Chiles Rellenos, one of my all time favorites. My inspiration for this dish was the delicious cheese I had received from the nice people at Cabot Cheese. Cheese stuffed rellenos are one of the most popular dishes when it comes to Mexican and Tex Mex recipes. For today’s blog post, I was anxious to try out the Smoky Bacon Cheddar Cheese in my relleno recipe. I have prepared many, many rellenos, big and small, baked and fried, you name it. But, I don’t think I have ever stuffed any with all cheddar cheese. Freezing the peppers after you stuff and bread them is one of the best tips I learned along the way. This will pretty much keep you cheese from leaking out while it bakes or fries. So, thanks to the wonderful farmers at Cabot Creamery Cooperative for this tasty twist on chiles rellenos.
Smoky Bacon Cheddar Chile Relleno
4 large roasted anaheim peppers 4 oz. smoky bacon cheddar 1/2 cup flour, salt and pepper 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon hot sauce 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs spray oil, or olive oil
For Salsa 4 large roma tomatoes, chopped 2 to 4 serranos, chopped 1/4 white onion 2 cloves garlic, sliced salt and pepper to taste pinch of oregano olive oil
For Garnish Avocado slices Thinly sliced onion Chopped cilantro
To roast peppers in the oven, set the top rack 10 to 12 inches from broiler. Turn on high. Place peppers on baking sheet and cook under broiler for 6 to 8 minutes, turning as needed to blister the skins. Place in plastic bag or glass bowl and cover to steam. Let them cool.
1. Carefully peel the blistered skins off of the roasted green chiles. Cut a T shape up near the base of the pepper and remove the seeds and membranes as best you can. Careful not to tear the pepper too much when removing the membranes. If they tear, the freezing step will help keep them from opening up while cooking. Cut the cheese to fit inside the peppers, but making sure they will close.
2. Set up breading station. It’s best to use a shallow dish, such as a pie plate for breading. In one, add the flour, salt and pepper. In second dish, whisk eggs with hot sauce. In the third add the seasoned breadcrumbs. I actually used cornflake crumbs on this day.
3. Using both hands, dredge through flour, then into eggwash and finally coat with breadcrumbs. Use your hands to coat evenly. This is not my favorite job, but it’s the only way. Transfer peppers to a plate and freeze for 1 to 2 hours.
4. To cook peppers, you could shallow fry them until crisp and golden brown or you could bake them on a sprayed sheet pan in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes. If you bake them, spray the tops of peppers with oil before baking to crisp up the tops. I baked them on this day.
5. For salsa, add all ingredients, minus the oil to the blender. Add just enough water to help salsa blend easier. Blend until smooth. Pour into a skillet that has been preheated at medium with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the salsa for 6 to 8 minutes, taste for salt and pepper. Add warm salsa to serving plate and top with chile relleno. Garnish with avocado, onion and cilantro. Yields 4 servings.
Garnished with a Smoked and Grilled Pico de Gallo Salsa. Click onto picture to see full recipe.
Queso Blanco, a warm, silky and creamy cheese dip served in thousands of Tex Mex and Mexican restaurants through out the country. I did not have my first bowl of nachos until I moved to Texas from California in 1979. I was hooked! It was not this queso blanco version, but that bright orange version served over salty, round tortilla chips and topped with jalapeño rings. It was new and exciting, lol! Soon after that, we had Mom preparing nachos for us at home every weekend. I guess you could say, that nachos were not a California thing, but it did not take long to catch on. During my seven years in Texas, I had my fair share of nachos.
I ended up married to a wonderful man, that happens to not be so crazy about cheese, ha, ha, ha! Soon the nachos went by the wayside, but years later I found myself preparing a big batch of queso blanco every week for FiestaFriday’s. I prepared a mexican lunch once a week for a whole year at a specialty kitchen store, Front and Center, where I happen to teach cooking classes as well. This blog post is dedicated to queso, melted, shredded, crumbled and sliced…. These are some of my favorite cheese recipes.
