Friday, May 23, 2008

Weekend Cookbook Challenge 28: TV Cooks

On occasion I will cook a dish more than once, especially if it becomes a family favorite. This has been my pattern for years and years. I mean, how could you eat the same few meals, day in and day out, without variation? As they say, so many recipes, so little time.

I look for my inspiration from a variety of places, including my cookbook collection, the Internet, and, of course, television. Having access to the Food Network has always been one of my cable-TV requirements. Sometimes it takes awhile to get familiar with the Food Network TV personalities. Take Rachael Ray, for instance. A lot of people pan her, but, frankly, if you can get past the giggles and the slang, she does have some quick and delicious meal ideas. It took me some time to become accustomed to her style, but I have added quite a few of her dishes to the list of family favorites.

Several years ago, she featured her version of nachos – Super Nachos. Wow. It was an instant hit. My daughter just returned from her year at college, and this was one of her first requests.

So, since this month’s Weekend Cookbook Challenge (#28) is featuring TV cooks, I thought I would offer this as my entry. I usually make my own tortilla chips, but it’s delicious either way. Hope you all enjoy it. A big thank you to Sara at i like to cook for being the hostess this month.

Super Nachos
(adapted from Rachael Ray)

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves 4

2 bags corn tortilla chips in 2 colors or different flavors, such as blue corn, red corn, yellow corn, lime flavored, chili flavored or black bean chips -- pick 2 favorites

(Or make your own. My recipe is below.)

Pico de Gallo Salsa:
4 vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped, for medium to hot heat level
1 small white onion, chopped
1/4 cup, 2 handfuls, cilantro leaves, finely chopped -- substitute parsley if cilantro is not to your liking

Beef and Beans Topping:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ground sirloin
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dark chili powder
1 1/2 teasponns ground cumin
2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper sauce, giving you medium to hot heat level
1 can black beans, 15 ounces, drained

Cheese Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
3/4 pound pepper jack cheese, shredded, about 2 1/2 cups

Additional toppings to choose from, optional:
Sour cream
Chopped scallions
Chopped black olives
Diced pimento
Sliced avocado, dressed with lemon juice
Hot pepper sauces

Combine salsa ingredients in a bowl and set aside for flavors to marry.

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil, garlic, onion and peppers to the pan and saute 2 minutes, then add meat and crumble with wooden spoon. Season meat with salt, chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper sauce. Cook meat 5 minutes, then stir in beans and reduce heat to low.

In a medium sauce pot, melt butter and add flour to it. Cook flour and butter 1 to 2 minutes over moderate heat, then whisk in milk. When milk comes to a bubble, stir in cheese with a wooden spoon. Remove cheese sauce from the heat.

Divide chips evenly among the four plates.

Pour cheese sauce evenly over the chips and top evenly with beef and beans and the pico de gallo. Serve immediately as is or, garnish with your choice of extra toppings from the toppings list.

Home-made Tortilla Chips

6 corn tortillas

Brush both sides with oil; stack and cut into sixths. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and season with salt to taste. Bake at 350 degrees (F) for 12-15 minutes, or until crisp and golden.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Those are some deluxe nachos! Thanks for sharing such a delicious sounding recipe with us for WCC.