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:

Homemade Corn Nuts

I grew up eating corn nuts. I loved them, and still to this day. I’m a bit cautious however eating them nowadays only because I think I may crack a tooth or something. But corn nuts are something my boys love as well, and I figured what the heck, let’s make some homemade ones. I was thinking of what to seasons these corn nuts with, and came up with two versions. One using a Filipino sisig seasoning (you can find it in your Asian market), and the other using one of my son’s favorite seasoning blends, Slap Ya Mama.

These corn  nuts are really easy to make, come out a bit on the chalky side which is ok, and still pleased the boys. Feel free to use whatever seasoning mix you enjoy.

Homemade Corn Nuts Recipe
Homemade Corn Nuts Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of Goya Giant White Corn Kernels (You can find at your local Mexican grocery store)
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • water to cover and soak
  • 3 cups of canola oil
  • 3 tbsp of your favorite seasoning blend

Now you have a couple of options here. You can fry them or bake them. I default to the fry method, however if you are going to bake them, bake them at 400 degrees between 20-40 minutes turning every 10 minutes.

You have to soak the beans overnight in a large bowl in cool water. The next day, drain the water, and them them stay in the strainer to air dry a bit. Sprinkle in the sugar and salt, and give them a good toss.

Next heat up a pot and pour in the oil. Bring to a medium-high heat for a few minutes. Drop in a couple of corn nuts and see if they sizzle. If not, wait a few more minutes until they do sizzle.

Homemade Corn Nuts
Homemade Corn Nuts

Fry the corn nuts, in batches, for about 15 minutes or until they get nice and golden. Move them around with a slotted spoon from time to time. Once they are golden, remove them to a paper lined baking sheet with a kitchen spider or slotted spoon, removing any excess oil, and let them cool slightly.

While they are cooling, pour them into a mixing bowl, and add your seasoning, tossing to completely coat them. Repeat and serve.

My oldest loved these, in particular the Slap Ya Mama version. Crunchy, salty, and delicious. These make for a perfect snack. Hope you enjoy!

Loaded Baked Potato Skin Nachos

The Super Bowl has passed, and to be honest I do not think that any one of us in my family actually cared. Sure, the boys said ‘I want the Patriots to go down!’ a few times that day, but the only thing I really cared about was what we were going to snack on. I am done asking, for the most part, what everyone would like to eat, and just lay things out. My menu was simple. Slow baked ribs that would be later fried and glazed, and loaded potato skins that would also be fried.

One of my top recipes is the loaded potato skins, and as I have made so many awesome variations of potato skins, there is one thing I have never done and that is to actually fry the skins. It’s a total game changer. Why? Well because you get a whole shell of that awesome crispy and crunchy texture, not just on the edges, but the entire shell. It’s almost chip like in texture, but with a bit, and just a bit of that creaminess from the potato.

Loaded Potato Skin Nachos
Loaded Potato Skin Nachos

As with any nacho, you load this as you darn well please, but for me, there was one ingredient that made this shine and that was crispy, Nueske’s smoked duck breast lardons.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs of russet potatos, cleaned
  • 4 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Nueske’s smoked duck breast, cubed (or substitute bacon), and fried until slightly crisp
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 oz can of black olives, drained
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • sour cream, optional
  • avocado, sliced, optional
  • Your favorite hot sauce
  • cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 serrano chili, thinly sliced, optional
  • shredded lettuce, optional
  • salt, to taste
  • 3 cups of canola oil, 350 degrees

Again, you can build your nachos however you want. Add beans and tomatoes if you desire. Load these suckers up!

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Add the whole potatoes to a baking sheet. Use a fork and poke a few holes into each potato to allow steam to release while baking. Bake the potatoes for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven, and let them completely cool.

Once the potatoes have cooled, sliced them in half, lengthwise. Use a spoon and gently scoop out all of the potato into a bowl. I use all of the potato, add a bit of butter, salt, and milk and whip them up to mashed potatoes for another meal.

