Superbowl Sunday was another “Mexican” holiday for us. Is there ever not a good time for Mexican food? Rather than post everything in one blog I’m going to do them separately so the recipes are easier to follow and find when need be.
Some of the recipes I made on Sunday have been altered from a Better Homes & Gardens special interest magazine I picked up one day when I was trying to be patient in a long line at Hobby Lobby. (There’s something about craft stores and long lines that make you want to go postal.) I’m a bit of a magazine addict so I try to steer clear of them in the checkout line…but, I was trying to distract myself from asking the person behind me “WHY do they have a gazillion checkout lines and only use 2 when the store is packed?” I try not to spread a bad mood, eye rolling, sighing, and impatience if I can help myself. So…I busied myself with the magazine rack (and the candy rack, but that’s a story for another time.)
I have three Mexican cookbooks and oddly enough this magazine (that yes, I did buy) touts that it has “106 authentic recipes”… has recipes that are not in any of the Mexican cookbooks I have. Everything I made was delicious and there are several more recipes dog-eared for a later date.
So, all in all, lesson learned. Sometimes (all the time really) things happen for a reason. And even though I was totally annoyed at Hobby Lobby, I came away with a very cool and usable magazine full of authentic Mexican recipes along with Junior Mints, Baby Sweet Tarts, Valentine’s Day “stuff”, and a decent attitude.
First the Queso.
I’ve been wondering if I could make a dairy free “goat like” cheese with almond milk. I didn’t try it this time because I ran across raw goat’s milk at one of our local health food stores and grabbed that instead. But next week, I will definitely be trying to see if I can make Queso with almond milk. It curdles when you put lemon juice in it so I will be interested to see what happens…and of course I’ll let you know. But for now, it’s Queso Fresco with raw goat’s milk and it’s simple, simple, simple. It’s very delicate tasting with just a hint of goat, not at all like aged goat cheese. More like slightly goaty ricotta and delicious.
Homemade Queso Fresco
One Half Gallon Very Fresh Raw Goat’s Milk
About 1 -2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
3/4 Cup Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
(1/2 gallon of milk makes a little over one small ramekin of cheese, about 6 or 7 ounces)
Do not use aluminum. In a large dutch oven or stainless steel pot add several inches of water and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes to sanitize. Drain, add the milk and salt, stir. Heat to 190 degrees stirring frequently. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t scald on the bottom of the pan.
Meanwhile, line a large strainer with the cheesecloth. I used all of the cheesecloth in the small package I purchased. Just fold it over. Place the strainer over a deep bowl.
When the milk reaches 190 degrees, remove from heat. Slowly stir in the lemon juice. Allow to rest for 25 minutes. Stir, pour slowly into the cheesecloth. Allow to drain for about 30 minutes. Carefully pull the sides of the cloth in and twist into a ball, carefully squeezing out some more of the liquid. Allow to rest and drain for another 15 minutes or so.
Remove the cheesecloth from the strainer and scrape the cheese off with a spoon into a small bowl or ramekin. Refrigerate until ready to use.
*When I first opened up the cheesecloth I was worried that all of the cheese had drained out with the liquid because it looked like such a small amount. But, as I pulled back the layers of cheesecloth I could see that it had settled down to the last layer of cloth.
Corn Salad with Queso Fresco
5 Cups of Frozen Corn or Fresh Corn (if you use fresh corn grill it)
Homemade Queso Fresco (About 2 Tablespoons or so)
2 Cups Finely Chopped Red and Orange Sweet Bell Pepper
1 Cup Finely Chopped Red Onion
2 Fresh Jalapeno (seeded) Finely Chopped
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
3/4 Cup Lime Juice
A Generous Pinch of Sugar
2 Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro
1/2 – 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
Several Grinds of Pepper
Defrost or grill the corn. In a large bowl combine the corn, sweet pepper, onion, and jalapeno. In a small bowl or screw top jar, combine the olive oil, lime juice, sugar, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Shake well. Add to the corn mixture and toss until thoroughly coated. Top with the Queso Fresco and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
When ready to serve, toss to re-coat with dressing and distribute the Queso Fresco.