Where chips and cheese unite

Friday, April 2, 2010

Chicago Students Protest School Lunch, Hurt Nacho's Feelings

Apparently, the days of tater tots and those chocolate eclair ice cream bars are under fire. Add to the mix the fight against our beloved, cheesy delight and you've got a molten cheddar debate. It's not to say kids shouldn't be eating better. This we can all agree on. It's just that the PB&J option or that ham and cheese on white was never for the cool kids (and creates stinky ham breath). Reputations to keep, people. Reputations.

But it's not just the parents who find issue with the school system's idea of a healthy lunch, it's now the kids. According to the Chicago Tribune, kids joined forces to speak out against the current lunch choices at the monthly Chicago Board of Education meeting, citing one (lame) student as detailing the "sickening pizza, chicken sandwiches and nachos" the district serves each day.

Of course the $58 million a year contract Chartwells-Thompson with the school district begs the question... couldn't they just get a better deal with Denise over at Taco Bell?


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cheesy Recipeesy: Berry Dessert Nachos

At first, we were incredibly confused by the very name of it, but hey, we're open minded. Check out this creative recipe found on eBay Guides for sweet, not savory, nachos to eat after, say, your regular nachos. This desert only look dangerous, but its actually a great solution for diabetics seeking a sweet fix. Try it out and tell us what you think.

Berry Dessert Nachos
Makes 6 servings
Prep: 15 minutes Bake: 8 minutes

What You Need:
3 8-inch plain or whole wheat flour tortillas
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup fat-free or light dairy sour cream
3/4 cup frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups fresh raspberries and/or blackberries
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
1 tablespoon grated semisweet chocolate

How You Work the Magic:
Preheat oven to 400 degree F. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, dessert topping, vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon. Cover and chill while preparing tortillas. Lightly brush both sides of each tortilla with melted butter. In a small bowl, stir together sugar and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle over tortillas. Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges; arrange on two ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp. Cool completely. To serve, divide tortilla wedges among six dessert plates. Top with raspberries and/or blackberries and sour cream mixture. Sprinkle with almonds and grated chocolate.

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A Dicey Contraption: OXO's Over the Sink Cutting Board

Here's a dicey contraption you'll love to love when you're making salsa or pico de gallo. The OXO GOOD GRIPS Over the Sink Cutting Board is great for saving counter space for the rest of the assembly line, among other things. This bad boy stretches to fit over any sink and has a perforated stainless steel food basket that sits beside the board which you can slide to your heart's desire so that when you dice up your tomatoes, you can just push everything right in there. Then, pull out the basket and bring it to your mixing bowl.

We love the easy transfer of "Stuff" and the fact that the juice leftover can make it straight to the sink. Our dogs, however, are wildly disappointed with this on account of the mess-free kitchen floor. Non-slip edges, odor free and won't dull your dicing knives. Plus it's dishwasher safe. Translation: It's kinda awesome.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cheesy Recipeesy: Popcorn Nachos

For those of us who never thought the words "popcorn" and "nachos" could live together in harmony, Mrs. Williams of Ventura, CA aims to prove us wrong. Her spicy crowd pleaser recipe on our new favorite website, Allrecipes.com, mixes two of the best inventions maybe ever (excluding TP, which just goes without saying).

What You Need:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 gallon popped popcorn
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

How You Work the Magic:
In a small bowl, mix together butter, crushed red pepper, cumin and paprika. Place popcorn in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the butter mixture and Cheddar cheese. Toss until well mixed.

Best Ever Allrecipes User Review:
"Not too spicey for my "Ash-ba-gash"! Her asbestos mouth really loved this after school snack. We decided to use cayenne instead of the pepper flakes. Ty thought it was a little too much for her, but she ate quite a bit anyway. Gotta go before my PC bids me farewell again and one of my favorite "I Love Lucy" episodes is on anyway."

Amazing. Let us know what you think.


