Friday, September 9, 2011

Nachos, Nachos, Nachos!

The side dish for this week of my favorite Las Vegas eats is Nachos. When I first moved to Las Vegas in 1980 I used to go to the Peppermill Fireside Lounge with friends. It is still located on the strip next to the Silver City Plaza on the east side of the boulevard. It's a dark, old school lounge. There used to be a lot of them in Las Vegas. Thank goodness the Peppermill is still here! It has a 100 item menu, and it has some of the best food I have ever had.  One thing about the food~you can't eat it all. Big servings! What is also great about the Peppermill ~ the bar. I can remember slipping into the Peppermill when the temperature was a balmy 100 degrees. Not too hot~ except I was just getting off of work and it was 4:00 am!! To cool off and have a great time, I would order the Creamsicle, an ice cream specialty drink. But the Nachos were my favorite food at the Peppermill, and here is my recipe for what I think is pretty darn close to theirs.

Nachos, Nachos, Nachos!
1 lb. dried Pinto Beans
8 slices Bacon
2 Jalapeno Peppers
1 Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
1 teaspoon Vegetable Oil
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
Chopped Fresh Cilantro
Nacho Chips
Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese
1 Roma Tomato
1/2 lb. Ground Beef
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1/2 Avocado
Pour 1 lb of dried Pinto Beans in a medium size pot.
Add 8 cups of water to the pot.
Bring the water to a boil, and let boil for 2 minutes
Reduce the heat to simmer for 1 1/2 hours, and cover with
a lid that allows some of the steam to escape. Keep an eye on
your water level. If it gets too low, add more.
After 1 1/2 -2 hours, set the beans aside.
Start the ground beef browning.
Once it is all browned, set aside on the stove.
Chop the 8 pieces of bacon.
Set aside.
Cut the onion in half. Only use half right now.
Cut the half into slices.
Chop the slices.
Toss the onions in a fry pan with 1 teaspoon of
vegetable oil.
Add the bacon also and cook both over high heat for 5-7 minutes.
Chop the 2 cloves of garlic.
Chop off both ends. Peel.
Cut the garlic down the middle. Depending on the size
of the clove, you may want to cut the garlic 3-4 times,
Chop the garlic by slicing through the lengthwise cuts.
Wash and then chop off the top of the jalapeno.
Sometimes the tops are wide enough to be used.
This one is not.
Cut down the sides, around the center. You should
end up with 4 pieces. Throw the center spine away.
Rinse all the pieces to get rid of the seeds.
You can keep the seeds if you like it really hot.
Slice the pieces of the pepper.
Turn the slices sideways, and chop.
Add the garlic and jalapeno to the bacon and onions.
Cook for 1 minute.
Add the cooked bacon, onions, jalapenos, and garlic
to the pot of beans, and stir.
Add the 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin to the pot of beans.
Cut the other jalapeno like you did the one earlier.
This one is to put on our nachos.
Chop the end off of a roma tomato.
Cut the tomato in half.
Slice each half in fourths.
Chop the fourths into small bite sized pieces.
These are what's called a "rough chop". That means
that the sizes to not have to be all the same.
Chop the other half of the onion.
Cut the onion in slices like we did earlier.
Chop the slices.

Fill a small bowl with cold water.
Swish some stems of cilantro around in the water to clean them.
Dry with a paper towel.
Chop the cilantro in to small pieces.

Spread the chips on to a plate.
Spread the cheese on the chips.
Top the cheese with the hamburger.
Add the bean mix.
They are actually called Cowboy Beans!
Add the raw onion, the tomato, and the cilantro.
Pop in the microwave until the cheese melts, 20-30 seconds.
Cut the avocado in half by going through the
skin and around the seed.
Slice the avocado in the skin, then turn and slice the
other way. It will look like little squares. Pull out of the
skin with a spoon.
Sprinkle the avocado pieces around the top.
Place a scoop of sour cream in the center.

Thanks for joining me today.
This recipe takes a long time to make, but it is soooo worth it. 
It can be done in stepto make it easier to do.
The beans can be made the day before, the prep on the onions,
the jalapenos and the garlic can be done earlier and
then refrigerated until you are ready.

I hope you enjoyed this Nacho Nacho Nacho recipe!!

