Composed Nachos

These alone are almost a meal. When artfully arranged as described below, they are beautiful

and look like a sunflower—a picture really worth eating. The crispy, cheesey nachos serve as a

scooper for the guacamole, refried beans and garnish!

 

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

Oven Temperature: 425 F

Baking Time: 17 minutes about

6 (6-inch) corn tortillas, crisp-fried or baked

1 cup mixed shredded Monterey Jack cheese and Cheddar cheese

¼ cup thinly sliced fresh or pickled jalapeno chiles, or to taste

1cup or more Guacamole (recipe, follows)

1 cup or more Refried Beans (recipe, follows)

2 Tablespoons each chopped onion, fresh tomato, and ripe olives

2 Tablespoons dairy sour cream, optional

1. Deep fry the whole tortillas in vegetable oil heated to 375 F until crisp, about 22 seconds each. If baking the tortillas, preheat the oven to 425F. Arrange tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet, topped with a smaller baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes, then remove the top, smaller sheet and finish baking about 7 more minutes or until crisp. Prepare Guacamole and Refried Beans. Generously sprinkle cheeses on tortillas. Bake about 5 more minutes or until cheese melts.

2. Cut each cheesed tortilla into four pieces like a pie. Arrange them on a round large plate or platter, placing them in an overlapping chain – the point of one slightly overlapping the top of the next. Position a mound of Guacamole in the center of the platter. Spoon a circle of beans around the outside edge of the Guacamole. Garnish with jalapeno slices, onion,

tomato, and olives. Top beans with sour cream, if desired.

PERFECT GUACAMOLE

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Guacamole at its best! For greatest flavor, appearance and keeping quality–always cut avocados with two knives into coarse chunks about 1/2 inch square.

Yield: 4 servings

2 ripe avocados (preferably Haas)

½ teaspoon salt

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste

1 medium-size tomato, chopped

¼ cup finely chopped Spanish onion

1 medium fresh jalapeno, minced

2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

1. Halve the avocados; scoop pulp into a bowl. Coarsely chop with two knives. Add salt and garlic; then slowly add lime juice to taste.

2. Fold in tomato, onion, chiles and cilantro, being very careful not to over mix. Let stand a few minutes before serving to allow flavors to blend.

3. Taste and adjust seasonings. Some like spicy guacamole, while others like it quite mild. Often piquancy is best determined by the other foods you are serving. If some like it hot and others don’t, a solution is to serve a side dish of spicy salsa or freshly minced jalapeno.

4. Serve guacamole in a Mexican pottery bowl and garnish the top with a few tostados thrust into the top. Serve with a basket of tostados. As a salad, serve over chopped lettuce and garnish each serving with a cherry tomato.

FRIJOES REFRITOS with JALAPENO CHILES

(Refried Beans with Pickled Jalapeno chiles)

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I think most refried beans just occupy space in a rather ugly way. They are tasteless and gooey looking. When made this way, refried beans are very flavorful and excellent as a side dish and in nachos and many Southwestern specialties. The addition of the chopped, pickled jalapenos adds a nice bit of spicy flavor, however you can certainly leave them out.

Yield: 4 servings

1 Tablespoon lard, bacon drippings or butter

1 garlic clove, minced

1 Tablespoon finely chopped Spanish onion

2 cups cooked pinto beans or 1 (16-oz.) can pinto beans

Salt & freshly ground pepper

1 to 2 Tablespoons chopped, pickled jalapenos

1. Melt lard in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, and as soon as it starts to barely turn golden, add the onion. Then immediately add the pinto beans with a little liquid and mash them, using a potato masher or a heavy wooden spoon, leaving some of the beans almost whole. Mash the beans as they fry, adding additional liquid or chicken stock as needed.

2. Fry over medium heat about 15 minutes, turning to prevent burning, until the beans reach a thick, paste-like consistency. Stir in the chopped, pickled jalapenos if desired. Serve piping hot.

 

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