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Avocado Egg Rolls

There are some chains who have made an impression on the masses with one or two shining items.  Even if the quality is lacking, we know of many who would order avocado egg rolls as a TGIF bar snack or a date night appetizer.  Admittedly, we have in the past – but there’s no need to waste any more travel time, gas, and tips if you can recreate your favorite restaurant’s fried fare at home.

avocado egg rolls

avocado egg rolls

Makes 12 rolls

48 oz. of peanut oil for frying

5 large avocados

8 oz. of softened cream cheese (that means leave it on the counter for 1 hour)

12 egg roll wrappers

3 chipotle peppers, fished from a can of adobo sauce

3 tbs. of chopped cilantro

Juice of 1 lime

2 tsp. of salt

1 tsp. of cumin

Heat the oil to 375 degrees F in a deep fryer.  Slice the avocados in half lengthwise, twist, and remove the pit.  Scoop the insides of 3 avocados into a food processor, and slice the other 2 avocados lengthwise, 3 pieces each.  To the avocados in the food processor, add the cream cheese, chipotle peppers, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and cumin.  Process until smooth and creamy.

fold left and right, then top and bottom

fold left and right, then top and bottom

Lay out an egg roll wrapper on a cutting board.  Place about 2 large tablespoons of the processed avocado in the center of the wrap in an oblong shape.  Lay a slice of avocado on top of the processed avocado.  Wrap by first folding in the sides of the wrapper, then the top.  Have a small bowl of water nearby, and bringing the bottom corner up and over, dip your fingertip in the water and trace along the edge of the wrapper to seal it.

Place the egg rolls in the hot oil one at a time.  Be careful not to overcrowd the fryer too quickly.  Cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown.

Remove with tongs and place on a towel to soak up any excess oil.

Serve with ranch or a simple, spicy sauce of:

1/2 cup of buttermilk

1/2 cup of mayonnaise

2 tbs. of sriracha

Tacos de Carne Asada

The word taco comes from Nahuatl, a language indigenous to Central America that was used by the Aztec and is still spoken by about 1.5 million people today.  The tlacopan, aka taco, is now a staple across Mexico and its neighbors, and no wonder – one is just enough to tide you over until the next meal, or multiple tacos can be filling and fulfilling, so they please as a snack or an entree.  Simple but scrumptious, make your own instead of visiting that infamous chain and you might not care to return there.

Makes 10 stuffed tacos

1 1/2 lb. flank steak

10 small corn tortillas

2 cups of shredded iceberg lettuce

2 tomatoes, diced

1 large avocado, halved and sliced

1 cup of canola oil (for frying)

1 cup of sour cream

3/4 cup of mild or medium cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup of soy sauce

3 tbs. of milk

1 tbs. of dried cumin

2 tsp. of dried oregano

2 tsp. of garlic powder

2 tsp. of onion powder

1 tsp. of cayenne pepper

Your favorite salsa to taste



Make a marinade with the soy sauce, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne.  Mix together in a bowl.  Put the flank steak in a large food storage bag, add the marinade mix, zip closed, and let sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

fry 'em up

fry ’em up

Fill a deep-sided saute pan with the oil.  Heat over medium heat.  One or two at a time, place the tortillas in the oil; fry each side for roughly 1 minute, turning only once.  The edges of the tortillas will be harder while the centers stay somewhat softer.

Using tongs and a long knife, as soon as you take a tortilla out of the oil, bend it over the knife.



Use brown paper bags to soak up oil and let the tortilla shells drain and harden.  Mix the sour cream with milk and transfer to a squirt bottle for fancier looking presentation, but keep in the refrigerator for now.

grill it up

grill it up

Clean and then preheat the grill on medium-high heat.  Grill the flank steak to your desired temperature, flipping once.

medium rare

medium rare

Roughly 10 minutes on each side would be medium-rare.



Remove the meat from the grill and transfer to a clean cutting board.  Let rest for 5-6 minutes.  Slice lengthwise, then each strip slice into thin pieces – the thinner the meat, the easier to eat.

Load up the shells with: steak, salsa of your choice, lettuce, cheese, avocado, sour cream, and tomato.

tacos con carne asada

tacos de carne asada

Chef Zach’s Sonora Hot Dogs

Coney, Chicago, kraut.  Some variations of hot dogs are known all over, so the name alone is enough to conjure images of the ingredients, smells, and flavors.  Today for the Fourth of July, we thought to try a style we hadn’t before: Sonora.  This originates in the capital of Sonora, a state in Mexico, and is the version popular in Arizona and New Mexico.  Before turning up your nose and declaring, “How un-American!”, don’t forget that many western states only became part of the Union fairly recently, in the grand scheme of things.  To honor our country’s rich history, Chef Zach presents his interpretation of the Sonora dog.

As many natural, all-beef hot dogs and buns as you want (we made 14 tonight for a small get-together)

1 strip of Niman Ranch bacon per hot dog

2 avocados

2 tomatoes, sliced

1 can of ranch-style beans

1/2 cup of sour cream

2 tbs. of whole milk

The juice of 1/2 of a lime

Halve the avocados, remove the pits, and scoop out the fruit into a bowl.  Mash with the lime juice.  Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Combine the sour cream and milk, and transfer to a squirt bottle; keep this in the refrigerator, as well.

wrapped and ready

wrapped and ready

Wrap each hot dog with a strip of bacon.  Secure with toothpicks.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees F to warm the buns later.

top rack

top rack

If you have multiple levels in your grill, it is recommended that you first place the hot dogs on the top rack to help render some of the fat.  Let the fat drip down but expect flare ups, so be prepared to move the hot dogs around to avoid flames.  Therefore, you don’t want to overload the grill, because you need room to move around the hot dogs.

Heat the ranch-style beans as directed.



After about 6 minutes, place the buns on a baking sheet and warm in the oven for 6 minutes, leaving the hot dogs on the grill for a total of 12 minutes.  Remove the toothpicks from the hot dogs, place in the buns, and garnish with: beans, tomato slices, avocado, and sour cream.