Once you have all of your skins ready, heat up a pot with the canola oil. Get the oil to 350 degrees on medium-high heat, and once you have your temperature, drop in about 7-8, or whatever can easily fit into the pot without crowding, and cook the skins for about 5-10 minutes or until you begin to see the interior of the skins get golden and nicely crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the potato skins and place them on a paper towel lined plate to release any excess oil. Immediately season by showering the skins with salt. Taters need salt.

Ingredients for making Loaded Potato Skin Nachos
Ingredients for making Loaded Potato Skin Nachos

Repeat with the potato skins.

Add the skins to a oven safe baking pan, and begin adding cheese into each skin.

When all of the skins have finished cooking and the excess oil is removed and they are nicely salted, layer the potato skins onto the baking pan and continue to add cheese into each shell.

Keep the oil on the stove, and take the cubed Nueske’s smoked duck breast and add them to the oil. Get them lightly crisp, then the same process with the slotted spoon and place onto the paper lined plate.

Take those Nueske duck lardons and place a couple into each shell. If you are using bacon, cook until slightly crisp, then crumble and add that into each shell. Add the shallots into each shell, then place back into a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted.

Remove the potato skins from the oven (do not devour), then decorate them with green onions, avocado, cilantro, serrano chilies, olives, hot sauce, and sour cream (or whatever you desire).

Loaded Potato Skin Nachos Recipe
Loaded Potato Skin Nachos Recipe

Plate and serve. You want to talk about an ultimate game day snack, this is the one! As much as we all love nachos, this loaded potato skin nacho recipe is really, really hard to beat. It’s everything you love about a nacho but in a crispy potato skin boat! Hope you enjoy!

Cheese Fondue

I start by saying I feel blessed by knowing my wife. We met moons ago but to this day my feelings for her have never changed. On a recent anniversary, porcelain was the deal. I think I was laid up sick (not unusual nowadays), but she delivered a couple of things that she knew I would love. Porcelain.  There was a lasagna dish, and a fondue item. I LOVE FONDUE. Many years ago, probably on the start of our marriage, my wife’s friend brought over a fondue kit and that is when it started. Granted I had fondue in prior to that, but the communal experience is one that I totally love(d). So when my wife showed my that love and thought, I was all in and really excited.

Cheese Fondue Recipe
Cheese Fondue Recipe

My kids have never had fondue, or if they did it was at a very young age.

Fondue is special. It’s fun and it is simple once you have everything in place. I believe it is derived from the Swiss, but being in Wisconsin and having great cheese, wine, and everything else, well it does add up to a great cold winter appetizer or dinner.

There are different kinds of fondues. Cheese, chocolate, or oil based pots for communal dipping. This is a simple cheese fondue and I’m certain there are so many different takes on it. Mine was simple. Bread and cheese on a cold winter day.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb bag of fondue cheese, or grate your own Swiss and Gruyere cheese
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • rustic bread, cubed or torn
  • Any vegetables you want (optional)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch of cracked black pepper

I know there is probably a more traditional way to fondue using Kirsch, but to be honest who has Kirsch sitting around? I did once and it was consumed immediately. Wisconsin loves its brandy. This is stuff that is easy to get a hold of, and once you start mixing the cheese and keeping it warm, well it is so hard to not hit it every 10 minutes.

Cheese Fondue Ingredients
Cheese Fondue Ingredients

Start by rubbing your fondue pot with the clove of garlic. Don’t be shy. Rub that sucker. Then warm your fondue pot. You can buy the sternos at the store or online. Or if your fondue pot is electric, even better.

Once the pot is warmed, add in the cheese(s), wine, and lemon juice. Stir well. Toss in the pepper and stir some more. Once this begins to melt, keep stirring, and get ready to use your poker. The pokers are color coded. If you have a sicko around, no poker.

If your fondue starts to thicken, add a bit more wine, stir and loosen it up. Keep the heat on low and when eating, poke the break and stir that cheesey awesomeness up.

Dip and go. My wife and I love cheese fondue. The strength of the cheese kind of freaked out my kids, who love cheese, which was just fine because that meant more goodness for us. Go fondue! Hope you enjoy, and hope your new year is off to a great start.