Homemade Tortilla Chips

Homemade Tortilla Chips

Do you ever crave those warm, yummy, crunchy, crispy, salty tortilla chips you get at Mexican restaurants?

The ones that everyone at the table can’t stop eating? (Thank god they’re bottomless)

I mean let’s be real, the prepackaged ones from the grocery store just aren’t the same… Unless you’re lucky enough to live near a store that makes them in-house.

Well, next time you’re having people over, you can make your own chips at home!

Homemade Tortilla Chips - Perfect for serving with guacamole!

And it’s REALLY freaking easy.

The secret is using high quality corn tortillas. If you can find some made locally, that would be awesome. Otherwise, search for a brand that is just corn, lime, and salt. No added preservatives or stabilizers needed. They make the best chips, and are better for you anyways. Trader Joe’s usually carries some, as well as Sprouts and Whole Foods.

The process goes like this:

  • Cut the tortillas into 8 wedges (or into strips if you want tortilla strips for soup or salad)
  • Fry in oil on the stove until golden and crispy.
  • Let cool on a paper towel lined plate and season with fine sea salt

That’s it!

Homemade chips are an easy and delicious snack for game day.

Serve with fresh salsa or guacamole & watch them disappear.

Homemade Tortilla Chips or Strips

Homemade Tortilla Chips

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Erica Julson

Ingredients

  • Corn tortillas (preferably ones made with only corn, lime, and salt)
  • Generous amount of vegetable oil for frying
  • Fine sea salt

Instructions

  • Take a stack of tortillas and cut in half. Cut in half again, and then cut each quarter in half, so that one tortilla makes 8 triangle shaped wedges. Cut as many wedges as you need (each wedge = 1 chip).
  • Pour vegetable oil in heavy skillet until there is a 1/2 inch thick layer on the bottom of the pan. Warm over high heat until the oil is very hot. You'll know the oil is ready for frying when you dip a piece of tortilla into the oil and it starts bubbling intensely.
  • Once the oil has reached the proper temperature, add a handful of tortilla wedges to the pot, using metal tongs to separate them in the pan. Add enough to fill the pan, but not so much that they are on top of each other. The chips will shrink slightly as they cook.
  • Let cook for a minute or two until golden on one side. Use tongs to flip the chips over and brown the other side for a minute or so. Remove the chips to a paper towel lined plate and season lightly with fine sea salt.
  • Repeat with the next batch of tortilla wedges, adjusting the heat up or down as needed to prevent burning or sogginess, and add more oil as needed if the pan is getting low.
  • Store the cooked chips in a plastic bag in the pantry for up to 1 week. Goes great with fresh salsa or guacamole.
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Confit Turkey Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Turkey Confit Salad With Orange Vinaigrette

Did you watch the 2013 season of Top Chef Masters?

If you did, then you probably remember chef Sang Yoon. Yep. The ketchup-hater.

Well, he owns two fabulous restaurants that are just a few minutes from our apartment.

Lukshon, an asian-fusion restaurant is one of my absolute favorites. It’s home to my favorite sparkling rose, luscious silky broths, and succulent spicy noodles. It’s my go-to place for a celebratory dinner or date night.

But realistically, we can be found more often at Father’s Office, Yoon’s casual, cooler, sister restaurant that serves up one of the best burgers in LA, thin and crispy fries, and a huge selection of craft beers.

Turkey Confit Salad With Orange Vinaigrette and Figs

I almost always get the burger at Father’s Office (and yes, there’s no ketchup allowed, only aioli), but one time I went rogue and got the salad.

I know… a SALAD at a burger joint??

But this wasn’t just any salad. It was a duck confit salad over bitter greens with a delicate orange vinaigrette.

And omg it was so good, I ordered it again the next time we went to Father’s Office.

And then I got a little obsessed and tried to recreate it home.

Turkey Drumstick Confit Salad With Orange Vinaigrette

I don’t know about you, but duck isn’t sold at my local Sprouts, so I swapped in a prehistoric looking whole turkey drumstick instead. It has the same vibe as a whole confited duck leg, and turkey legs are actually pretty cheap!

Next step? Figuring out how the heck to confit something.

P.S. if you don’t know how to pronounce confit, it’s “con-fee”

Turkey Confit Salad With Orange Vinaigrette, Cashews, and Figs

The confiting process is actually relatively simple and hands-off.

You simply submerge your piece of meat (or veggies- garlic confit is super popular) in a pot of olive oil and slowly simmer for hours and hours until the meat is fall off the bone tender.

I like to finish the turkey with a quick high-heat cook in the oven to crisp up the skin, because let’s be honest, crispy skin is the best part of home cooked poultry, am I right?

But really, once the confit is in the oven, you can hang out and do something else for the afternoon while the meat simmers away, and it’ll be ready and waiting for you come dinner time.

Confited meats are super rich.

I mean, you DID just cook it entirely submerged in oil for hours 😉

So to balance it out, it’s perfect served atop a lightly dressed bed of bitter greens, with a fresh orange vinaigrette, crunchy salty nuts, and delightfully sweet dried figs.

Nom nom nom.

