Nacho Stuffed Tater Tots

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This month’s Kosher Connection challenge is all about the Superbowl. What kinds of snacks do you like to eat while watching the big game? On Superbowl Sunday, we typically dine on a variety of appetizers. Last year, I vaguely recall a mix of onion rings, french fries, chicken wings and beer. I’m sure there was more to it though. This year, I’m all about finding good vegetarian snacks for the big game day.

I asked my husband what he was in the mood for this year. The first thing that he came up with was some loaded nachos. I told him that nachos were too basic and we had to do better than that!

I’ve been wanting to make some homemade tater tots for a while now. A while back, there was an article by Mark Bittman in The New York Times where he showed how to make some homemade tots. I’ve been wanting to make that recipe ever since it came out. I decided that I could stuff the tater tots with some of the typical nacho toppings.

Would it work? Would it taste good? I had to find out!

I parboiled some Idaho Russet Potatoes and then grated them along with some onions. I added some salt, pepper and corn starch to the mix, as Mark Bittman suggests.

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I processed some black beans along with some fire roasted green chiles in the food processor. I mixed up that mixture with some cheese, corn and chili powder.

I placed some of the potato mixture in the palm of my hand and then a dab of the bean mixture at the center and formed it in to a traditional tater tot shape, making sure to cover the entire center with potato.

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I fried each tot lightly and then drained it and finished cooking it in the oven. It’s best to finish the baking process on a rack over a baking sheet.

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I dipped the tater tots in a salsa-yogurt mixture.

The verdict? Definitely a fun recipe!

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Nacho Stuffed Tater Tots
 
Author:

Ingredients
  • 5 Idaho Russet Potatoes
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp. corn starch
  • ¼ cup corn
  • ¼ cup black beans, cooked and drained or canned
  • ¼ cup fire roasted green chiles
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • oil for frying
  • additional salt and pepper as needed

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400
  2. Parboil the potatoes until tender
  3. Grate the potatoes in a large mixing bowl
  4. Stir salt, pepper and corn starch in to the potatoes
  5. In the food processor, process together the black beans, chili powder, cheese and chiles. Stir in the corn. Transfer to a small mixing bowl.
  6. Take a tablespoon of the potato mixture and place in the palm of your hand. Dab a teaspoon of the bean/cheese mixture and place in the center of the potatoes. Shape the potatoes around the bean mixture and form in to a traditional tater tot mixture. Repeat until you have used up your potatoes.
  7. Heat up the oil, about a 1-inch deep, in a fry pan.
  8. Pan fry the tots until browned.
  9. Transfer the tots to a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack.
  10. Bake the tots until desired crispness.

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Corn & Cheese Fritters with Pear Salsa

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I love being a part of this fantastic group of food bloggers, the Kosher Connection. Each month, we are challenged to cook up some wonderful and unique foods. Each link-up is fun and new. I love seeing the assortment of goodies that the group comes up with. This month was especially difficult. We were tasked with a Chopped style challenge. Like the popular Food Network show, we were given three ingredients to build our dish around. For the most part, we had free reign, but the dish had to include canned corn, pears and Mike & Ike candies.

I had a very hard time coming up with something for the dish. Creating something that involved all three ingredients was super tough. I had initially planned a tofu dish that included a Korean pear based sauce. My husband nixed the idea in favor of something fried. He urged me to make a fritter. I don’t really like frying things, but with Chanukah coming up next month, I decided that if this worked out, it would be perfect for Chanukah. It’s traditional to have fried foods to recognize the miracle of the oil in the ancient temple.

He suggested some sort of latke, but as I brainstormed a bit, I settled on a fritter. I know, not that far off. But there is a difference. I scribbled a slew of ideas on paper. Once I had the house to myself though, I got to work. I settled on a corn and cheese fritter when I saw a brick of pepper jack cheese sitting in the fridge. I  quickly picked up a carton of buttermilk at Trader Joe’s and worked out a quick fritter recipe.  The fritters did not disappoint!

I mixed up the canned corn with the cheese, some chopped onion, spices, buttermilk, eggs, flour and baking powder.

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I scooped them up and fried them in a couple of inches of hot oil.

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I then drained the fritters on a cooling rack with paper towels underneath.

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Incorporating the Asian pears and the Mike & Ike candies proved more challenging. I wanted a pear chutney to dip the fritters in to. I peeled and chopped up the asian pears and began cooking them down with some ginger and water. I also added the Mike & Ike candies to let them get infused with the candy flavor. When tasting the sauce, it was definitely too sweet. I knew that it needed something savory along with some heat.

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I added some chopped jalapeño, onion and vinegar and cooked it a bit more. Once everything was softened, I pureed the mixture with my immersion blender.

While the pear and Mike & Ike salsa isn’t perfect, it’s getting there. I call it a work a progress. To be honest, I will leave the candies out the next time I set out to make this dish. It was definitely fun to try my hand at this though.

