatterings of salsa.  To.  Die.  For.

Oh, and an electric blue Margarita on the side can’t hurt.

Enjoy!

Red Chile Beef Nachos

(adapted from Bobby Flay)

3 lb chuck roast, trimmed

2 Tbsp canola oil

1 large sweet onion (Spanish/Mayan), chopped

6 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 1/2 cups red wine

2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped

1 Tbsp Ancho Chile Powder

1 tsp dried thyme

3 cups chicken broth

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

tortilla chips

For the green chile salsa

1 (4.5 oz) can Roasted Green Chiles

10 cherry tomatoes

juice of 1 lime

large handful of fresh cilantro

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Cheese Sauce

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 1/4 cups whole milk

3 cups shredded cheese such as Monterrey Jack or Colby

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown the chuck roast on all sides (about 5 minutes).  Set aside.

In the same pan, still over medium-high heat, add canola oil and saute onions until opaque and soft (about 5 minutes).  Scrape up the brown bits during this time.  Add the garlic and cook one minute more.

Pour wine into onions and set a timer for 12 minutes.  Allow to reduce down almost completely.  There will be almost no freely moving liquid after 12 minutes.

Add chicken broth, chipotle chiles, ancho chile powder, and thyme and bring to a boil.  Add the meat back into the pot, cover, and place in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours or until meat is falling apart tender.  (Alternately, you can do this in the crockpot on high for 4 hours.  Just reduce the chicken broth to 1 1/2 cups)

While meat is cooking, make salsa and cheese sauce.  Add cilantro, tomatoes, green chiles, lime juice, salt, and pepper to food processor.  Pulse until your salsa is chunky.  This will not take long so don’t overdo it or you’ll end up with soup.

In a medium saucepan, melt 1 Tbsp butter.  Whisk in 1 Tbsp cornstarch.  Cook for a minute then gradually whisk in whole milk.  Bring to a full boil, whisking constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

When meat can be easily shredded with a fork remove it from the oven, set it on a platter and let it rest 10 minutes.  Shred.

Meanwhile, on the stovetop, set the meat juices over medium-high and bring to a boil.  Let it reduce down for about 15 minutes, until what’s left is thick and saucy.  Add the shredded meat and toss to coat.

Assemble.  Chips, meat, cheese, salsa.   If you like, you can warm the tortilla chips in the oven before assembling.

Eat.

Serves a crowd.

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Filed under Main Dishes, Party Fare