Queso de Freir~ Fried Cheese Crostini September 23, 2014
Easy Peasy recipe! Lol! Sorry, had to say it.
1 package of Queso Tropical, queso de freir
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 baguette, sliced at a bias for crostini, toasted(8 half inch slices)
1 cup your favorite salsa, red or green recipe (check out all of my favorite salsa recipes under the category section. Many to choose from)
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice the cheese into 8 equal slices. In a large skillet at medium/low heat, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and toast the garlic slices until golden. Remove from oil, turn heat up to medium. When hot, add the cheese slices and cook for just a 20 to 30 seconds per side or until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on toasted crostini slices. Garnish with salsa, cilantro and oregano. Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Serve right away. Yields 4 servings as an appetizer.
Grilled Veggie Quesadillas August 11, 2014
Grilled Veggie Quesadillas can be made with a variety of vegetables. After a quick trip to the farmers market last weekend, it was time for a grilling session. One of my favorite things to do is to grill a big batch of my favorite vegetables and keep them in my refrigerator for different meals during the week. And if you are worried about not using up that quickly, just toss them lightly in your favorite vinegar and this will preserve them a little longer, until you are ready to use them. The vegetables are great for sandwiches, wraps, salads, soups and really tasty for preparing quesadillas. This was my first time grilling broccoli. It was not bad at all. The stem towards the end, was a a little tough, so I think that next time I would just steam them for a few minutes in the microwave before grilling. The tasty, melty Mexican cheese made up for the tough piece of broccoli though, ha, ha, ha!!
1 small head of broccoli 1summer squash or zucchini
1 small red bell pepper
1 small sweet onion
*Slice or chop your vegetables in big pieces so they are easier to grill. Try slicing the broccoli so it has one flat side.
Salt and pepper
2 cups Chihuahua, jack or any good melting cheese, shredded
8 Fajita size flour tortillas
Preheat grill to medium/high heat. Drizzle olive oil on veggies and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables directly on the grill or on a pan made for the grill. Grill for 7 to 10 minutes, turning as needed. Chop into smaller pieces before assembling quesadillas. For quesadillas, add about 1 ounce of shredded cheese to one tortilla, 4 tablespoons of grilled veggie mix, more cheese and then top with another tortilla. You can cook on the grill or on the stove top in a non stick pan at medium heat. I cover with a lid so it creates some steam and helps the cheese melt easier. I did not brush the tortillas with any oil or butter, but you can do this while cooking them for a crispier finish.
* Both of the cheeses pictured are excellent melting cheeses for quesadillas!
Tips~ The recipes for the red and green salsa’s and homemade flour tortillas can be found right on my blog. Just search under categories for ” A Trio of Summer Salsa’s” and “Tortillas” .
1 1/2 pounds american style cheese, diced
8 ounces monterey jack cheese, pepperjack or with jalapeño, shredded
12 ounces evaporated milk
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup diced pickled jalapeños, optional
* I found an 8 ounce pack of pepperjack slices and added that as well
Combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan. Heat to medium/low and let come up to temperature and melt slowly. Stir as needed. Serve right away. Yields about 4 1/2 cups.
Tips~ Make sure the American cheese is not labeled as “Cheese Product” on the package.
Queso con Chiles Toreados
A slightly more complex recipe than the first, but still very tasty!
4 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup hot turkey or pork sausage (2 links; remove the casings) 4 to 6 large jalapeño peppers, stems removed (I left the seeds in, however)
1/3 cup diced sweet onions
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 cups Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 cup white extra sharp cheese, shredded
1 cup Oaxaca or string cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon Tabasco hot sauce or to taste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Tips~ You could substitute mexican style chorizo for the hot turkey sausage.
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil to medium heat. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes or until nicely browned. Remove from pan onto a plate.
