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True confession: I am a texture person, on sort of a Sheldon Cooper level. If the flavor of a dish is good but the texture is bad, I am stopped dead in my tracks. Not one. more. bite. This keeps me far, far away from scrambled eggs, mung beans, and okra.
This also means that nachos are one of my absolute favorite things. Whereas mushy/springy and viscous are my mortal enemies, crunchy, gooey, and drippy -especially all at once- are divine in my book. Here is my way of making nachos. The cheese level is high, but what really makes it is the pulled pork.

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My Ultimate National Nacho Day Nachos

1 big bag of corn chips (Late July Spicy Mojo and/or Lime are the ones I use)
2 c. shredded white cheddar
2 c. of my favorite pulled pork recipe (recipe follows)
2 c. cubed, roasted butternut squash
Avocado crema
Spicy chimichurri

Preheat the oven to 350F

Place the chips on a paper-lined sheetpan. Spread the shredded cheese evenly over the chips and pop into the oven. Bake until the cheese is just melted. Remove from the oven and add the pulled pork and squash. Return to the oven and bake until heated through.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Preheat the oven to 400F. Peel and halve a medium butternut squash. Scoop out the seeds. Chop the squash into 1″ pieces and place on a paper-lined sheet pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast until soft throughout, about 45 minutes.

Avocado crema
1/2 Haas avocado
1/2 c. sour cream
Pinch kosher salt
1 Tbsp. cream

Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.

Spicy chimichurri sauce
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 jalapeno, seeded, chopped
4 garlic cloves
Juice of 1 lime
3 Tbsp. chopped red onion
1/4 c. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Place the first five ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil and continue to run until fairly smooth.

My Favorite Pulled Pork Recipe

1 8lb. pork shoulder (This is going to make a big batch, but it freezes beautifully.)
2 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. chili powder
4 tsp. garlic powder
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried orange peel
1/2 c. light brown sugar

1 bottle stout beer (I use Old Rasputin)

2 large yellow onions, peeled and quartered
1 large sweet-tart apple, like a Pink Lady, quartered and cored
4 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
4 sage leaves

Preheat the oven to 450F.

Using a few paper towels, dry off the surface of the pork. Place in a medium roasting pan with a 2″ side.

Combine the salt, spices, and brown sugar.

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Apply half of the spice blend to the bottom and sides of the roast (the non-fatty side). Flip the roast over and apply the rest of the spice blend to the top (the fatty side).

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Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. If the sugar looks like it is beginning to burn, add a cup of water to the bottom of the pan.

Reduce the heat to 350F. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Arrange the onions, garlic, apple, bay leaves and sage around the roast. Pour an additional cup of water into the pan, followed by the stout.

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Cover tightly with aluminum foil and return to the oven. Roast for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the roast is fork-tender and shreds easily.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little. Carefully remove the roast from the pan and put onto a sheet pan or large dish. Remove three onion quarters and the garlic cloves and process or squash with a fork until smooth. Set aside. Discard the rest of the onions, apple, bay and sage. In a medium pot, reduce the pan juices by half (there will be a pretty good amount). If you want a leaner sauce, pour the juices through a fat separator before reducing.

Shred the pork while the waiting for the juices to reduce.

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Add the meat and the pureed onion mixture back into the pot and mix to combine.

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Okay, is there anything more summery than corn fritters? The sweet corn in the market right now is amazing- plump, crunchy, sooo sweet. There is so much to enjoy about it all on its own, but to this corn I am adding a bunch of crab, jalapenos, Old Bay, and cayenne, and I’m serving them up with a not modest amount of avocado dip. Because, avocados. This could be the official dish of summer and California. I’ll admit, things start feeling a little rich after the fourteenth or fifteenth one. Cold beer or a well-chilled glass of lemonade can help.
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After a year of pondering the whys behind all of our official food holidays, I have decided that on days like today I am just glad to have an excuse to add these to the table. Whoever came up with National Corn Fritter Day, be it a council or a marketing agency or some guy who really digs fried food, I thank you wholeheartedly. Not that I needed that much of an excuse, but I’m glad I had one.

Spicy Corn and Crab Fritters with Avocado Dip

For the fritters:

3 c. of fresh sweet corn (3 ears)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 egg
3/4 cup 2% milk
4 oz. lump crab meat
1 green onion, green part removed, chopped
Peanut oil, enough to make fill a medium pot 3″ deep

Remove the corn from the cob. Pour the olive oil into a pan set over medium-high heat and saute the corn and jalapeno, stirring often. Once the corn is cooked to crisp-tender, remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and spices. Make a well in the center, pour in the egg and milk, and whisk until a smooth batter forms. Add the corn, crab meat and green onion and fold carefully so as not to break down the lumps of crab.

In a medium pot, heat the oil to 365F. Carefully drop ping pong ball-sized spoonfuls into the oil. Be cautious not to overcrowd the pot. Turn each fritter over after about three minutes, or once the submerged side becomes deep golden in color.
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Remove the fritters from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt.

For the dip:

4 small (or two large) ripe avocados
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup sour cream
2-4 tsp fresh lemon juice
Pinch salt
A dash of Tabasco sauce

Place all of the ingredients in bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth.

Eat with reckless abandon.
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I have two left feet and zero rhythm, so none of this: kevin bacon animated GIF(thanks, Giphy)

 

I’m thinking maybe this will do nicely, though: Avocado-English Pea Toast with Black Pepper Bacon (Of course¬†there is bacon on Kevin Bacon’s birthday! Cake can be eaten anytime!)

 

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2 ripe avocados, halved and seeded

1/2 pound of English peas, shucked

Fresh lemon juice, to taste

1 Tbsp. olive oil

salt

2 slices of black pepper bacon, cooked   2 slices of of crusty bread

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Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add the shucked peas. Reduce the heat to a simmer and gently cook the peas until they a tender and mashable with a fork. Drain the peas and rinse the peas under cold water until they are cool. Set aside.

Scoop out the avocados and place them in a bowl with the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Mash them up a little, then add the peas and mash them together until you have an evenly mixed but still chunky.

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Grill or toast the slices of bread and remove from heat.

Top your toast with the avocado mixture, and top that with the bacon. Eat! Now go watch Footloose, or perhaps Tremors, or Beauty Shop. Or A Few Good Men!