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Friday, December 17, 2010

Mexican nachos with mixed dips (salsa, guacamole, garlic sauce and cheese fondue)

We liked this a lot when we first tried it at a Mexican place called Enchilada in Darmstadt, so we decided to give it a go. Those dips are wonderful and complement each other. This is a nice party-starter or movie snack. We served it in bed with a re-watch of Underworld ;). 
The tortilla chips can be store-bought or home-made, we bought ours.  They're easy to make if you can find corn tortillas, but all the tortillas we could find last afternoon were made of wheat so we dropped it. We'll repost a recipe when we manage to make them. But if you buy simple nachos (flavorless) they're quite additive-free, so it's safe to buy them.
As for the sauces, you should do the salsa first, then the guacamole, then the garlic sauce (it's actually basic aioli) and last the cheese fondue (it's supposed to remain hot while served). The other three can be made in advance and refrigerated. Of course, you can serve the same sauces with anything else, so don't be shy to take the recipe from here and add it to your steak, toast, salad etc. We think you'll love it, the Mexican kitchen is just so warm and colorful and delicious it's always a blast!

Other Mexican treats: Mexican-style scrambled eggs.

Ingredients (serves 4):
  • 500 g simple (or just salted) tortilla corn chips (nachos)
For the salsa:
  • about 350 g fresh tomatoes (look for the aromatic type)
  • 1 chilli or jalapeno pepper (put just half if you want the heat milder, although "salsa" literally means "hot", just like the dance bearing the same pretty name)
  • a dash of black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 of a small onion
  • 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coriander
  • optionally some chilli powder
For the guacamole:
  • 2 medium, ripe, avocados 
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of salsa
  • half a lemon
  • half a lime
For the garlic sauce:
  • 150 g of yogurt
  • some oilve oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • about 150-200 g of thick cream
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • half a lemon
  • half a lime
For the cheese fondue:
  • about 400 g of cheese of 3 different types (yellow-orange color, not very creamy. pick your own favorite flavors, be creative! ;) )
  • half a small onion
  • some olive oil
  • 20 ml of sherry or herbal liquor or cider (some flavorful booze :D)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of marjoram (don't use thyme or some other herb because they're not traditionally Mexican)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coriander

Ok. Let's get to work. If you have a shredder or a food processor it would help you a great deal. If not, just cut everything, manually, like we did. Prepare 4 sauce bowls of at least 500 ml capacity. Have your ingredients nearby. Get the tomatoes first:

Cut the tomatoes very finely:

Put them in the sauce bowl. Cut the hot pepper very finely. DON"T scratch your eyes, years, nose etc with your hands while you do and afterwards wash very well.... or else! :P

Add them to the salsa bowl:

Cut the onion half in very fine pieces:

Add the salt, coriander, pepper and chilli powder to the salsa:

Add the minced onion half:

Mix very well. The salsa is done.

Now to the guacamole:
Peel the avocados and start cutting them very finely:

After you're done, put them in the guacamole bowl and mash them up with a fork (like making potato puree). Add the salt, salsa and squeeze the lemon and lime halves on top:

Mix everything very well and the guacamole is done.

Now for the garlic sauce. Put the yogurt in the empty sauce bowl and peel the garlic cloves:

Finely cut or crush the garlic and add it to the bowl. Add the olive oil, salt and squeeze the lemon:

Squeeze the lime half into it, mix very well and add the cream. Mix again and it's done.

Last but not least, the fondue. Prepare 2 pots, one big and one smaller. Put water in the big one and put over low heat. Put the smaller pot on top of the water, thus creating a bain marie, like this:

While the bain marie heats up, mince the onion. 

Heat a little olive oil in a separate frying pan and add the coriander. Add the minced onion:

Keep the onions cooking on low heat for 3-4 minutes. In the meantime, put the herbal liquor (or other flavored booze) in the pot on top of the bain marie and add the cheeses, in smaller bits so they melt faster. You can just break them with your hands as you put them in the pot:

Let them melt slowly, on medium intensity. When the onion's done, add it to the cheese:

Stir a little, and again every once in a while to help up the melting process. When it's almost completely done and melted all over, add the cream and stir again:

Add the marjoram and salt too. Stir and pour in the sauce bowl. Now everything is ready, serve while the cheese fondue is still hot. Dig in!

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