The Jalapeno Cafe

Oh look, it’s a positive review! Not of nachos, obviously, but of this damn hot recipe website I came across while casually googling “jalapenos”. Yes, I am single. But if I wasn’t, you’d never be introduced to The Jalapeno Cafe.

It’s the act of arranging, and lack of cooking, that makes the cho such a fine dish for those who fear, yknow, hobs. However, once in a while it becomes necessary to cook something– a dinner party for example- and seventeen plates of nachos doesn’t cut it.

Hey friends, I’ve casually whipped up some scrummy enchiladas. Oh and the ultimate quesadilla to start us off. And a Texan Cheese Log. That last one sounds odd but you’ll be laughing on the other side of your odd face after eating one. In a good way.

Additionally, The Jalapeno Cafe have come up with some Nacho Improvers- we’re talking homemade salsa, people. Not the stuff in a tin. MADE IN YOUR HOME. OR SOMEONE ELSE’S HOME. I’m no chef, but Incredible Salsa pretty much blew my mind out through my eyes and into the next person’s mouth.

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An Ode To Refried Beans (This Isn’t An Actual Ode)

The UK Mexican crowd (and yes, there is a Mexican crowd. As in people with an appreciation for mexican food, not just Mexicans. Although I do love Mexicans as well, obviously) is decidedly mixed on the viscous subject of refried beans.

In fact, there are some quotes from separate Mexican Cuisine Appreciators that have been brought to my attention as of late.

Mexican Appreciator #1: “Why haven’t you included Refried Beans in the Big Four? Make it the Big Five!” 

Mexican Appreciator #2: “Oh %^@# they’ve put Refried Beans in my @#%£?!ing burrito. I’m going to throw up.”

Mexican Appreciator #3: “I don’t really understand the point of Refried Beans.” 

Mexican Appreciator #4: “Refried Beans taste like dog food.” 

The Nacho Times will address these points chronologically, but before doing so, I’d like to draw your attention to a particularly HNE:

Just so you’re aware, the black substance is not an extra-terrestrial’s giblets, nor is it tar. It is Refried Beans (or should that be “they are Refried Beans”?) and perfectly illustrates the problem we all seem to have with them.

Firstly, they are not and shall not be included in the Big Four due to inconsistency. These RB’s look banging. These do not (although check out the Oh You Cook page for RBs because the recipe is actually really good. Despite resembling cat sick). I think I’ve made my point. Very few are going to eat anything that resembles cat sick, regardless of how tasty a delicacy it is.

Aside paragraph that has little to do with addressing the above quotes and so threatens to overturn the structure if not signposted:

“Hang on,” I hear you potentially cry, “Why the @&#! would you fry beans twice?!” Well that’s where you’re going wrong. Refried Beans are not refried. They’re cooked in water and mashed. So stick that in your pipe and get bent, m’lady. However, this does mean they are a little healthier than many give them credit for. Good source of protein. Good carbohydrate. Y’know, fibrous.

End of structurally unsound, yet important, paragraph

Moving on.

Secondly, if you have such a violent reaction to RBs then this isn’t necessarily to do with them. It’s like not liking semolina. Or flan. Everyone has foods they dislike, so stop complaining or at least attempt to make your own before you rule them out completely. God.

Thirdly, they complement the flavours of any Mexican dish (including, yes, chos). Salsa is sort of sweet yet hot. Soured cream is cooling. Guacamole is creamy. Cheese is salty. Refried Beans are, sort of meaty and glutinous and taste a bit like dog food. But the sort of dog food you wouldn’t mind eating. It’s an acquired taste but if you’ve never taken a left turn down Bean Alley, it’s definitely worth a try.

Fourthly, I think I just covered this. The fact they taste “like dogfood” isn’t a bad thing. It’s something to be experienced. Salt tastes like peoples’ tears but you don’t turn your nose up at Soy Sauce.

In short: give the Refried Beans a chance. You never know, they may just float your fancy and tickle your boat. Unless they make you throw up, in which case, I apologise.

I also apologise for the abundance of faux swearing. Not quite sure where it came from, to be honest. Clearly just having quite an obscene day.

Salsa substitutions

While candid chos are often the way forward when sat alone with nothing to do but assemble ingredients on a plate, said ingredients can be hard to come by.

You’ve got the chos. You’ve got cheese. You’ve got sour cream. You’ve even got guac. Unfortunately, you’ve dropped the salsa out the window in a fit of rage. And it’s a Sunday so you can’t even pop out and grab some (this is a very specific scenario, but it has happened to someone somewhere)

Luckily, here is a handy guide to how to substitute salsa. Get prepared to go utterly mental.

  • Pasta sauce You know, like Dolmio or that one with the monochromatic man wearing a bowler hat (other brands, and headgear, are available) If you’ve got some chilli spice, add that for a bit of a mouth party or alternatively go naked. And then use the pasta sauce without any flavouring.
  • Ketchup I disagree with this, but it’s been brought to my attention that some lunatics don’t mind this. Approach with caution.
  • Homemade salsa Very simple to make provided you have cans of chopped tomatoes. Mainly because the recipe consists of a can of chopped tomato.
  • Actual chopped tomato But not in a can. Two free, liberated tomatoes chopped using whichever knife you deem fit.
  • Baked beans It sounds offensive, but it actually works. Think refried beans but not refried. 
  • A bit of astroturf Just checking you’re attention span.
Alternatively, sign up to anger management classes and/or keep all windows permanently closed. 

