- 2 fresh poblano chilies
- 4 ounces (½ cup) Mexican chorizo sausage (remove casing)
- 1 medium white onion, sliced
- 12 corn tortillas
- 8 ounces Chihuahua or other Mexican melting cheese such as quesadilla or asadero (you can also use Monterey Jack or mild cheddar in a pinch), shredded (approximately 2 cups)
- About 1 teaspoon of crumbled dried oregano, preferably Mexican
- Roast the poblanos on an open flame or on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler, turning regularly until the skin is evenly blistered and blackened (about 5 minutes for an open flame, about 10 minutes for the broiler). Be careful not to char the flesh -- only the skin.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand for 5 minutes. Rub off the blackened skin, then pull or cut out the stems and the seed pods. Tear the chilies open and quickly rinse to remove stray seeds and most bits of skin.
- Cut into ¼-inch-wide strips about 2 inches long.
- In a medium-size skillet (preferably nonstick), cook the chorizo over medium heat, stirring to break up any clumps, until half-cooked, about 5 minutes. As the chorizo heats, it should render enough fat to cook the meat; if the mixture seems dry, add a little oil.
- Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it's richly golden and the chorizo is done, about 10 minutes. (If the mixture looks very oily, drain.)
- Stir in the poblano strips, taste, and season with salt if you think the mixture needs some.
- Sprinkle in the cheese. Stir slowly and constantly until just melted -- too long over the heat and the cheese will become tough, oily, and stringy. Immediately scoop into a warm serving dish (a small fondue dish with a tea light below is ideal).
- Sprinkle with the crumbled oregano and serve without a moment's hesitation, accompanied by the warm tortillas.
- 2 small to medium red bell peppers ( about 14 ounces)
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup mayo (or cider mayo)
- 4 tablespoons finely grated red onion
- 1 tablespoon finely ground toasted black pepper
- ¾ tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon vinegary hot sauce, such as Tabasco
- 1 tablespoon tomato-based hot sauce, like Texas Pete
- 20 ounces 3-year-aged cheddar, finely grated
- 15 ounces sharp white cheddar, finely grated
- Crostini, for serving
- To roast the peppers, place them directly over a high gas flame. Using metal tongs to safely rotate the peppers, char the entire surface of each pepper. If you don't have a gas range, roast the peppers under an oven broiler set on high: Rotate them with metal tongs so they char evenly.
- Transfer the peppers to a metal bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 15 minutes.
- Use a dish towel to gently rub off the skins of the peppers; don't run them under water, as this will wash away some of the flavor. Remove the stems and seeds, then finely dice the peppers.
- In a small bowl, combine the diced peppers and cider vinegar to pickle the peppers. Refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, combine the peppers and their vinegar with the mayo, onion, pepper, salt, and both hot sauces in a large bowl; mix well.
- Combine the cheeses in a separate bowl and mix well. Add the pepper mixture to the cheese and mix to combine.
- Let the mixture chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving; it should be thick but still spreadable.
- Serve with crostini, or jar it up and refrigerate it for up to 7 days.
- 8 ounces smoked bluefish, salmon, clams, oysters, or other seafood (drained if canned)
- 8 ounces mascarpone or cream cheese, at room temperature
- Coarse salt (sea or kosher) and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Crackers, breadsticks, or slices of grilled or toasted smoked bread for serving
- You can also punch it up with extra flavors, including minced sweet onion, chives, scallion greens, lemon zest, horseradish, or Worcestershire sauce.
- Flake the fish into a food processor, discarding any skin or bones, or add the clams or oysters. If you don't have a food processor, dust off your knife skills.
- Coarsely or finely chop (your choice) by running the processor in short bursts.
- Add the mascarpone or cream cheese, salt, and pepper to taste, and any of the flavorings, and process to mix. If you like a more coarsely textured pâté, mash the ingredients with a fork in a bowl.
- Taste and correct the seasoning; the dip should be highly seasoned.
- Transfer the dip to a serving bowl. Serve with crackers or grilled or toasted bread.
- 2 tablespoons flavorless oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound ground beef (85% lean)
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2½ teaspoons ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- Black pepper
- Hummus (store-bought)
- Tahini sauce
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
- Pita chips for serving
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the beef and sprinkle it with the Aleppo pepper, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, ¾ teaspoon salt, and a few turns of black pepper.
- Cook, breaking up the beef with a spoon or spatula, until it is fully cooked and no longer pink. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- Spread the hummus in a serving bowl and top it with the beef.
- Drizzle on the tahini sauce and sprinkle with the pine nuts, pomegranate seeds, and zhoug. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with pita chips.
- About 1 cup ice water (or use less for a thicker tahina)
- 290 grams (1 cup) tahini sesame paste
- 1 tablespoon to ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, to taste
- 2 garlic cloves (optional), minced or grated
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- Pinch fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (optional), finely chopped
- Fill a small bowl with ice and water and stir for a few seconds to allow the water to get icy cold, then measure out 1 cup.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, ice water, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, the garlic (if using), and the salt. Stir in the parsley (if using).
- Taste and adjust the flavor and thickness with more water, lemon juice, or salt as needed.
- Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 pound chicken livers
- Sea salt
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons brandy
- 1 loaf brioche bread
- Red onion jam
- In a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion and cook until softened but not coloring, about 4 minutes.
- Add the livers to pan, sprinkle with salt, and cook until the livers begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Flip them and cook the other side. You want the outside to brown but to keep the inside relatively pink. If you're not sure about how the livers are cooking, cut into one and check.
- Transfer the livers and onion and all the buttery juices to a food processor. Reserve the skillet.
- Add 4 tablespoons of the butter, the cream, thyme, and a good bit of pepper to the processor and puree until smooth.
- Add the brandy to the skillet you fried the livers in and set it over high heat to deglaze and cook off some of the alcohol. Add the brandy to the puree and pulse a few times to combine.
- Set a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl. Pour the liver puree into the sieve (you may have to work in batches depending on the size of your sieve) and use a rubber spatula to press the mixture through the sieve. Then do it again -- it's a pain, but it's worth it for a truly perfect pâté without a hint of any grainy bits.
- Once the mixture is velvety smooth, transfer it to a wide-mouth jar. Smooth the top.
- In a small pan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over low heat and spoon off any foam.
- Pour the melted butter over the top of the pâté (this will keep the livers from discoloring), cover, and refrigerate to set up, ideally overnight.
- To serve, cut the brioche into ¼-inch to ½-inch thick slices and halve diagonally.
- Toast the brioche until just beginning to color.
- Remove the hardened butter seal from the top of the pâté and smear each toast with a bit of the pâté (once the butter seal is broken you can keep the pâté sealed in the jar for a couple days). Serve it with the brioche toasts and, if desired, gently drape a tangle of red onions over the pâté.
- 14 ounces sharp yellow cheddar cheese
- 4 ounces smoked cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons caramelized onions
- 12 ounces beer (Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale recommended!)
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorn
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
- Shred yellow and smoked cheddar cheese.
- In a food processor, puree cream cheese, shredded cheese, and caramelized onions.
- With processor running, slowly add beer.
- Stop processor and scrape down sides. Turn machine back on and repeat as needed until you've achieved a smooth consistency.
- Add remaining ingredients and continue to puree.
- Store in a crock in the refrigerator. Flavors develop and improve over a few days' time. The cheese will keep for 2 weeks.
- Serve with fresh-cut crudites, dense, thin-sliced German pumpernickel, or breadsticks.