The fritters have gone on the short list though and will definitely be made next month for Chanukah. The crunch and light outside and the creamy cheese filling. One word. Amazing! Make them now!

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Disclaimer: The pear salsa was made as part of the chopped style challenge. I highly recommend you make the fritters. The fritters are amazing.  I’m not quite sold on pear salsa with mike & ike candies. I do recommend a pear salsa without the candy!

 

Corn & Cheese Fritters with Pear Salsa
 
Author:
Recipe type: appetizer, snack, starter

Ingredients
Corn & Cheese Fritters
  • 1 can whole kernel white corn, drained
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 1.5 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • oil for frying
Mike & Ike infused Pear Salsa
  • 2 asian pears, peeled and cubed
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, chopped
  • ½ jalapeno, minced
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. ground pepper
  • ½ cup Mike & Ike candies (I used two of the fun size boxes) – optional

Instructions
Corn and Cheese Fritters
  1. Mix all of the fritter ingredients, except for the vegetable oil, in a mixing bowl.
  2. Heat up about 2 inches of oil to 350 in a heavy bottomed pan or pot.
  3. Scoop a couple of tablespoons of fritter batter. I used an ice cream scoop. Drop in the hot oil and fry about a minute or two per side. Flip the fritter when browned.
  4. Transfer fritter to a cooling rack placed over paper towels to drain and cool
For the pear salsa
  1. Peel and chop up the pears
  2. Place in a saucepan with the water, ginger and the mike and candies.
  3. Add in the onion, jalapeno, vinegar and spices.
  4. Allow mixture to soften.
  5. Once softened, blend with an immersion blender.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

fritters-and-sauce

Corned Beef Hash Egg Rolls

My mom came to town for the weekend. A shabbat with family is always wonderful.

In my family, a visit = food. When I go back to the midwest, I bring smoked fish and bagels. When they come to me, I also get special care packages. In this case, my mom graciously brought some packages of smoked meat from Chicago’s famed Romanian Kosher butcher. That place has some of the most amazing meats. I don’t eat that stuff anymore, but the husband is thrilled to pieces when there is meat in the house. Especially really good smoked meats. What a treat!
The husband and my mom grazed over various deli sandwiches over the weekend, but we still had some leftover corned beef.
I thought back to my days as a waitress. One of the most popular dishes in the morning, was corned beef hash with eggs. There was this amazing meaty/salty smell that came off of the platters. I was thinking of just making that for dinner with some eggs for the husband, but I wanted to change it up a bit.
I had some egg roll wrappers sitting in the fridge. We’ve had pastrami egg rolls before, and those were a hit. I wondered how corned beef hash would work in an egg roll. It turns out that it tastes awesome. Not just because they are fried. They are even good when baked. The combination of the flavors along with the crunch of the egg rolls are perfect.



Corned Beef Hash Egg Rolls
Ingredients:

1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 medium potatoes parboiled, cooled and cubed
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 pound of fatty corned beef (the deli kind), cubed/chopped
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 tsp. paprika
egg roll wrappers
vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

Heat up the 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a large pan. Add in your chopped onion and cook for a few minutes.

Add in the chopped potatoes and cook for another five minutes until you start to see some browning on the onions and potatoes.

Confident Cook, Hesitant Baker

Add in the peppers and the garlic and cook another minute.

Now it’s time to add the meat and the spices. Let everything cook for a few minutes. Set aside to cool a little.

Corned Beef Hash Egg Rolls

Set up your assembly station: your bowl of filling, a board to roll up the egg rolls and a brush with some water to seal the egg rolls.

Place an egg roll wrapper on a flat surface. Have it facing you in a diamond shape.

Lay some filling across the middle and fold the bottom in.

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Next, fold the sides in and finish rolling up.

Seal the egg rolls with some water brushed on lightly.

Fry the egg rolls in about a 1/4 inch of vegetable oil. Fry a few minutes on each side until crisp.

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Serve the egg rolls with a dipping sauce. Some Thousand Island dressing or a spicy mayo work well.

Enjoy!

Corned Beef Hash Egg Rolls

Scallion Pancakes

I have a guilty pleasure. I am not a huge fan of the Chinese take-out places, but whenever I go – I have to get one thing. Scallion pancakes. I shared an order with the family just the other night. But lately. every time we pick up these little greasy triangles from our local dive, I am left feeling a bit cheated. By the time it gets to our table, it is often lukewarm and chewy or soggy. Because it’s usually late on a Thursday night, it never tastes like it’s fresh or like someone cared how it tasted. I also thought about the price tag. It’s flour, water, scallions and oil people. It shouldn’t cost $5 for what amounts to two pancakes!

I have been wanting to make my own for a while. It’s really easy – a similar process to making paratha or malawach. It’s pretty quick and definitely worth your while.

Scallion Pancakes
Ingredients:

2 3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup very hot water
kosher salt
a bunch of scallions – about 5
vegetable oil

Pour the sifted flour in to a large bowl.