The Dish: Half King, Whole Lotta Nachos

Hiding out in the West Village under the old New York train tracks is a great little happy hour joint/not little restaurant called Half King. With $4 drafts and $7 drink specials from 4-8, you can find hordes of locals piled high after a long day. The ye olde London style, rough wooden tables and, of course, Tortilla Thursdays, make this place a comfortable/non fancy-pants place to be.

Sit at the bar on Thursdays and enjoy free chips and salsa from 5-8, plus $7 bottles of Corona and a shot of house tequila, which you may forget about the next morning. Sold.

Have a seat at one of the picnic style tables and order up a plate of their ground beef nachos piled high on blue corn chips with sauteed green peppers, onions and tomatoes and cheese. The usual sides: guac, salsa, sour cream. These perfect for two (or me) palate pleasers are a pretty good example of the Stuff-to-Chip. The negatives: not really a lot of cheese, though the flavor is good enough you may not miss it. Too juicy soggies it up pretty fast, so you gotta be quick about it. You've been warned.

All in all, order the nachos. You won't be disappointed. At least not until much, much later.


Man Down! Man Down!

A moment of silence as we celebrate the life of Carmen Rocha, the woman, waitress (read: myth/legend) who introduced L.A. to nachos.

That's right. NPR reports that the late Rocha "started working at El Cholo Mexican restaurant in 1959. She brought a special treat from Texas: tortilla wedges, shredded cheddar cheese and slices of jalapeno pepper. One cookbook writer told the Los Angeles Times, 'If they were called 'Carmens,' not nachos, her name would be remembered forever.'" I think this is something we all can agree with.

Next time you're in L.A., visit, order and pay respects:

El Cholo
1121 S. Western Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(323) 734-2773


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Kurt Russell Cheese in Grindhouse: Death Proof

Even Quentin Tarantino can appreciate the importance of nachos in pop culture. In his part of the terrific/horrific double feature Grindhouse: Death Proof, actor Kurt Russell (seriously, how cool was he in Overboard) takes out a plate of piled-high cheese making us consider switching our order to a salad. Thanks for including the world's best food, but gross. Enjoy this video while attempting to diet. It's way better than buying the Jillian Michaels' work out DVDs and a lot less emotionally scaring.

Healthy Nacho Habits Sans Botulism

Of course you can get incredible abs, gluts and guts with nachos. Thanks to Amazon's wide aray of everything you may or may not ever need in your life, we found this exciting package of tasty treats: Kay's Naturals Non-Gluten Protein Chips in Chili Nacho Cheese flavor. Why? Because getting your daily dose of fiber in ranch or sour cream and onion wouldn't be nearly as enticing.

This almost makes up for that time last year when -- having absolutely nothing to do with the above -- a "life-threatening case of botulism... left a 26-year-old man in intensive care after he ate a pre-packaged nachos meal". Why! Whyyy!!!


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cheesy Recipeesy: DIY Chili's Queso Dip

Unless you're living in suburbia, you probably don't often book it to Chili's for a fine dining experience. If you are, be sure to get the Queso Dip appetizer for a cheesy delight. For the traveler, you probably only get to dip your chips at the airport during a delay (that, admittedly, sounded funny).

Figuring out exactly what makes up this recipe is a bit mysterious, but we did dig up a few hacks by copycats who crave the cheese. Some used cream cheese, some used processed mystery cheese, some used unmentionable items like soy cheese. Here's the least disgusting recipe we've found for the Chili's treat, even though their still using canned chili (ew).

What You Need:
16 ounces Velveeta cheese
1 (15 ounce) can Hormel no-bean chili
2 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

How You Work the Magic:
Cut the Velveeta into cubes. Combine the cheese with the remaining ingredients in medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir frequently until cheese melts then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minute. Serve with hot tortilla chips for dipping.