How To Make Tortilla Chips (Ish)

Attempted to get “creative” and make tortilla chips out of wheatflour tortillas. Yes I’m playing fast and loose with the term “creative” and indeed “make” but, either way, here’s the recipe:

  • Buy round tortillas (Old El Paso were used here, but other brands are available) 
  • Cut into triangular shapes
  • Fry in loads of oil for about five minutes 
  • Eat 
Quote from observer: “Yeah they’re alright actually.”

I have a newfound appreciation for those who successfully make tortilla chips although, granted, they probably create them from bits of squashed corn and threads of sombrero’s found at crossroads next to a babbling brooks.  I’m getting confused with teenage novels about witchcraft. 

After covering the handmade chos in well distributed relish, and heating the layered cheese throughout UNDER A GRILL NOT MICROWAVED HAVE YOU LEARNT NOTHING ABOUT THE DANGERS OF CHEESE ADHESIVE?! I found them to be different, and surprisingly quite good.

Softer, yes, but that merely conjured up charming images of chewing a freshly baked, you know, baker. Burnt in places, certainly, but this added crunch and flavouring. Once I’d added a bit of salt and a pickled cats arse baked under a full moon, they were more filling and, dare I say it, wholesome tasting. Oh no wait I’ve done it again haven’t I. Ignore the bit about salt. 

How Not To Make Guacamole (or: Guacamoleurrgh)

Last night the Nacho Times decided to have a bash at making guacamole. Without a recipe.

A direct quote from a nearby observor sums it up: “You know when people say, ‘eurgh that looks like sick’? Well that actually does. I mean, I’ve never seen anything that looks so utterly like sick.”

It turned out to have a charming pan-Mexican flavour, and I enjoyed the huge wodges of avocado, but it definitely wasn’t Guacamole. It was GuacaNO.

Recipe for GuacaNO (best accompanied with Notchos, due to overwhelming chunks and bizarre appearance)

Ingredients:

  • 4 avocadoes. Preferably overripe with brown sections that can be cut off and accidentally merged with the good sections anyway.
  • Half a lemon because you don’t have any lemon juice.
  • A lot of salsa (no I can’t convert this into ounces, I’m metric)
  • A clove of garlic added by someone before they consulted you on the matter (to which you would have responded: “er no, you nefarious lunatic, half a clove will do thanks”
  • A bit of mayonnaise.

Process:

Sort of put it all in a bowl and attempt to mash it with a fork. Then give up and try poking it a bit with a knife. Then smoosh it with a large tumbler until smooth/your arm hurts/you can’t be bothered anymore/you resign yourself to the fact that it will always look this colour. Which is, if you’re interested, the shade of tree sap mixed with sewage. And dead frog. And moss.

Unfortunately, there is no accompanying image. This is, genuinely, the closest resemblance:

 

 Except this is worthy blogger fatcyclist.com’s attempt at guacamole. And it looks a lot nicer than ours.

Kettle Chips- Jalapeno Chilli Flavour

Okay so it’s less a HELLO I’M ON YOUR NACHOS review and more HELLO I COULD POTENTIALLY BE THE BACKBONE OF YOUR NACHOS DISH review, but either way these Jalapeno Chilli Kettle Chips (£1.79 at Sainsbury’sblew my mouth out through the back of my head.

I.e. they are hot. And not just your gran “ooh that’s a bit spicy” hot either. They also taste  distinctly of jalapenos which is bizarrely a plus, and for some reason it seems to work. The flavour is uncomplicated enough to add  a nice twist to some homemade chos.

To avoid complaints  from those with delicate palates/wimps, make sure you don’t scrimp on the soured cream, and  turn the salsa down to medium setting so nobody sets themselves on fire. It’s all fun and games till someone’s aflame.

Thumbs up from us though.

Doritos Nacho Cheese Sauce

Yes, it’s been on the shelves for a while now, but it nicely kicks off a new running feature we’re going to call: HELLO, I’M ON YOUR NACHOS (reviewing all the things you can, well, put on your nachos)

Kicking off proceedings is the Nacho Cheese Dip from Doritos (£1.98 from ASDA)

Why bother opening two separate sauces and grating some cheese when you can use just one? Just one artery clogging, everything-mixed-in-together death sauce? Doritos are flogging this all-in-one “nacho cheese” sauce, presumably for the incredibly lazy, or arm-less. Except you still have to open it, so perhaps for those with chronic arm fatigue.

It’s not actually a death sauce, it’s  quite nice. However at Nacho Times we do not believe that the Big Four can be condensed into just one. Or compromised in any way. That’s why we recommend you use Nacho Cheese Dip in place of your usual soured cream, guacamole, or as an addition to all four.

As an addition, it’s fine. I mean, it tastes as artificial and vaguely bizarre as any liquid cheese poured into a tub and flavoured with nondescript mexican spices is going to taste. But it’s quite tasty in small quantities. Just don’t get overly excited or anything.