Tag Appetizers

Avocado: More Than Just Guacamole. Parties That Cook’s Chalupa Recipe

farmer's market in ParisThe produce in California is incredible. Between the stone fruit at farmers markets and the stands of vegetables outside almost every neighborhood market, I’m in produce heaven. The smells and colors tease me with all their possibilities; especially when it comes to avocados. I love the creamy texture of avocados so much, that anything, and I mean anything, with avocado vanishes when I’m around. It’s a no-brainer for me to incorporate this fruit into as many dishes as I can. I’ve even turned to replacing dressing in salads (a new idea from Erica, our warehouse manager!) and mayo or pesto in sandwiches. It’s just that good.

Of course, these Chalupas with Smashed Avocado are coming highly recommended. As a Parties That Cook favorite, we’ve made them at many Sumptuous Small Plates corporate events. The perfect appetizer, each little chalupa packs quite the flavor punch while offering a medley of textures. From spicy chorizo to pucker-inducing lime; from firm yet flaky crust to smooth avocado and sour cream. Are you drooling yet? I sure hope I’m not the only one. It’s been difficult sitting here, and not rushing into the kitchen to whip up a batch!

Chalupas with Smashed Avocado, Chorizo, and Lime Sour Cream
ChalupasSimilar recipes can be found in our Appetizer Recipe Library!

Vegetable spray, for greasing pans
1 cup masa harina
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
6 Tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into pieces
6 Tablespoons vegetable shortening
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon warm water
Mini Muffin Tins

6 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed
1 large shallot, finely diced
4 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 large red jalapeno, minced
2 large avocados, halved and pitted
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Lime Sour Cream:
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 red jalapeno, minced
48 cilantro leaves

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Prepare Pans: Using the vegetable spray, lightly grease the insides of 2 24-cup mini muffin pans to make 48.

Make Crust: Combine the masa, flour, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the mixture to combine. Add the butter and shortening and pulse again just until the mixture forms a coarse meal. Add warm water and process until moist clumps form, adding more water by the tablespoon if the mixture is dry. Transfer the dough to a flour-dusted work surface and divide it into quarters. Roll each quarter into a rope and cut the ropes into 12 pieces to yield 48 1/2-inch pieces (the size of a marble). Using your fingers, press each piece into a muffin cup, keeping the top edge of the dough inside the cup. Continue until all the cups are full. Use any extra dough to fill holes.

Bake Crust: Bake the cups until dry to the touch, and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Remove them from the muffin tins and cool the cups on racks.

Cook Chorizo: Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chorizo, crumble with a wooden spoon and cook, stirring, until cooked through, 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Chop into bits if necessary.

Make Filling: Finely dice the shallot, cilantro and red jalapeno. Place into a medium bowl.

Make Filling Continued: Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Use a large spoon to scoop out the avocado flesh. Add the avocado to the bowl and gently mash with a fork. Stir the mixture well and add in the lime juice and salt. Taste and re-season with salt and lime juice if needed.

Prepare Garnishes: Mix the sour cream, lime juice and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Finely mince the jalapeno and pick cilantro leaves.

Assemble Chalupas: Spoon some of the avocado mixture into each of the cooled cups and top with a small dollop of sour cream then pieces of chorizo. Top with a sprig of cilantro and remaining jalapeno. Serve right away.

Makes 48 Chalupas

Food Trend Alert: Beer Jelly and Jalapeño Marmalade

One of the greatest pleasures in life is relaxing with a hot cup of tea while munching on toast and jam. Growing up, my mother was always buying new jellies and marmalades to slather on our bread. I’m pretty sure we never had less than four open jars in our kitchen at a time. Berry jellies were always my favorite — particularly blueberry and Mom’s homemade raspberry jam. Still, I’m up for trying just about any flavor. I spent this past spring semester studying in the UK, and while wandering the streets of Cardiff I came across a delightful grandfather jelly vendor who made a berry jelly with jalapenos. This find demanded a taste test, and I was not disappointed! I loved the initial sweetness and the subsequent heat of the jalapenos. I couldn’t help but buy a jar, and to this day I’m on the quest for unique jelly flavors.

When I recently came across Potlicker‘s beer jelly in Scoutmob, I was pretty excited. Beer jelly is becoming quite the trend, particularly in cities with a booming beer industry. How have I not tried this yet?! While in San Francisco, I’ll have to see if I can find a jar or eight to sample. In the meantime, a classic Parties That Cook appetizer recipe with Jalapeno Marmalade has piqued my interest, reminding me of my UK days. I can only imagine the kick that this marmalade adds to menus at our summer corporate cooking events!

Mini Arepas with Oaxaca Cheese and Jalapeno Marmalade

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cup masa harina
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups Oaxaca cheese, grated, divided–half for dough and half for garnish
1/2 cup canola oil

Jalapeno Marmalade:
6 large jalapenos, stems and seeds removed
2/3 cup white vinegar
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar

Cilantro for garnish

Make Arepa Dough: Preheat oven to 300°F. In a small sauce pan; melt the butter and the milk over moderately high heat. In a large bowl, mix the masa, sugar, salt, and half of the cheese together. Add the milk mixture and mix until a smooth dough forms. Cover and let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Form Arepas: Roll the dough into little balls about the size of a large marble. Lightly flatten the balls between your palms to about a 1/4-inch thick. The flattened dough should be about the size of a silver dollar. Transfer the rounds to a sheet pan.

Fry Arepas: In a large sauté pan, heat canola oil until hot. Working in batches, add arepas to the pan (do not overcrowd pan) and cook over moderate heat until golden on the outside but moist within, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked arepas onto a cooling rack placed over a sheet pan. Place in the oven to keep warm until ready to serve. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Make Marmalade: In a food processor, puree jalapenos, vinegar, and salt until smooth. In a small saucepan, heat jalapeno mixture on high heat and add sugar. Bring to a boil and let boil for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow mixture to cool briefly and then transfer to a small bowl.

Assemble: Remove the arepas from the oven. Spoon a dollop of marmalade into each arepa. Top with a little grated cheese and a tiny sprig of cilantro.

Makes about 24 arepas