The Dish: Crazy Burrito the Size of a Chihuahua

When you venture out to the good ol' Willyburg, Brooklyn you'll no doubt come across the El Loco Burrito. What an insider tells us (insider being the guy who works at our fav chotchkee shop) is that of their three locations, el numero tres (El Loco Burrito III on Bushwick Ave.) is by far the best. Why? Who knows. What's important is they offer free delivery.

Try out their Chili Beef Burrito. This puppy (meaning puppy-sized) delight is packed with Mexican beef chili, long grain brown rice or Mexican rice, pinto or black beans, Monterey Jack Cheese, spices, pico de gallo and sour cream all wrapped in a spinach tortilla for a teensy $5.

Tips from a regular: Try black instead of pinto beans, lay off the sour cream, and if you can, go pick it up and eat immediately. While this may be one of the best burritos in the land, it tends to soggy up pretty quickly. And while this is by no means a dining establishment, watch soccer en espanol and grab a Corona for that truly East Burg/Bushwick experience. And tell them we said hi.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Nacho + Dog = American Dog

At first site of NaChews Tortilla Chips for Dogs -- that's right -- one can only wonder about the moment a marketing person stood up and said, "I got it!", and the team of marketing people at the marketing round table responded, "Brilliant!". But then we came across this fab Photoshop jobby of this dog lying, rolling next to a bag of these cheesy flavored raw hides and we couldn't agree more.

The ol' reliable Eye Witness News Team is reporting that 40% of pets are overweight in America. No idea why, but please read this darling story about Punim, a 19lb. pup who we defend as really just big boned. Lay off the Matzoh Balls... loaded with carbs.



Bringing you more cheese per square inch, the Nacho Blog may take its time off here and there, but it'll always come back for more. Starting things back up, check out the latest and greatest of eBay nacho-bilia. And bid. Because.

For the Skating Rink Rat

Reel-em-in Headline: "Funacho Nacho Cheese Machine With Potion Control Nacho"
The eBay seller's sales pitch: "
Enjoy the taste of Nachos without the mess or hassle of a crock-pot. Bag-In-The-Box Cheese has been the leading way to sell Nachos for the past 10 years."

Buy it Now Price: $320

Our Response: mmm Bag-In-The-Box Cheese

For the Light Bright Fan

Reel-em-in Headline: "NACHOS Mexican Food OPEN Bar Pub Neon Light Sign"
The eBay seller's sales pitch:
"More Elegant ! It's Important !"

Buy it Now Price: $18.99
Shipping cost: $16.99

Our Response: Sooo elegant, sooo important


Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Dish: Nachos Gone Loco

After a long day at the grind, idly staring at that blinking cursor on the blank Word document, you very well may get that familiar craving for a plate of delicious nachos. But just as you're recovering from your boss's shenanigans, you may also lack any motivation to make them yourself or trek to some restaurant for a long wait. The good news is if you live in New York you are privy to arguably some of the best delivery nachos around.

San Loco, with three locations in the City, may be tiny and a bit rough around the edges for, say, a date at their restaurants but order their nachos from home and you will not be disappointed. Always hot on arrival, these delivered goods are chock full of Stuff--ground beef, beans, guacamole, lots of cheese, pico de gallo, and lettuce. And while the chips are hefty, be warned that if you don't eat these babies upon arrival, you may be faced with a soggy problem. We are, however, willing to let that slide considering how good, cheap, and fast they are for quality, consistent Mexican food. Normally those words wouldn't be allowed to go together, but we're willing to make an exception if the job is done right, which it unquestionably is.

San Loco delivers from noon until midnight, Sunday through Wednesday--and until 4 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

  • 151 Avenue A (btwn 9th & 10th St), 212-982-5653
  • 124 2nd avenue (btwn 7th St. & Mark's Pl), 212-260-7948
  • 111 Stanton Street (btwn Essex & Ludlow), 212-253-7580 --Now Serves Alchy


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Cheesy Recipeesy: Nuked Nachos

Even though we at The NaCho Blog are very pinkies up about our nachos, that doesn't mean you have to be an Iron Chef to win our graces. Sometimes when things get rough, you can't afford the aforementioned dicer, or it's 3 a.m. and you somehow know better than to pick up a knife, let's make it clear right now that in these cases it is ok to use your beloved microwave.

