Mexican Elotes Tater Tots

Summertime is finally here, and sometimes that is s a great thing or a bad thing. The bad only being that it has been a scorcher in Wisconsin. The temperature has been in the upper to mid 90’s lately with a high percentage of humidity. I don’t perform well in humidity, and as I normally run hot to begin with, when you add humidity that only means I’m a walking puddle.  The great thing is that all of the wonderful produce that my wife and family love is in full harvest, and one of them being corn. I’ve always related corn and tomatoes to summertime while living in the midwest, and as we grow a lot of tomatoes in our garden, corn is pretty much on our lunch or dinner table several times a week.

While living in Dallas, I was first introduced to Mexican corn (Elotes), and I fell in love. It was addicting. Grilled or steamed corn smothered in mayonnaise, sprinkled with chili powder and cotija cheese, what was not to love? I had elotes on my mind after buying a handful of corn on the cob, and after rummaging through my freezer (trying to purge frozen items), I located some nice tater tots. I love tater tots, and after looking at both the corn and the tater tots, I knew I could only do justice my making some loaded Mexican Elotes Tater Tots.

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe
Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe

Forget the nachos. These are a game changer.

Let’s get started.

  • 2 ears of corn, steamed or grilled, then cut off the cob
  • 1/2 a bag or about 15 oz of frozen tater tots, cooked by directions on bag
  • 2 cups of Supremo 3 Cheese Mexican blend cheese (Chihuahua, Oaxaca, Cotija)
  • 1/3 cup of Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped, to garnish
  • 1/2 lime, optional

Start by preheating your oven by directions, or fry the tots if you desire. I baked mine on a cast iron fajita skillet (love), and during this time steam or grill your corn.

Once the corn is cooked to your liking (I like mine a bit al dente), cut it off the cob and place it into a mixing bowl.

Add the mayonnaise, chili powder, and a bit of salt and pepper. Those tater tots need some salt and pepper.

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Ingredients
Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Ingredients

Once the tots are close to being done (and to your liking), and some like them a bit tender and some like them nice and crispy like myself, remove the skillet or baking sheet from the oven. Top all of the tater tots with the Mexican shredded cheeses and place back into the oven and cook for about 5 more minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted.

Once the cheese is nicely melted, remove it from the oven and slide onto your serving plate. I keep mine on the cast iron skillet and place it on top of the wooden board that came with the fajita skillet.

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe
Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe

Top with the corn mixture, shower with fresh cilantro, and serve with a lime wedge for additional acidity.

Now block yourself from others, just kidding, and dig in. You talk about everything you can love about Mexican Elotes, these Mexican Elotes Tater Tots just bring it over the top. Simple, quick, and delicious. This is a perfect Summertime snack. Enjoy.

If you are looking for other takes on Mexican elotes, or other corn ideas this summer, give these a try:

Indiana Fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Believe it or not, I grew up in Indiana. It was a great upbringing. Friends and family lived nearby, parks just down the street, the elementary school in walking distance, and even an inground pool in the backyard. There were so many great memories there, however my folks decided to take a work transfer to Wisconsin when I was entering the second grade. Regardless, it was a great transfer to say the least. We lived in a small town where the population was under 8,000 people, but everything was close by us. The school was a block away, the library about the same, and the swimming pool and ice skating rink was in the same vicinity.

I often say to my kids that they have it great when it comes to their commute to middle/high school, as the walk to our middle school and high (rain, snow, or shine) was a bit of a distance. That did not matter however as that walk built up an appetite, and it was very important that we were always home on time for dinner. I instill that same routine with my family. There is one thing that really satisfied our appetite, and one that is probably the icon of Indiana, and that is the Fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwich and my Dad was and is amazing at making them. I was fortunate to help out on many occasions growing up with the dredge station and learning some of his tips and tricks. I brought that sandwich home to my family and it is noted by all of them ‘this is my favorite sandwich’. After all of the recipes I make for my family, I was not surprised to hear that as it is one heck of a sandwich.

Indiana Fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwich Recipe
Indiana Fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwich Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 6 whole eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 sleeves Saltine Crackers, smashed into rough crumbs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2-3 lbs pork loin, cut into 1.5 inch slices and about 4-5 inches long
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • Yellow mustard, to your liking
  • Mayonnaise
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 head of lettuce, cleaned and drained
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • generic hamburger buns
  • pickles to garnish, to your liking
  • canola oil, roughly 4 cups
  • Meat mallet
  • plastic wrap

Start by getting your dredging station ready. You can get three bowls out, or two bowls, and one large plastic sealed bag.

To one bow, whisk the eggs, then add the water, and continue to whisk until lightly bubbly. To another bowl, add the flour. Season the flour with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Set this aside.

Add the crushed Saltines to a large plastic sealed bag.

Add the oil to a large pot on medium-low heat.

While the oil heats up, get ready to get some aggression out on the pork.

Take two pieces of plastic wrap, about 1 foot long for each piece.

Indiana Fried Pork Sandwich Ingredients
Indiana Fried Pork Sandwich Ingredients

Lay one piece of plastic wrap onto your working surface. Add a piece of the cut pork, then top with the other piece of plastic wrap. Gently pound from the center outward, being careful not to tear the pork. This will almost double or triple in size. This is one of the beauties of this sandwich.

Repeat with remaining cuts of pork and stack them onto a plate.

