Cook the Book: 'Ultimate Nachos'

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Have you ever thought to yourself, "Gee, I wish I could eat nachos for every meal of the day, every day of the week"? Or, "I love eating nachos, but melted cheddar and chips gets old after a while"? These simple questions were at the center of the launch of Nachos NY, a website dedicated to sussing out the best that New York's nacho scene has to over. The founders, Lee Frank and Rachel Anderson, have spent the last four years in a nacho-induced food coma, and now they've got a cookbook to show for it.

Ultimate Nachos contains 80-something recipes for nachos and their BFFs (guac, salsa, and margaritas), including dips and dishes that even vegans can enjoy. The range in nacho variety is surprisingly wide for a single-subject cookbook; everything from cheddar cheese sauce and chorizo to lamb chili and artichoke hearts make an appearance. In other words, it's tough to get bored when cooking through the book. Many dishes come from contributors, including Cathy Erway, Melissa Clark, our very own J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, and winners of Frank and Anderson's guacamole contest, Guactacular.

Given the wide spread of contributors, the reliability of the recipes is hit or miss. Some recipes are rock solid, while others could have used tighter editing and more rigorous testing. That said, with a bit of culinary instinct, each of these nacho plates can be executed with ooey, gooey enjoyment.

We're gonna cook ourselves more than a few platters of nachos this week. We'll start out with a breakfast nachos skillet full of gooey mozzarella. For a light appetizer, we'll plate tostadas de jaiba en salpicon, an elegant spread of crab, potatoes, and radishes. Then we'll make a couple of epic meat and cheese dishes: a take on ball park nachos and a second platter filled with jerk chicken and mango salsa. Finally, we'll tackle dessert with caramel-y, ganache-dipped choco-nachos.

Win 'Ultimate Nachos'

Thanks to the kind folks at St. Martin's Griffin, we have five (5) copies of Ultimate Nachos to give away this week. All you need to do to win a copy is tell us about your ultimate nacho combination—anything goes.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, Berkeleyside NOSH, and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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