Dave Lieberman from Epicurious.com brings this quicky method home with his Young and Hungry recipe for Nuked Nachos. So don't be ashamed of that random can of beans in the back of your cabinet, be proud of that bag of chips... it's ok with us. Because as good ol' Dave puts it, "A few minutes in the microwave makes everything warm and gooey." Amen, Dave, amen.

What You Need:
One 16-ounce can refried beans
1/2 cup reduced-fat or regular sour cream
3/4 cup bottled salsa
1 cup shredded Cheddar or Mexican Blend cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
A few big handfuls of yellow corn tortilla chips

How You Work the Magic:
With a large spoon spread out the beans in a ring on a large microwave-safe dinner plate, leaving clear about 4 inches in the center of the plate. That's where you're going to pile the chips. Smear the sour cream and then the salsa over the beans. Sprinkle about half of the cheese and then the cilantro over everything. As you build up the layers, be sure to leave the space in the center of the plate empty.

Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove the plate from the microwave, pile the chips in the center of the plate, and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the chips. Return the plate to the microwave and nuke again on high for 1 minute, until the cheese has melted. Use a pot holder to take the plate out of the oven; it will be hot. Dash with a couple pinches of chopped cilantro. Serve hot.

Makes 1 big plate.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Dicey Contraption: Nicer Dicer

After I admit that, yes, I do have a thing for cheesy late night gadget infomercials, I will explain to you why, for a change, they may be worth while during your evening insomnia.

I saw an infomercial the other night advertising--in typical over-the-top "you need this" fashion--something called the Nicer Dicer. It's basically a kitchen gadget that cuts prep time by allowing users to put half an onion (tomato, pepper, mushrooms, etc.) on the waffle blade, press the lid down, and voila... the whole thing lands in a plastic container in tiny pieces. Now I'm not the type to spend $50 on the "...and if you call now, we'll throw in these ten useless items you won't know where to store," so I did a bit of homework.

What did I find? A bargain perhaps? You betcha. My favorite NYC time waster, Bed Bath and Beyond, carries a similar product by a company called Progressive. It runs $14 and while it may not be something to bring into the restaurant kitchen, it most certainly does the trick. I made a chop salad, bruchetta, omelets and you better believe this with make a swell pico de gallo or salsa for your nachos. It also has measurement markings on the bottom so you don't over Stuff to Chip (of course they did that knowingly). So pick one up, throw anything in there, dice to your heart's content and then load those chips with your favorite Stuff in a jiffy.

And if you call now... ok, just kidding.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Cheesy Recipeesy: Chile-Rubbed Sirloin and Green Chile Nachos

Who says you can't eat nachos with your pinkies up? Sara Moulton, the executive chef of Gourmet magazine, certainly sees no problems spicing up your usual cheesy treat with a chile rubbed steak. All together now, yummm.

As she tells it, "The inspiration for these ultra-macho nachos comes from a diner in Sante Fe, New Mexico, where I was served an enormous platter of charcoal grilled steak blanketed with fire-roasted green chiles and sharp cheese," Moulton says. "Now I make the same dish at home, cooking up enough steak for leftovers to enjoy as nachos the next day."

And if you aren't already drooling over the chile rubbed steak, check out the recipe for the avacado crema. In the words of Robin Young...er...Sissy Biggers, "Ready Set Cook!"

Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Yield: 1 tray

Green Chile Nachos:
4 to 5 ounces corn tortilla chips
8 ounces shredded Monterey jack (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup canned roasted green chilies,
or 2 roasted and peeled green chiles, diced
1 recipe Chile-Rubbed Sirloin, diced, recipe follows
3 ounces shredded 4 or 6 Italian blend cheese (about 1 cup)
Avocado Crema, recipe follows
Finely sliced lettuce and chopped onion, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F or preheat the broiler, with the rack positioned about 7 inches from the top of the oven or the heat source.

Assemble the nachos: Arrange the chips on a 12 by 18-inch baking sheet or ovenproof platter. Top each chip with a layer of Monterey Jack, followed in order by the chiles, sirloin, and cheese blend.

Bake the nachos for 5 to 7 minutes, or broil, until the cheese is soft and bubbly.

Before serving, squeeze streaks of Avocado Crema and Chipotle Mayonnaise, to taste, over the nachos, if using, and garnish with lettuce and onions.

Chile-Rubbed Sirloin:
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red chile
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
3/4 pound sirloin steak
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce (recommended: Kikkoman)

In a small bowl, combine the salt, chile, cumin, garlic, cinnamon, and pepper. Rub the steak all over with the mix. Set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Heat a grill or the broiler until very hot. Rub the steak all over with the olive oil and soy sauce. Grill or broil the steak very close to the heat, about 3 minutes per side, until medium rare. Set aside for 10 minutes before slicing or dicing.

Yield: 1 steak
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes

Avocado Crema:
1 ripe avocado, peeled and pit removed
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons lime juice (from about 1 1/2 limes)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt

Puree all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Funnel into a squeeze bottle. The mixture should be thin enough to streak easily. If not, add a few drips more lime juice or buttermilk. Plug the top of the nozzle with a toothpick and chill until read to use. The mixture will keep for 2 days refrigerated.

Yield: 1 1/3 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Dish: Belmont Sans Cheese

I love the Belmont Lounge in NYC for some after work drinks. The mood lighting helps relax the eyes after a full day in front of the computer screen, the drinks are never watered down and the service is always friendly (especially when they give comp drinks). But what I will say is that after last night's first taste of their house nachos, my A+ rating of the joint took a bit of a nose dive.

The nachos, which were a blue chip bonanza, were really just that. Lots of chips, and not much else. Suffice to say Belmont broke the cardinal sin of under Stuff-to-Chip ratio. They looked promising with a bit of melted shredded cheese, smoky black beans (which I generally dislike), and some of their tasty pico de gayo, but a few chips in and my nacho partner and I were all out of Stuff. Had it not been for the always delicious Jack and Cokes and the company, Zagat would've gotten a phone call. Tsk.


Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Nachos to the Highest Bidder

Just in case you can't get your hands for some reason you are stuck to your computer chair with no hope of ever leaving, nachos lovers everywhere can still get theirs from the most well known auction site in the world, eBay. That's right kiddies and coach potatoes, we've decided to scan the far reaches of eBay to find you a way to get your hands on some cheesy cheese memorabilia via the good ol' internet. Take a look at some of the best and most bizarre around:

For the Fisherman At Heart

The eBay seller's sales pitch: "Nachos Chip that looks like a bass!!!!! Found in my nachos"

Current bid:US $0.99
End time: May-10-06 17:58:54 PDT (1 day 7 hours)
Shipping costs: US $1.00USPS Priority Mail
Item location: Tulsa, OK, US
History: 1 bid

Our response:

For the Artist

The eBay seller's sales pitch: This J&M Trading auction is for a very nice folk art piece painted on a carved cutout wood board. Vibrant colors make this a really cheerful painting with the Southwest flavoring of nachos, cheese, & jalapeno peppers. It measures 24" x 24" and the board is 1/2" thick. Great hanger for the kitchen or in a restaurant!

Starting bid: US $5.00
End time: 8 hours 22 mins (May-09-06 19:16:59 PDT)
Shipping costs: US $14.95Other (see description)
Ships to: United States
Item location: DOWNEAST MAINE, United States
History: 0 bids

Our response:
Seriously, why isn't anyone bidding on this?

