Foodiva's Kitchen: 5 Star Makeover - Spicy Cheetos Churros with Sweet Red Cabbage Gazpacho

Thursday, March 29, 2012

5 Star Makeover - Spicy Cheetos Churros with Sweet Red Cabbage Gazpacho


Our assigned ingredient for this month's 5 Star Makeover was Junk Food! We were to take our typical or favorite snacks and use them to create a gourmet meal. For this purpose, I decided to make an elegant appetizer with components that are familiar to most people - a savory churros with an accompanying gazpacho dip


As much as I lean towards healthy eating nowadays, I won't try to deny my terrible past, eating habit-wise. During my younger days especially as a financially-struggling student, junk food featured prominently in my diet. The processed stuff, the colorful and radioactive stuff, they have probably passed through my body at least once. Only since I started growing older have I been more aware and careful of the things I put into my mouth. 


My junk food days are far from over, but there are less and less of them that I crave for nowadays. When I do have them, they're usually the sweet things (oh, the bane of a diabetes gene-carrier) or else, the really salty, cheesy, crunchy things. That's why it was fairly easy for me to decide what to use in this makeover - Cheddar JalapeƱo Cheetos and Chocolate Chips More cookies. These are my snacks of choice especially on those down- and PMS-ey days. But not every month, of course :).


I opted to incorporate the rich cheese flavor and spiciness of the Cheetos in churros so I made bite-sized ones using the 'flour' from ground Cheetos. What I didn't anticipate was how much oil was contained in the Cheetos, most probably from the processed cheese. Using a traditional churros recipe, I added toasted cumin to the ground Cheetos and omitted the sugar and salt (there may be enough salt in Cheetos to sustain your dietary requirements for a long while, anyway). I substituted some of the all-purpose flour with the oily Cheetos flour, and reduced the butter by half. And then the phone rang, and things started to go slightly downhill from there.


While my friend and I nattered on the phone, the choux-like dough started firming up in the pan. Again, I blame the cheese in the Cheetos. By the time I hung up, the dough was the consistency of overexposed playdoh and became pretty hard to pipe into long churros strips without it breaking off into short pieces. Churros bites it was destined to be, then! The oiliness of the dough also meant that the churros would distintegrate in hot oil, so I froze them for 30 minutes on the tray and simply baked them in the oven. Instantly, they became healthier - at least that was my happy thought. 

For the gazpacho dip, I blended together soft, ripe black plums, red cabbage strips, cucumber, garlic, fresh basil with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. In traditional gazpachos, bread was often added to the liquid before blending to add texture to the cold soup. Instead of bread, for my dip I crumbled several Chips More cookies into the fruit and vegetable mixture and blended it further until it smoothed out. The sweet and savory lilac dip perfectly balanced out the cheesy, spiced heat of the Cheetos churros. For a while, I completely forgot these even contained junk food!


32 comments:

RavieNomNoms said...

Whoa, this is so creative. I would never think to put any of that together! Good job

Priyanka said...

Thats so innovative. Great presentation.

Kiri W. said...

Holy cow - completely unexpected ingredients! I have to say, I am a bit scared of cheetos, but I'd love to try this just because it's so ... well, unexpected. :)

Lora said...

Cheetah Churros? Omg, you're killing me. Serious yum!

Cher Rockwell said...

You are just a clever Betty, um Maya...
Cheeto churros. Who would've thunk it :-)

Gina said...

You are killing me with your oily cheeto flour, lol. Only you darling could make those things into something edible. Hope you are having a good week.
-GIna-

Natasha Price said...

How neat that you made churros with spicy cheetos, and I'm loving the red cabbage gazpacho dip as an accompaniment here, excellent!

Vicki Bensinger said...

What a fun idea Maya. Yum spicy Cheetos and the Gazpacho Dip is so unusual. What a great combo!

Faith said...

This is such a creative dish! I'm blown away by how unique the idea is...I haven't had a churro (or Cheetos!) in forever, but I'm craving them both now, lol!

Lazaro Cooks said...

Such a creative and imaginative idea. Well done. The flavor paring just works and I am a big Cheetos fan.

Fabulous.

Marina@Picnic at Marina said...

What a fun post! I love the idea of twisting unusual ingredients!

Pola M said...

What a wonderful idea! I would have never guessed there was junk food in there!

FOODalogue said...

Wow, this is crazy good! Great idea and execution -- and clever save by freezing the dough a bit.

Torviewtoronto said...

looks wonderful delicious colourful food and pictures

Gerry @Foodness Gracious said...

I need me some cheddar jalapeno cheetos like right now...Great post but I do love my chips!!

Kris' Kitchen said...

You are so clever and creative. Such a fun idea. Colorful and sounds like spicy goodness. I always love your posts...a pleasure to see and fun to read.

Rita D K Simmons said...

Love this and what a great makeover, who would have thought! Great Idea, thanks for the share :-)

Daisy@Nevertoosweet said...

You are honestly so creative Maya :) I've never thought of a savoury churros and mixing cheetos hehe I've always liked cheesy junk food :P

I probably wont be that talented to remake this at home but definitely want to try some if I had the chance too :D

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

I'm speechless! You always amazes me with your creativity but the cheetos churros?! No one would come up such an crazy creative idea like you! Very entertaining post, Maya!

Sandra M. said...

Beautiful post Maya! Fantastic combo!!

www.you-made-that.com said...

So creative, great job on the challenge!

jen laceda said...

very interesting...i like!

Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) said...

Very clever! I admit, Cheetos are a guilty pleasure and I often come home from the grocery store with a bag. those churros look amazing! Terrific makeover!

Table Talk said...

Cheetos flour--- now that will add some color! Very creative entry; so fun.

gobakeyourself said...

OMG you spice genius - these are some savoury churros I would dig into - what a unique idea :D
Love them!

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

Magic of Spice said...

These are fantastic...and so much fun! Amazing job and idea :)

Lacy @ NYCityEats said...

Umm I didn't even know that they made spicy cheetos! Luckily I haven't seen them or they'd be my new addiction! This is an awesome twist on the sweet churro! Looks delicious!

Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts said...

This is insane! Such a creative and good job!

Tanantha said...

Oh Maya, those spicy cheetos are additive. I feel like I've been eating so unhealthy food/snack. Everyone's junk food is my fav hahaha. This dish actually so clever use of cheetos! yeah bake it makes it a little healthy but the fact that you pair it with healthy gapazcho is a bonus.

Spicie Foodie said...

Chips are my kryptonite :) I can't believe you get that Cheetos flavor there, so jealous. I love your makeover, you did an amazing job Maya. But then again I wouldn't expect any less from you:)

Lori Lynn said...

That is probably the most creative interpretation of the Junk Food Challenge from color, to flavor, to texture. You are a brave woman!
LL

lostpastremembered said...

Those churros look perfect. Who would have known that you used cheetos to make such a light and airy mix. Love the cabbage smoothy too... how good for you it must be. Plums and cabbage sound like an enlightened combo. Very creative!

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