Now you are ready to dredge. Check the temperature of your oil if you can. The oil should simmer and be around 350 degrees.

Take a piece of the pork, cover both sides with flour, shaking off any excess flour, then into the egg wash. Let the egg wash drain a bit, then place into the plastic bag with the saltines. Gently push the saltines into the pork, covering completely, then shake off any excess saltines.

Place into your oil, and cook until golden brown on both sides. This only takes about 4 minutes or so per side. Once golden, remove with tongs, and let any excess oil drain bag into to pot, and place the cooked pork onto a baking sheet and place into a 225 degree oven (or make your sandwich right away) to keep warm until all cooked pork is ready to serve.

Repeat with remaining pork slices.

Indiana Fried Pork Sandwich Recipe
Indiana Fried Pork Sandwich Recipe

Now it is time to assemble the sandwich.

To the bottom bun, slather on some mayonnaise, and squirt on some mustard.

Add lettuce slices, a slice or two of tomato, thinly sliced onions, and top with the over sized fried pork. Add a bit of mustard to the bottom of the top bun, then top. Place a pickle on the plate to nibble on throughout your sandwich intake.

Dig in. The great thing about this sandwich is eating through the pork even before you make it to the sandwich. It’s crispy and so very delicious. Then you get into the sandwich and the overall combination of all of the ingredients makes this sandwich scream. I now know why my Dad made this Indiana Fried Pork Sandwich for us on a regular rotation, and as importantly realize why my kids have named it their favorite as well.

If you are looking for a great sandwich, give this one a shot. The time and effort totally pays off. Enjoy!

 

Roasted Sunchokes

I frequent the farmer’s market every Saturday in my neighborhood. This year they moved the market to a new location, and one which was a great improvement. I was excited several weeks ago to say the least, not only for the new location but to see some of the familiar faces and to check out what was in season.

There was the standard Spring items including rhubarb, some asparagus, honey of course, and then sunchokes. If you have never seen or tried a sunchoke, it is a must try. They are knobby looking vegetables that are way to easy to make, and leave you with almost a nutty flavor. With that being said it was my duty to pick up a pound of them, take some advice from the farmers, and get to work. This is my take on the roasted sunchoke.

Roasted Sunchokes
Roasted Sunchokes

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb sunchokes, rinsed and cleaned
  • salt to taste

That’s it my friends. I used garlic and butter only because I was making camerones al mojo de ajo (garlic shrimp) for a main, so the sunchokes would be served as my vegetable and side dish.

Start by heating a skillet on medium to low heat. Add in the butter, oil, and garlic, and let that come to temperature.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Once the butter has melted (do not let it brown), add in the sunchokes, and give them a gentle turn from time to time. You only have to do this to get some flavor, or should I say more flavor onto the sunchokes. Once your oven is preheated, add remove the sunchokes with some tongs onto a baking sheet and place into the oven for about 35 minutes or until they are tender.

Remove from the oven, season with a bit of salt, and plate and serve.

When I plated these, my wife and kids were a bit intrigued, as was I. So my wife and I grabbed a few and were blown away. They are nutty, and almost potato like, but with these had that nice garlic butter and salt addition which topped them off even more.

If you are looking, or if your market still has sunchokes, get them, and hook them up. If you do not want to turn on the oven, feel free to put them on the grill on indirect heat. These make a great side, and to boot are really great for you. Thank you farmers and farmer’s market! I’m glad it is that time of year!

Fried Bologna Breakfast Sandwich

I was first introduced to fried bologna, I believe when I was living in Indiana as a young kid. I mean probably first grade. I could be wrong as age is getting to me, but I recall my Dad searing it on a hot skillet on the stove top. I always try to bring back those types of memories to my kids whether it be teaching them how to make a proper omelette or a simple thing like making stove top popcorn.  When I recently shopped I had the idea of a McMuffin on my mind, and then as I was ordering some ham, I took a gaze over at the bologna and decided to go straight for it as I knew one of my boys loves it as well. That’s when I decided to come up with the fried bologna breakfast sandwich.

Fried Bologna Breakfast Sandwich
Fried Bologna Breakfast Sandwich

To me, this is a perfect breakfast, or brunch sandwich and it has everything I love for breakfast (yes, I’m a fan of the egg McMuffin), but substitutes Canadian bacon with thick cut bologna, about 1 inch thick.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 slice thick cut beef bologna
  • 1 telera roll, lightly toasted
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 egg, cooked sunny side up
  • 1 slice American cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Start by heating a large skillet on medium high heat. Slice your roll and lightly toast it on both sides. Remove and set aside once it is toasted.

Next add the sliced bologna and cook it until it is nicely seared on both sides. It will curl up on you, but don’t worry. To me it is the vessel to hold the egg. If your skillet is large enough, keep it cooking while you cook your egg. If not, remove and cook your egg.

Turn the heat back down to medium, and add the butter. Crack your egg and using a spatula, lightly break that thick egg white and let it run around. Season with salt and pepper.

Fried Bologna Breakfast Sandwich
Fried Bologna Breakfast Sandwich

I like to cook the egg when the white edges get nice and crispy, but cook it however you like.

Add the fried bologna to the bottom bun, top with the egg, and add the American cheese. Cover with the top white bun, push it down a bit to create that yolk gravy, and get to town.

It’s salty, crisp, and just down right delicious. Get to it, you’ll love it. Hope you enjoy!