29 June, 2012

June Potluck with I Heart Cooking Clubs

Cheese is Best Served Oooey Gooey

Brie Cheese in Green and Red Salsa's with Whole Roasted Cloves of Garlic

Queso Fundido from our favorite Fondita in La Marquesa, Estado de Mexico

I don't know what is wrong with us but we have been eating a lot of cheese lately.  Our cheese lady at the Tiangis is very happy about this of course; our jeans... not so much.  But with all these wonderful inspirations for fun Oooey Gooey treats who can really blame us?

Queso Charro (remembered)  from Carlos N Chalies in Mexico City, DF

Whole Roasted Garlic with Brie Cheese and Tomatillo- Cilantro Salsa from Cafe Pasqual's in Santa Fe, NM

Queso Fundido al Tequila from Rick Bayless and Food & Wine

It started with finding a whole wheel of Brie for $80 pesos at Costo. Finally I would get to try the reciepe from Cafe Pasqual's in Santa Fe, NM.  My mom and I had a lovely week long vacation in Santa Fe and one of the highlights was ordering take out (the line was so crazy and people were blocking the door like Line Backers during the Super Bowl) from Cafe Pasqual's.  Both of our favorite dish was this melty Brie served with a whole head of Roasted Garlic and two kinds of salsa to dip everything in and smear over crusty french bread.  As soon as I got home I ordered the cookbook online.  I have been DYING to try out this receipe ever since the book arrived.  We tried making individual servings here at home and tested it out with two different salsas.  We both prefered the green salsa, which the reciepe calls for.  But we also thought it would be amazing with Chimichuri!

Inspired by my melty cheese dish, Boris remembered Carlos 'N Charlies a popular restaraunt in Mexico City, that unfortunalty seems to have disapeared in the years that Boris was in the States.  One of his favorite dishes was called Queso Chavo.  It was served with a nice salad and 4oz each of breaded and fried Sharp Cheddar and Gouda.  We had Boris' rendition of it for dinner, and I could see why it was a favorite of his.  I know that I am adding it to my list of "Special Request Dinners".... I love being married to a Chef!!!

Continuing our stint of Ooey Gooey Cheesey Dinners we had to make Queso Fundido.  It is a classic Mexican dish not to be confused with Nacho Cheese or Cheese Dip.  Queso Fundido is best in Tacos, not with chips.  At our local Tiangis they sell "Gringa Tacos"  They throw some Oaxacan Cheese on the Grill and let it get all melted and just a little bit crispy around the edges then they scoop it up with a flour tortilla and slam some meat (your choice) and grilled nopales inside.  I get one nearly every week!  Keeping with that idea we shreaded some Oaxacan cheese and chopped some Chistora we tossed it all into our smallest Iron Skillet and melted it all until it was bubbling.  We ate it scalding hot with blue corn tortillas that we picked up at the Tiangis.  It is so much better than a Quesadilla even though the ingredients are basically the same.

After all of that Ooey Gooeyness we needed some crunch, but still not finished with cheese we went for the crunchiest cheese of all: Cheese Chicharon!  We love Chicharon on our Carnitas tacos, and in our Tacos Placeros so we thought we would try Cheese Chicharon on our tacos this week.  That reminded me of another drool-worthy episode of One Plate at a time... you can check out the video clip by following the link below.

  • Servings: Makes 8, serving 4 to 8 as a snack
  • Provided by: 

8 ounces finely shredded cheese (Monterey Jack works well)
Set a medium non-stick skillet (or a well-seasoned cast iron one) over medium-high heat. When hot, remove from the heat and sprinkle an even, light, slightly lacy-looking coating of cheese over the bottom of the pan. (Getting the exact quantity that's right for your pan takes a little practice -- my 10-inch All-Clad non-stick pan needs about 1/4 cup of finely-shredded cheese to cover the pan appropriately.) When the cheese has fully melted swirl the skillet to coat the bottom completely. As the cheese browns, the oil will have separated and the cheese will have adhered to the pan's surface. Tip off the excess oil into a heatproof bowl. As the cheese turns an even deep golden (not all the white will have disappeared), use a small spatula or table knife to loosen the "chicharron" from the pan. Lift it up as you would a crepe and very carefully roll it into a big hollow 2-inch cylinder (or drape it over the side of a 2-inch diameter bottle). It will cool immediately and become crisp.Continue making chicharrones de queso until all the cheese is used. Storing them in a closed container away from humidity.

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