Sunday, July 19, 2009

This Is Not Yo Cheese!

Nachos ZoneMost days I can be counted upon to stick my nose up in the air at processed foods. I can whip up something healthier, better tasting, and cheaper at home. However, if you ever see me at a ballpark or stadium, that snooty attitude goes the way of the Dodo, only faster. Suddenly, my darker nature kicks in, and I'm shoveling hotdogs and soft pretzels down my gullet with alarming speed and deadly accuracy. I spend the rest of the afternoon simultaneously satisfied and disgusted with myself. But junk food at sporting events is included in the Bill of Rights, right? Surely that is what George W. Bush meant when he said the terrorists hate us for our freedoms.
All this past weekend I passed up chances to fall off the wagon and gorge on Buffalo wings, curly fries, jalapeño poppers and nachos. By this afternoon, my defenses were completely shot, so I rationalized that making junk at home would surely be healthier than ordering it off the menu at Yankee Stadium or some Irish bar in Woodlawn. My conscience will no doubt nag me later, but right now, my full belly congratulates me.
Steak & black bean nachos
  • Corn tortilla chips
  • 2 cups refried black beans
  • ¾ lb shaved beef
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ lb cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¼ lb Monterey jack cheese, grated
  • 3 jalapeño peppers, sliced
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chili power
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • Salt and hot sauce to taste
Start by marinating beef, overnight if possible, in oil, soy sauce, herbs and spices. Bring to room temperature 1 hour before cooking. If you're not of Hispanic decent, you probably don't have a pot of beans on the stove at all times. In that case, used canned refried beans. Latinos know how to make refried beans by the time they're 6-years old. I've covered it before here.
Refried black beansCheese sauceGrilled shaved beef
For the sauce, make a roux with the butter and flour, cooking for 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, and gradually whisk in the two grated cheeses and allow sauce to thicken, stirring frequently for 10 minutes. Season with salt and hot sauce. While the cheese sauce thickens, grill beef on a cast iron griddle over medium high heat for 6-7 minutes, tossing frequently. Lay down a layer of corn tortilla chips on a large platter. Sprinkle with cooked beef and a big spoonful of beans. Drizzle with cheese sauce and top with chilies. Repeat with another layer of chips, meat, beans, cheese sauce and peppers.
Steak and black bean nachos
The marinated beef was extraordinary. Complex, rich and multi-layered. Cheese in the refried beans along with the spicy cheese sauce seems to me a little excessive, but we are talking junk food here after all. Besides, it's Sunday, and all bets are off. Finally, fresh, hot chilies brighten things up and make your scalp sweat. A good reason to drink an arctic cold beer with your plate of triple-bypass chips.
Penn State Nacho Cheese SauceFlorida State Nacho Cheese SauceOhio State Nacho Cheese Sauce
University of Illinois Nacho Cheese SauceUNC Nacho Cheese SauceClemson Nacho Cheese Sauce
Before starting, I went online to look over cheese sauce recipes as a refresher course. I hit the mother lode for all things nacho. I am quite simply astounded at what you can purchase online these days. I wish I were a salesman. I would be writing this blog from a white, sandy beach on my own private Pacific island along the Equator. You just know every one of the sauces above is the exact same thing with just a different label plastered on the jars. There is probably some slob collecting a fat check for every university alumni who orders a jar of this crap. All I can say is, good for him.
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food

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