Please join me tomorrow for this weeks dessert~
Carrot Cake!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

BBQ Tips & Fries

My all time favorite restaurant in Las Vegas is Bob Taylor's Original Ranch House. Bob Taylor's opened in 1955, and is the oldest, existing restaurant in the city. The restaurant opened in the northwest part of the valley, when there was nothing else there except for a few other ranches. It had a cozy, welcoming feel to it from the minute you opened the door, and it still does. But, because of the growth of the city, the Ranch House is now smack in the middle of a neighborhood.  I started eating there in 1981, and I never want to stop. This recipe is my remake of my favorite meal from the Ranch House.

BBQ Tips & Fries
(Serves 2)
1/2 of an Onion
4 Idaho Potatoes
 2 teaspoon + 1/2 cup BBQ Sauce
Oil for frying
1/2 lb. Prime Top Loin Sirloin
I used this meat for a reason. I wanted a really good cut of meat
that would not need seasoning to bring out the flavor.
There are very few places to get Prime cut meat,
outside of a butcher shoppe, but I 
did find it at Costco where I have gotten it before.
Wash and dry 4 potatoes. 2 per person.
Cut each potato in half.
Cut each half in half.
Slice each quarter piece into slices.
 Put all the potato slices in a colander and rinse well.
You want to get as much starch off of them as you can.
Cut the ends off of the onion.
Cut the onion in half.
Peel the onion.
Cut the half in half.
Chop the quarter onion in 1" pieces.
Pull the pieces apart. You will have onion pieces that
look a little like petals.
I used a deep fryer to fry the potatoes. Set it at 350 degrees. 
If you do not want to use a deep fryer, you can fill a 
frying pan or a sauce pan with enough oil to cover the 
french fries. Set it at 350 degrees also.
Let's cut the meat for the tips.
Trim off the excess fat. Slice the sirloin into strips.
Then cut each slice into about a 1/2" piece of meat.
Place the fries in the fryer. They will take a little longer
to cook than the tips.
Heat up the pan with a teaspoon of oil.
Add your meat. Cook on high temperature.
 Let the meat sizzle.
Add your onions about 3 minutes before you figure the
meat will be done.
Take out the fries and let them drain on a paper towel 
placed on a plate.
When your meat is almost done, add 2 teaspoons
of BBQ sauce. Coat all the meat with the sauce.
Plate the meat and french fries.
Add the 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce.

Thank you for joining me today for one of my favorite meals ever!

Please come back tomorrow when we will be 
constructing a side dish that could be an entree,
Nachos, Nachos, Nachos!!

See you then!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

French Onion Soup~An Old Favorite

This weeks soup is an old favorite of mine~French Onion Soup. I first fell in love with this soup when the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino opened in 1986. I loved the place, and still do. It's a little off the strip, making it easily accessible with less traffic. It has a great gourmet restaurant, The Cortez Room. When the Cortez Room opened, my husband and I, would go with friends to eat, drink, and listen to live music. We would make reservations, and then get there an hour early to listen to whatever group was playing on the stage right next to the restaurant, and have the BEST, BEST, ever Pina Coladas. For only $2.00!! One night we went with a total of 12 people to have the house special~ The Prime Rib~$6.95! It was the size of a king cut and delicious! Everything is good! But the French Onion Soup is so good, it has become the barometer upon which all other French Onion Soup I try is measured. See what you think about this recipe, which is very close to my Cortez Room favorite.
French Onion Soup 
(makes 6 servings)
3 Large Sweet Onions
1/4 cup Butter
1 tablespoon Flour
2 teaspoon Beef Base
2 cups Water
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
6 slices French Bread
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
Chop off the ends of your onions.
Peel the onions and cut the onions in half.
Slice the onions.
Place the butter in a large pot or dutch oven to melt
on medium heat.
Place the sliced onion in the pot. Stir a few times as they cook.
They should cook and become soft and slightly brown.
As the onions cook, make the beef base. 
Boil 2 cups of water.
Add 2 teaspoons of base to the boiling water.
Stir to dissolve it.
Check on your onions and if they are soft and slightly brown
add 1 tablespoon of flour and stir. Add the base to the pot.
 Add the Worcestershire sauce and heat to boiling. 
Once boiling, then reduce heat. Simmer uncovered
for 5 minutes.
Toast the bread for your soup bowl.
1 slice per bowl.
 Place the toast in the bottom of your bowl.
Cover the bread with soup.
Cover the soup with shredded cheese.
Toast the cheese under the broiler. Set your broiler
on high, and watch the bowl closely.
Broil soup 3"- 4 " from top of broiler until cheese
is melted and light brown.
Serve with slice of bread.

Thanks for joining me today!

Tomorrow, during My Las Vegas Favorites week,  
we will be making
BBQ Beef Tips!

Hope to see you then!