2. To that same pan, add 1 more tablespoon of oil. Cook the jalapeños for a few minutes or until the skins start to blister and blacken in spots. Remove from pan.
3. Again to that same pan, add the last 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onions and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. While the onions are cooking, dice up the jalapeños. I left the seeds in.
4. Add the flour to the onions and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and continue cooking until it starts to form a thick sauce. Add in all of the remaining ingredients; remove from heat. The cheese will melt right away. Transfer to serving dish and serve with tortilla chips or tostadas. Yields about 4 cups.
Queso Fundido with Peppers and Chorizo
8 ounce block of Monterey jack cheese, shredded ¼ cup roasted, diced poblano ¼ cup, roasted, diced red bell pepper ½ cup cooked Mexican chorizo (drain on paper towels after cooking)
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Combine all ingredients in a small casserole dish and bake, covered, at 350ºF for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook under broiler for 2 minutes. Serve with chips, crostini or as a taco filling.
Jalapeño Popper Dip, A great recipe I developed for Que Rica Vida. http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/jalapeno-popper-dip/ Click onto picture for recipe.
Guacamole Filled Queso Fundido, another of my recipes for Que Rica Vida. http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/guacamole-filled-queso-fundido/
Chile Chilaca con Queso y Crema also known as Rajascon Queso is delicious and can prepared with minimal ingredients. This is the chile con queso dish that is popular through out Mexico. It is most often served as an appetizer or as a starter. it makes a great meatless meal for any time of the year. This mexican version of chile con queso is very different from the Tex Mex version. But if I think about it now, it shares all of the same flavors, such as chile peppers and a great melting cheese.
*Some different add ins could be corn, zucchini or mushroom
Olive oil 3 Anaheim peppers (Chilaca) 1 poblano pepper 1 jalapeño 1 small sweet onion 1/4 cup milk, at room temperature (I used 1% milk) 1/4 cup sour cream or Mexican crema, at room temperature (I used light sour cream)
1 tablespoon of flour 1/3 teaspoon white pepper 8 ounces queso Panela, Fesco, Oaxaca, Asedero or Mozzarella, sliced into small cubes or shredded for a smoother finish. Salt to taste
*Today’s recipe is prepared with mostly Anaheim peppers or chile chilaca, but could most certainly be prepared with all poblano peppers.
* The Chile Chilaca, also known as New Mexico, Hatch and Anaheim, depending on where it is grown.
**You will also need Corn or flour tortillas Your favorite salsa
1. Preheat broiler to high for 5 minutes. Line a baking sheet with foil paper, set aside. Wash the peppers and place onto baking sheet. Peel and slice the onion in quarters. Place the veggies under the broiler for 14 to 18 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven and cover with a kitchen towel. let cool.
2. Once cooled, remove blistered skins from peppers, as well as seeds and stems. Slice the peppers and onions into thin strips and set aside.
3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil to medium. Add the onions and peppers and cook just until warm. Reduce the heat and whisk in flour with milk, crema and white pepper. Add to pepper mix. Cook on low/medium heat for a few minutes or until it gets thick. Add in the cheese and cook just until slightly melted .Taste for salt and pepper, remove from heat. Yields up to 4 servings. Serve with chips, warm tortillas and your favorite salsa.
Tips~ The first time I prepared this dish, the sour cream curdled and although it looked terrible, it was still tasty. Since then, I learned a few tips on preventing that. Before adding to hot pan, make sure milk and crema is at room temperature. You could also whisk in 1/2 tablespoon of flour to the crema. It will become a thickener and prevent curdling. When preparing warm sauces with crema, temper the crema by whisking in a little of the hot liquid a little at a time before adding to pan. Always cook at a low simmer.
Embracing my Mexican heritage and sharing all the wonderful flavors, colors and foods I grew up with. Join me on this journey as I also learn new foods and cooking techniques. Dedicated to my parents Ramiro and Blanca.