Posts tagged Rick Bayless

Bacon bleu cheese guacamole

Here in Cleveland, people utter the words bacon bleu cheese guacamole in hushed tones. Celebrity chef and Cleveland native Michael Symon featured this guacamole in a Food Network episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate. The place where he sampled the guac? Lopez on Lee an unassuming restaurant in Cleveland Heights where Rick Bayless once donned the head chef hat.

I haven’t been to Lopez on Lee (the night Mr. Squid and I decided to go we ended up at a Cambodian restaurant instead). But as a guacamole fan, it’s easy to imagine how to pull off this recipe: good guac IMHO is a matter of mixing together half of your ingredients first while saving the other half to stir in. The half-and-half method makes for a creamy guac that still has chunks of flavor tucked inside.

Here’s how we make bacon bleu cheese guac at our house:

Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4 (easily doubled)


Ingredients

2 avocados

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

4 strips bacon, cooked & crumbled

1/4 cup bleu cheese, crumbled

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 clove garlic, minced (optional)

1/2 serrano or jalapeno pepper, seeded & minced (optional of Sriracha)

Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In bowl, add the inside from one of the avocados and the Greek yogurt. Mash and blend using a fork.
  2. Mix in the cumin, pepper, garlic, and half of the bleu cheese; combine until smooth.
  3. Slice the other avocado into small pieces, then stir into the smooth mixture along with the bacon and the rest of the bleu cheese crumbles.
  4. Adjust seasoning and serve with tortilla chips.

Kids’ reactions:

My teen liked the pungent flavor of the bleu cheese mixed with smoky bacon and creamy avocado. My younger two sampled small tastes but weren’t real anxious to try more. This guacamole is definitely for more grown-up taste buds. If you’re looking for a 4th of July showstopper, this is it.

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Basic chile salsa recipe

Have you ever tried making salsa from scratch? I’m not talking about pico de gallo, the chopped up tomato-onion-cilantro combo that sometimes gets mistaken for salsa. Nope, I’m thinking of Mexican salsa that comes in endless varieties and has as its base dried chiles.

Making salsa is actually easy–promise!–and doesn’t take much time. I had fun whipping up a batch yesterday with my teen and her friends. It took all of 20 minutes. We probably could have made it faster but we were chatting and sampling as we went.

Here are the basics:

  • You can find dried chiles usually in the produce section or in the Mexican food aisle of your grocery store.
  • My suggestion would be to start with larger chiles, like Ancho (my fav) or Mulato. They’re easier to seed than the smaller (but still tasty) Arbol chiles. Guajillo is right in between, but for newbies Ancho is also milder.
  • You’ll need to remove the seeds from the chiles before pan roasting them.
  • Plan on tweaking the salsa to suit your tastes: If you want to add some tomatoes to the mix, canned or fresh, by all means, go for it. If you want it sweeter, a little honey; more tart, a little vinegar. You get the idea. (I added sundried tomatoes to this batch.)
  • I triple the recipe below and then save the extras in cleaned out raspberry jam jars.

My salsa recipe turns out differently every time, so I’m passing along a tweaked version of Rick Bayless‘ Toasty Arbol or Guajillo Chile Salsa from his excellent cookbook Mexican Everyday.

Recipe

Prep time: 20 minutes

Servings: About 1 cup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 dried Ancho chiles

3 garlic cloves, peeled

4 medium tomatillos (or Roma tomatoes), cut in half

Directions

  1. Remove the stems and seeds from the Ancho chiles. How? I use kitchen shears to cut around the stem and then shake the seeds onto a paper towel, then discard.
  2. Bring the oil to medium-high heat in a heavy bottomed skillet.
  3. Add the chiles and watch carefully until they begin to soften, then remove (about 1 minute). Submerge the chiles into a bowl of hot water and let them sit while you’re preparing the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Wipe the oil out of the pan and add the garlic and tomatillos (or tomatoes), cut side down. Cook for about 2-3 minutes then place the tomatillos and garlic in a blender.
  5. Drain the water from the chiles and add them to the blender.
  6. Pour in 1/2 cup water and puree until smooth. Continue adding in water until the salsa reaches your desired consistency. I like to make it a little runnier since it will thicken a bit as it cools.
  7. Now for the tweaks: I usually add salt, a teaspoon or two of red cider vinegar and a pinch of sugar or a drizzle of honey.
  8. Serve with tacos, chips, or tostadas.
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Dinner ideas for Cinco de Mayo

My middle child happily eating tacos al pastor

Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow–are you ready? If you’re still making your dinner plans, here are a few recipes from MKES and some I’ve dug up to get you cooking something spicy.

Salsas & such

Traditional tomato salsa from Rick Bayless
If you can’t find (or make) fire-roasted tomatoes, regular varieties will work fine too. I substitute serrano peppers for the jalapenos here.

Guacamole from Cafe Johnsonia

Bring on the avacados!

Entrees

Authentic Red Chile Enchiladas

This sauce takes time, but it’s worth the effort. Plus you can freeze some for later.

Homemade Sopes and Tortillas

Making sopes

Hand-crafted tortillas are deceptively difficult to make, but the thicker, easier to flip sopes–so much easier!

Amish Nachos

Nothing authentic about ‘em, just an excuse to fuse really good bacon with some Mexican flavors.

Turkey picadillo tacos

So easy and a great way to use ground turkey.

Chili Relleno Tart from Urban Baker

Get the flavors of Chile Relleno without all the frying and mess (not that I mind frying…)

Chipolte Chilaquiles from Rick Bayless

Usually chilaquiles is made with a green salsa (and as a breakfast food) but I like the idea of adding smoky chipotles.

Tacos Al Pastor from Serious Eats

Sweet and spicy pork tacos are my all-time favorite. This recipe comes from Mark Miller’s excellent Tacos book.
Sweet Stuff

Rice pudding

So soothing after a hearty meal packed with chiles.

Mexican wedding cookies from the Joy of Baking

Melt-in-your mouth, buttery cookies that are covered in powdered sugar.

Dulce de Leche flan from Saveur

Deep caramel-flavored custard-like goodness.

Churros from The Food Network

Fried dough smothered in cinnamon & sugar. Yum!

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