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Pour the hot water in to the flour while stirring.

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Mix with a wooden spoon until you have some semblance of a dough.

Sprinkle your hands with flour and knead the dough until the dough is smooth and elastic.

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Cover the dough with a damp towel and let sit for 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, you can wash and chop your scallions.

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Cut the dough in to 4 equal pieces.

Lightly brush oil on to a rolling board.

Roll out one of the pieces of dough. It should be very thin. Roll it out in to a rectangle.

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Brush the dough with some vegetable oil.

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Sprinkle the dough with some kosher salt and some of the chopped scallions.

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Roll up the dough in to a long snake.

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Cut the dough snake in half.

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Coil the dough snake in to a round snail.

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Roll out the snail in to a pancake.

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Fry the pancake in a small amount of oil. Lightly brown on both sides.

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Drain and slice in to wedges. Repeat the process with the other balls of dough or you can chill in the fridge and use later. You could also process up until the raw scallion pancake stage and freeze for later use.

Serve with a soy ginger dipping sauce (soy sauce, chopped/mashed ginger, chopped garlic and some rice vinegar). Enjoy!

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Mock Crab Rangoon

This recipe came about on Sukkot, but I finally made it when I could photograph and write about it.

At least one of our sukkot meals during yom tov tends to be something pretty casual. Sometimes it’s omelettes, sometimes an easy salad. It always includes something warm. It’s usually comfort food that works well for when it’s just us. Except this year, we didn’t have any “just us” meals. We had to play up the casual meal a bit.
J suggested we do a fried bar food fest. It got a bunch of us talking and reminiscing about all that good bad-for-you food that we love, that we don’t eat anymore now that we are kosher. Some of it just is never available as good at kosher restaurants. It’s hard to find the right onions rings, and hot poppers. Don’t tell me that Dougies is a good stand-in. That place stinks. Anyhow, I wanted this meal to be dairy.

The conversation came around to crab rangoon and cream cheese wontons. The wontons are totally a Midwestern thing. I have never seen them on an east coast menu  – treife or otherwise. Whenever we used to eat out at LeeAnn Chinn’s in the Twin Cities, these wontons were always ordered. My yom tov guests also brought up crab rangoon – which I have never had due to the whole crab thing.  We kept kosher in the house growing up, and my mom has a seafood allergy. Crab was verboten. Anyhow, crab rangoon is basically a cream cheese wonton with crab added to it.

I decided to make it. I always have surimi (mock crab) and cream cheese around. I happened to have some wonton wrappers in the freezer. So this worked out. Was easy to make and was a big hit with everyone.
Mock Crab Rangoon
Ingredients:

1 8 oz. brick of cream cheese – softened at room temperature
5 sticks of surimi, chopped up (approximately – use more or less depending on how crabby you like it)
2 tsp. lemon pepper grinded
3 scallions, chopped finely
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 package of wonton wrappers

vegetable oil for frying

In a small bowl, mix up the cream cheese, crab, scallions, and spices.
Take a wonton wrapper and plop a teaspoon of the mixture in to the center of the wrapper.
Fold up the wonton. Here are some good wonton folding instructions. You will get the hang of folding after you screw up a few.

Heat up a pan with some vegetable oil. I don’t like to deep fry, but you could if you like. I use about a 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch of oil in the pan.
Once the oil is hot, add the wontons carefully to the pan. Fry until lightly brown on one side and then flip. It’s about 2 minutes a side.
Drain on paper towels. 
Dig in! It’s especially good when dipped into a hot and sweet chili sauce.

Deli Roll Cook-a-Long

I had never heard of or seen this popular Shabbat food until I was 21 or so and spending a Shabbat in Far Rockaway. Upon seeing this strudelly thing, I was a bit skeptical. I wasn’t quite sure what was wrapped up in the dough…and I am not usually a big fan of the old heimish food thing. It was either that, cholent, or kishka, so I opted for a slice of deli roll to accompany the salad on my plate. I was impressed by how good it was. Who knew you could do that with deli meat. Of course this dish is by no means healthy food.

I had no idea it was so popular until joining up on some Jewish message boards where people posted their assorted recipes for deli rolls. There is even a facebook group that shows off their love of deli roll. I recall one trip back home to the Midwest where I made a deli roll for my parents. I think they were a bit scared of it.

There are many different variations of deli roll and no exact measurements.

I start out by sautéing some onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika

Roll out some puff pastry dough, either store bought or your favorite recipe. Spread some honey mustard and half of the sautéed onions on the dough. I have heard of some people using Thousand Island Dressing in place of the honey mustard.


Lay out turkey pastrami slices on top of the mixture. Spread another layer of honey mustard and the onions. Lay out slices of beef pastrami

Roll up into a log. Cut slits in the roll, bake at 375 degrees. Drain fat from the pan.

Slice when cooled down

Shabbat Shalom!

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