For the Organized


Starting bid: US $15.99
Price: US $17.99
End time: May-13-06 22:48:15 PDT (4 days 11 hours)
Shipping costs: US $5.95 USPS Priority Mail
Ships to: Australia, N. and S. America, Europe, Asia
Item location: Addison, IL, United States
History: 0 bids

Our response:
You know what time it is?


Monday, May 8, 2006

The Dish: Post Cinco Heartland Cheese

I don't know about you, but I made good use of last week's Cinco de Nacho holiday. At the lunch bell, it was nacho time. Destination: Heartland Brewery, Union Square. Now you may be wondering why the last few nacho reviews came from random food chains, but we certianly can't leave them out just because their not from south of the border, can we?

Heartland's nachos have a lot of promise and a little creativity. They went the route of the tri-colored chips, which had they not been over Stuffed, would've held up quite well. That's right folks, a classic case of over Stuff-to-Chip. The Stuff: tasty seasoned ground beef, melted shredded cheese, plenty of diced tomatoes to go around, pinto beans, chickpeas (an interesting, yet delicious inclusion), lettuce, guac, and the sour cream and jalapenos on the side. I must say, if they had toned down the quantiny, not quality, of the Stuff and drained the meat before dousing the chips, they'd have really aced our rigorous test. As for taste, it was more than superb--dare I say yummy even--but let's not forget the golden rule of nachos: keep the chips strong and the Stuff-to-chip ratio even Steven.

On the plus, their beers are some of the best around and certainly wash down any of your nacho critiques with ease. I always, with or without nachos, highly recommend Heartland's Snake Bite. It's a sweet mix of their Red Rooster Ale and their apple cider for that little extra bite (pun intended).


Friday, May 5, 2006

Cheesy Recipeesy: Cinco de Nacho Appeteasers

Rachael Ray's Garlicky Holy Guacamole!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

2 ripe small Hass avocados
1 lemon, juiced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 small plum tomato, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 small yellow skinned onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Blue corn tortilla chips, for dipping

Cut avocados in half around the pit. Separate the halves. Pop out pit with spoon, then scoop flesh of avocados into a bowl. Squeeze the juice of a lemon over the avocados. Squeeze the juice with the lemon halves facing cut-side up, allowing the juice to spill down over the sides of the lemon into the bowl. This method keeps the seeds in the lemon and out of the guacamole. Add garlic, jalapeno, tomato, onion and salt to the bowl. Mash and mix the ingredients into a chunky dip using a fork. Serve with blue corn tortilla chips.

Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh's Roasted Corn, Jicama and Mango Salad

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

4 ears fresh corn, unshucked
1 large jicama, peeled and thinly julienned
1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
Citrus vinaigrette, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the ears of corn on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove and let cool. When the corn has cooled, shuck it and stand it on end. Using a sharp knife, run the blade down the cob to cut the kernels off. Rotate the cob and repeat until all the kernels have been cut off.
Combine the jicama, mango, red onion and cilantro in a large mixing bowl. Add the cooled corn, and toss with the vinaigrette. Chill until ready to serve.

Citrus Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
2 teaspoons sugar Dash hot sauce
1 cup olive oil Salt pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
Yield: 1 1/4 cups

In a large bowl combine the lime juice, orange juice, orange zest, sugar and hot sauce. Whisk together and slowly add the olive oil, whisking as you go. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and cilantro and whisk until combined.

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Cheesy Recipeesy: Cinco de Nacho Drinky Drinks

It's that time of year folks... time to party Nacho style. The NaCho Blog's got your Cinco de Mayo celbration covered... with cheese. Dip your fingers into these tasty holiday recipes and get the party started.

