SEATTLE — Food Blogger Ashley Rodriguez joins New Day Northwest to talk about her new cookbook "Let's Stay In" and 

Food Blogger Ashley Rodriguez has previously released the cookbook Date Night In and runs the food blog Not Without Salt. Her new cookbook Let's Stay In is filled with recipes meant to share, like the Charred Corn Totchos with Braised Flank Steak and Beer Queso she demonstrated today.  

You can find dates for her book tour on her website.  

Ashley Rodriquez' Charred Corn Totchos with Braised Flank Steak and Beer Queso
New Day Northwest

Charred Corn Totchos with Braised Flank Steak and Beer Queso

Serve the braised steak over the totchos, or you can even skip the tots and use this meat in tacos, burritos, classic nachos, or add a couple more cans of tomatoes (or some beef stock) and a can or two of pinto or black beans for a hearty ropa vieja stew. If you have any leftovers, the crema over grilled corn with a little queso fresco makes a great summer side dish, and that beer nacho cheese turns a tray of chips into something worth bragging about. But really, if you’ve not experienced the wonder of totchos, do me a favor and try these.


Braised Flank Steak 


  • 1 1⁄2 pounds / 680 g flank steak
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1⁄4 cup / 60 ml cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (14.5-ounce / 410 g) can diced tomatoes

Directions: Salt and pepper the steak. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. When the oil shimmers in the pan, sear the steak until deeply charred, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the steak to a plate. Add the garlic, red and green bell peppers, and jalapeño to the pan and sauté for a couple of minutes, or until they soften. Stir in the vinegar, brown sugar, cumin, oregano, and tomatoes. Return the steak to the pan, then bring to a simmer, cover, and braise over low heat for 11⁄2 to 2 hours, or until you can easily shred the meat in the liquid with 2 forks. Taste a piece and add more sea salt, if needed.



  • 1 (32-ounce / 900 g) bag frozen potato tots, such as Tater Tots
  • 3 ears corn, shucked
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 recipe Beer Nacho Cheese (recipe at bottom)
  • 1 recipe Chipotle Lime Crema (recipe at bottom)
  • 1⁄2 cup / 80 g Grilled Pickled Red Onions 
  • 1⁄2 cup / 10 g fresh cilantro
  • 3 radishes, thinly shaved
  • 1⁄2 cup / 60 g crumbled queso fresco
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
  • Lime wedges

Directions: About half an hour before the steak is done, preheat the oven to 425°F / 220°C.

Arrange the potato tots in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Roast until deeply golden and crisp, about 30 minutes.

While the tots roast, slather the corn with the olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Grill or char on a griddle pan until many of the kernels are crisp and charred and the corn is cooked through. Remove the corn from the grill and let cool for about 10 minutes before carefully cutting the kernels off the cob.

Place the tots on a large serving dish, then pour the nacho cheese over them. Top with the braised beef, corn, crema, pickled red onions, cilantro, radishes, queso fresco, avocado, and lime wedges. Serve immediately.

Beer Nacho Cheese

MAKES 2 1⁄2 CUPS / 610 G


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3⁄4 cup / 175 g whole milk
  • 11⁄4 cups / 10 ounces / 310 ml beer (something light, such as a lager or pilsner)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 8 ounces / 230 g grated Gruyère cheese
  • 8 ounces / 230 g grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces / 110 g cream cheese, at room temperature

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Slowly whisk in the milk. Add the beer and bring to a simmer. Stir in the garlic, sea salt, and chipotle.

Add the Gruyère and Cheddar cheese, about 1/3 cup / 40 g at a time, waiting until each addition is melted before adding the next.

Finally, stir in the cream cheese. Taste and add more sea salt or chipotle powder as needed.

The cheese sauce can be made in advance; just rewarm over low heat. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Chipotle Lime Crema 



  • 1⁄2 cup / 140 g sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt

In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime zest and juice, chipotle powder, and sea salt. Taste and adjust to your liking. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Grilled Pickled Red Onions 

MAKES 2 CUPS / 480 G


  • 1 medium-size red onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup / 240 ml cider vinegar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Brush the onion halves with olive oil, then grill (outdoor or indoor grill pan) over high heat until deeply charred on the surface, about 3 minutes. Set aside the onion to cool.

In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, sea salt, honey, garlic, oregano, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer. Slice the onion about 1⁄4 inch / 6 mm thick, then add to the pickling liquid. Simmer for a minute or so, just until onion starts to look pale pink and soften just slightly. Let this mixture come to room temperature before refrigerating until ready to use.

Pickled onions (or whatever else you may be pickling) will last for several weeks if sealed in an airtight container in the fridge.

Add these onions to nachos, tacos, or salads, mince and stir into dressings or dips, or use as a Bloody Mary garnish.

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