This meal is definitely a cooking project, but I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon! You get to be creative and try a new cooking techqniue, AND totally impress yourself and your family with a restaurant quality salad with fancy confited meat 🙂

Turkey Confit Salad With Fresh Orange Vinaigrette

Confit Turkey Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time4 hrs 30 mins
Total Time4 hrs 50 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Erica Julson

Ingredients

  • 4 whole turkey drumsticks
  • Sprinkle of kosher salt
  • Sprinkle of ground black pepper
  • 1.5 liters olive oil
  • Cloves from 1 head of garlic, peeled
  • 1 shallot, halved and peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large head curly green leaf lettuce, leaves washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 small head radicchio, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 16 dried figs, stem ends removed, each fig sliced into 8 wedges
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted cashews or macadamia nuts
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • Zest and juice of 1 small navel orange
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Season the turkey legs with kosher salt and pepper and place in a large enameled dutch oven. Nestle them in so that they are in one layer. Pour enough olive oil into the dutch oven to fully submerge the turkey legs (don't worry, you can save the oil for cooking later. It won't be wasted). It took about 1.5 liters to cover the turkey legs in my dutch oven.
  • Add the garlic cloves, shallot, and bay leaves to the pot. Put the pot on the stove over high heat and bring to barely a simmer. Turn off the heat, and put the unlidded pot in the oven. Let cook for 4 hours, or until the skin and flesh of the turkey has begun to pull away from the end of the leg bone and the meat is fall off the bone tender. Check on it periodically to make sure the oil is NOT boiling. If it is, turn down the heat so it is barely at a simmer.
  • When the turkey is done, remove the pot from the oven and set aside to cool. Use tongs to remove the turkey legs from the oil and place on a cooling rack placed on a rimmed baking sheet. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and place the baking sheet with the turkey legs in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or so, until the skin is nicely browned and crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • When the olive oil is cooled, fish out the garlic and shallot confit & store submerged in a bit of the oil for another use. Strain the rest of the oil into a tupperware and keep in the fridge for up to a month for all of your general purpose cooking needs.
  • While the turkey legs are browning, assemble the salad and make the dressing.
  • Place the lettuce and radicchio in a large bowl.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the orange zest, orange juice, 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 clove pressed garlic, and Dijon mustard. Season with a little salt and pepper, and pour the dressing over the lettuce and radicchio. Toss to coat.
  • Divide the lettuce up onto 4 large plates. Top each plate with 1/4th each of the dried figs, cashews or macadamia nuts, and green onions. Place 1 turkey leg on top of each salad and enjoy!
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Cheesy Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin Served on Small Plates

Let’s be honest here.

Decadent potato dishes are one of the best parts of holiday meals.

Mashed potatoes drenched in gravy, gooey cheesy potatoes au gratin, or crispy golden latkes served piping hot off the stove.

Potatoes are a corner stone of the holiday meal, providing an anchor between the light salad and heavy roasted meats.

Cheesy Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

Au gratin potatoes are a classic in my family.

We have a tried and true 1950’s recipe in which thin slices of potato are mixed with a creamy beschamel sauce, topped with shredded cheddar and breadcrumbs, and baked until gooey and golden.

It’s delicious, BUT, dare I say, I’ve found a way to make it better.

Baked Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

By adding cauliflower!

I know, it sounds crazy, but adding cauliflower does two amazing things:

  • It adds a new texture to a typically one-note dish.
  • It boosts the nutrients in the dish, adding some extra fiber and heart-healthy flavonoids.

Cauliflower works particularly well in this gratin, because it manages to blend right in with the creamy potatoes.

It’s the same color, and has a pretty mild flavor, so if you don’t tell anyone, they might not even know it’s in there! (Perfect for the secret veggie haters in your life).

Cheesy Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

I also upgraded the original recipe by using a mixture of Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses instead of plain Cheddar, and using extra crispy panko breadcrumbs seasoned with garlic and thyme instead of traditional breadcrumbs.

The final upgrade?

Baking the gratin in a wide 9×13 baking dish so that each serving gets plenty of the garlicky crispy topping. I mean, that IS the best part of a gratin, right??

Seriously, this dish will be the star at your holiday party. You should probably make it.

And everyone will love you for it.

Close-up of Cheesy Baked Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

Cheesy Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 5 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Author: Erica Julson

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs russet potatoes
  • 1 1/2 lbs cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided for 2 uses
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 oz gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz parmesan cheese, shredded

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 3 quart (9x13 inch) baking dish and set aside.
  • Cut the russet potatoes in half crosswise and add to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. When they are fork tender but still have some resistance, scoop them out of the pot with a slotted spoon and place on a plate to cool.
  • Meanwhile, place the cauliflower florets in a small pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add an inch of water to the bottom of the pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Steam the cauliflower until just barely tender, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the cauliflower from the steamer basket and spread out on a plate or tray to cool.
  • When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, carefully peel off the potato skins and discard. Cut the potatoes into a 1-inch dice and set aside.
  • In a small nonstick skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Add the panko breadcrumbs and cook over medium-low heat until golden. Stir in the garlic powder, salt, and thyme and remove from the heat.
  • In a large nonstick skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter over low heat. Add the 1/4 cup flour and whisk until smooth. Keep the heat low to prevent the butter from browning or the flour from burning and cook until the roux is bubbly and barely a light golden color.
  • Whisk in the heavy cream and milk. Continue whisking over low heat until the sauce is thickened and coats the whisk when removed from the pan. This shouldn't take more than 5 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper and remove from the heat.
  • Place the cubed potatoes and cauliflower in a large mixing bowl. Pour the creamy white sauce over the vegetables and toss with a soft spatula until evenly coated. Dump the creamy vegetable mixture into the buttered casserole dish and shake to spread out the mixture evenly. Sprinkle with the Gruyere cheese followed by the Parmesan cheese, and finally, top with the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Bake uncovered in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Let rest for a few minutes and serve.

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