Bobby Flay's Cactus Pear Margaritas

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Lime wedge
Coarse salt
8 ounces white tequila
4 ounces Cointreau
4 ounces cactus pear juice
2 ounces Roses lime juice
2 cups ice cubes

Rub lime wedge around the rim of cocktail glasses and dip the rim into a saucer of coarse salt. Place tequila, Cointreau, cactus pear and lime juice and ice cubes in a blender and blend until frothy. Divide among glasses. Drink up!

Emeril's Pomegranate Mojito with Vanilla Sugar

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1 drink

1/4 cup pomegranate juice
2 ounces white rum
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar, or to taste, recipe follows
4 ounces club soda
Cracked ice
6 sprigs fresh mint

In a cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients except the mint and shake well. Mull the mint in the bottom of a cocktail glass. Strain the pomegranate mixture into the glass with the mulled mint, and serve.

Vanilla Sugar: 1 vanilla beans, split in 1/2 lengthwise and crosswise
4 cups granulated sugar

In a large container with an airtight closure, place 1/2 of the sugar. Add the bean quarters and cover with the remaining 2 cups of sugar. Close tightly. Place in a cool, dark place. Twice a day shake the container to distribute the vanilla essence. Continue the process for at least 1 week and up to 3 weeks. Replace the sugar as it is used.

Paula Dean's Pina Colada

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Ice cubes
1/2 cup rum
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup pineapple chunks
Sliced pineapple, for garnish, optional
Maraschino cherry, for garnish, optional

Fill blender halfway with ice cubes. Add rum, coconut cream, coconut milk and pineapple chunks. Puree.

Serve, garnished with a slice of pineapple and maraschino cherry, if desired.

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Happy Cinco de Nachos!

Since today is the official holiday of our beloved cheesy treat, we thought we break down a little history of this holiday so you could actually know why you crave that nacho goodness in the first place. So grab your sombraro (you know, the one you got at Epcot), salt your glass and melt the cheese... 'cause it's officially on.

Viva Nachos!
by Colleen Richardson

Feliz Cinco de Mayo NaCho lovers! On this day in 1862, General Ignacio Zaragoza led Mexican forces to victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla. As chance would have it, the creator of our beloved finger food was also named Ignacio (Anaya) although he was more affectionately known as "Nacho". And like most great discoveries, his inception of the quintessential party food was purely by accident.

The year was 1943 and Ignacio was the maitre d' at a restaurant called the Victory Club in Piedras Negras, Mexico. As the story tells us, a group of American airmen wives stationed across the border came to his restaurant after the kitchen had closed. When Anaya couldn't find the cook he decided that he didn't want to send the women away hungry so he improvised. Using what was available, Ignacio picked up tostados (tortilla chips), grated some cheese on them--Wisconsin cheese, the round one--and put them under the broiler. He pulled them out after a couple of minutes, all melted, and garnished the chips with a slice of jalapeno. The women, pleased with this new flavor experience, spread the word that Ignacio at the Victory Club could offer this special treat. Eventually, people all over south Texas came in search of the specialty. And that, my friends, is how nachos were born.

I bet neither Ignacio nor the American wives had any idea then that their late night snack would become a staple in the American diet. So today - as you sing "La Cucaracha" and seduce that hot girl from across the bar with a tequila body shot-- remember the "Ignacios" and how their bravery gave us something to celebrate, and better yet, something to eat.

Other interesting Nacho Day facts:

  • October 21,1995 was declared the International Day of the Nacho. A bronze plaque was installed in Piedras Negras, Mexico, to honor Ignacio Anaya.
  • Nacho means flat-nosed in Spanish

  • The Oxford English Dictionary has identified the earliest known occurrence in English-language print of the word "nacho", in a cookbook called "A Taste of Texas", edited by Jane Trahey and published in 1949. "A Taste of Texas" refers to the story of Ignacio Anaya as the inventor of nachos.

  • Nachos increased in popularity as a cheap concession food after the development of a processed cheese sauce, based on hydrogenated oil, which eased preparation. The cheese sauce can be dispensed on top of the tortilla chips, but it is often simply offered as a dip. However, since processed cheese sauce is not authentic to Mexican food, and may not be very healthy, nachos made with actual cheese also remain popular. Thankfully.

