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From the food editor: For Cinco de Mayo, tips for making guacamole and a recipe for queso

Chorizo and Black Bean Queso With Nachos is so hearty it can almost serve as a meal.

MICHELLE STARK | Times

Chorizo and Black Bean Queso With Nachos is so hearty it can almost serve as a meal.

This week's Taste issue is devoted to some very special people: moms. Specifically, how they help shape our cooking and eating habits, and offer wisdom in the kitchen — wisdom that often applies there and beyond.

We asked readers and Times staff to share any stories they had about their moms and food, and we heard from dozens of you. There were beloved recipes, quick tips, long stories. We've published some of these stories on Pages 4E-5E as a way to honor the subjects this Mother's Day.

There's also another holiday this week, one that traditionally inspires food and drink: Cinco de Mayo. To kick the festivities off Thursday, check out the margarita drink of the week recipes on Page 6E.

And when you get hungry, check out this week's featured recipe — a dip that is so hearty it can almost serve as a meal. It can also be the basis for a holiday spread of smaller bites. And in that spread, don't forget an essential Cinco de Mayo food: guacamole.

If you've never made the avocado dip from scratch, know that it's easy and typically more flavorful than the premade varieties. Here are four tips for perfecting it.

• Ripe avocados are a must. If you can only find firm ones at the grocery store, make sure to buy them a couple of days before you need them. For optimal guac, you want your avocados to yield to pressure when squeezed.

• Don't overmash. Don't be afraid to leave your guacamole chunky. Leaving larger bits of avocado throughout the dip, instead of pureeing it to death in a food processor, will add textural interest.

• Use fresh ingredients, especially herbs and citrus. A good squeeze of lime goes a long way toward making guacamole irresistible. And chopped fresh cilantro will brighten the whole thing up.

• Work lots of flavors in. Don't be afraid to go big with things like garlic (try adding it both raw and roasted), chopped white onion and tomatoes. And what about fruit? Go tropical and add mango or peaches, which will offer a pop of sweetness. Tight on time? Grab a jar of salsa and add a large spoonful of that in with the avocado.

Contact Michelle Stark at mstark@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8829. Follow @mstark17.

easy

Chorizo and Black Bean Queso With Nachos

Chorizo and Black Bean Queso With Nachos

Ingredients

  • For the dip:
  • 12 ounces chorizo sausage, removed from casing and crumbled
  • 1 ½ ounces tequila
  • ½ small red onion
  • ½ to ¾ cup milk
  • 12 ounces white American cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • For the nachos:
  • Tortilla chips
  • ½ pint grape tomatoes, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced
  • Small handful of cilantro, chopped
  • Juice from half a lime
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a saucepan over medium-high, brown the sausage thoroughly.
  3. Transfer the cooked sausage to a strainer and remove as much of the grease from the pan as possible without scraping off any of the browned bits from the pan.
  4. Add tequila and red onions to the pan and return it to the cooktop, stirring and scraping the browned bits from the pan.
  5. When the liquid has evaporated, add 1/2 cup milk and the shredded cheese.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir frequently to help melting along. Add cooked chorizo, beans and additional milk if, after melted, it still seems too thick.
  7. Place tortilla chips on a baking sheet.
  8. Pour the queso over the chips (I saved a few spoonfuls for breakfast tacos) and pop them into the oven for 10 minutes.
  9. Mix the tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Spoon over the nachos fresh from the oven.
  10. Alternatively, serve the queso hot in a bowl and set baked chips and tomato topping out separately. Let guests build their own nachos. Serves 4 to 8.
Source: Adapted from thebrewerandthebaker.com

From the food editor: For Cinco de Mayo, tips for making guacamole and a recipe for queso 05/02/16 [Last modified: Monday, May 2, 2016 1:54pm]
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