  • The first professional sports team to offer nachos in the concession stand was baseball's Texas Rangers.

  • The food surfaced in pop culture in quirky fashion. Monday Night Football's Howard Cosell used the word "nachos" to describe a spectacular play.

And there you have it folks, the history of the best food on earth. Special thanks to Ignacio Anaya for inventing the reason for this blog, and Miss Colleen Richardson for telling us all about it. Happy Nacho day everyone!

Got a great Cinco De Mayo recipe or story? Let us know and we'll post it up on the NaCho Blog: QuesoJoe@hotmail.com.


Thursday, May 4, 2006

Cheesy Recipeesy: Emeril's Beefy Nachos

This Bam-tastic nacho recipe comes from none other than the Crest toothpaste spokesperson, Emeril Lagassee. Finally, someone decided to go the road less traveled and fry up his own homemade tortilla chips (bigger shocker there, Mr. Lagassee).

Now, of course, this is a shameless opportunity to use Emeril's Essence seasoning but why not give it a shot and lose the McCormick for a change. I also love how he browns the onions instead of sprinkling them over the top raw, and that he adds the veal stock for a little extra flavor. Just because nachos are easy to make and don't have to be gourmet doesn't mean you can't experiment with your chef abilities. So throw on that Swedish Chef hat, sharpen that knife and see what you can come up with.

6 flour tortillas, cut into eighths
6 corn tortillas, cut into eighths Oil for frying
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup minced onions Salt and cayenne
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup veal stock
1/4 pound grated Cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
1/4 pound grated Jalapeno Monterey Jack cheese (about 1 cup)
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped Roma tomatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Preheat the fryer. When the oil is hot, fry the tortillas in batches, until crispy, about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the chips from the oil and drain on a paper-lined plate. Season the chips with Essence. In a large saute pan, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add the ground beef, stirring constantly. Season the beef with Essence. Brown the beef with 2 minutes. Add the onions and continue to brown for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and garlic. Add the stock and bring the liquid to a simmer. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the liquid reduces by 1/4. Remove the pan from the heat. Lay the chips on a large platter. Spoon the beef mixture over the chips. Sprinkle the meat with the two cheeses. Top the cheese with the lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and jalapenos. Garnish the nachos with the cilantro. Yields 4 servings.


Wednesday, May 3, 2006

The Dish: Applebees With Cheese

If someone told you Applebees, where you eat good in the hood, had arguably the best nachos around, would you believe it? With nearly 1,700 restaurant locations world-wide, and a deal with Weight Watchers, you'd hardly think they'd have the time to perfect the art of nacho making. And though it's hardly something they are known for, in fact I doubt really anyone would have guessed it, but I'm not afraid to say it...they make some damn good (dare I say Five Chip) nachos.

Now maybe you're rolling your eyes or questioning this already questionable blog, but have you ever sat down and actually ordered the perfect-for-two (or three) Nachos Nuevos? Just look at them.

They bring it to you on what appears to be stilts because I assume they don't want anything falling on the way to your mouth, and they have good reason. Applebees goes the route of the tri-colored--blue, white and red--chip, which even though they may have a tendency to over-salt, hold up quite well considering the Stuff they pile on. We're talkin' melted queso (none of that shredded stuff), shredded lettuce, spicy ground beef, diced tomatoes, sliced jalapenos, sour cream (best on the side), guac (ditto) and black beans a'plenty. Not too spicy, quality Stuff-to-Chip ratio and no soggy business.

This plate of yummy goodness is best served with their bucket-sized Bahama Mama, complete with pineapple wedge. You may want to avoid operating any heavy machinery after you tear into this one. And yes, you can always jog it off tomorrow.

Bring your appetite, give them a whirl, and tell us what you think.