Posts filed under ‘Cheese’

Cubicle Foraging – Cotija Cheese – part 2

I am finally getting around to posting about the tasty things that I made with my cotija cheese.  I got nine delicious ounces of it to take home a few weeks back and wasn’t quite sure what to do with it as I had never made anything with it before.

I found two recipes that sounded good, Cauliflower Gratin with Cotija Cheese (found on myrecipes.com and apparently taken from Sunset magazine) and Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas (found on recipezaar.com and apparently originally from Williams Sonoma in some fashion).

I didn’t have quite enough cheese for both recipes, so I ended up doing reduced portion versions of both items (albeit on different days).  Both dinners ended up being a bit of a study in what you can do wrong and how it is wonderfully tasty anyhow.  =)

Cauliflower Gratin with Cotija Cheese

(adapted from what I found on myrecipes.com and apparently taken from Sunset magazine)

1 large cauliflower head, trimmed of the stem and leaves (roughly 1.5 lbs)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 pound poblano chilies
6 ounces cotija cheese
Salt and fresh ground pepper

First, deal with your poblano peppers.  The original recipe calls for roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into strips.

(If you are like me, and skimmed the recipe, you may have ended up doing this bit somewhere in the middle and having to delay other parts while you do it.  I ended up doing a combination of two things, some dry pan cooking to toast them and then some time in the oven to bake them through.  Ideally, you would bake them til they got very soft and peeling would be easy.  I ran out of time, so I went ahead and seeded them, peeled what I could, and then diced them with bits of skin left on.  This seemed to work fine.)

Next, trim, rinse, and cut your cauliflower.  You want relatively small floret pieces, perhaps 1/4 inch wide.  Try for fairly uniform pieces, as it will help them have a similar consistency once they are cooked.  Prep a large pan of boiling water to put the cauliflower in.  Cook them at a boil for about 3 minutes.  Rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside.

Take your heavy cream and stir the cayenne into it.  Turn your oven on to 450 degrees F.

Assemble the gratin.  In a baking dish (I did mine in a round casserole dish, which I believe was 2.5 quart capacity) layer about a quarter of the cauliflower across the bottom.  Cover this with a quart of the cream.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.  Add a layer of poblano pieces and some of the crumbled cotija.  Repeat this process until you have used all the ingredients, ending with the cheese on top.

(If you accidentally forget to layer the cheese in, like I did, and you can choose to stick it all on top or to mix the whole thing and just sprinkle the top.  I would recommend mixing it all up, as the large layer of cheese on top didn’t let the dish get the proper texture through out.  It was still incredibly tasty, however.)

Bake in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, keeping an eye on how brown the cheese top is getting.  Let the dish rest for about 15 minutes prior to serving.

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April 1, 2010 at 3:52 pm Leave a comment

Cheese Bar (formerly known as Steve’s Cheese) – yet another reason to move to Southeast Portland

I know I am behind the times, in that I didn’t catch this move immediately, but I just ran into the fact that Steve’s Cheese is no longer in Northwest.  It was one of the non-restaurant food highlights of that part of town for me.  The cheese counter would sport sometimes a couple hundred unusual and interesting cheeses, some of them difficult to find elsewhere in Portland.

They have apparently moved to Southeast Portland and are now located on Belmont.  I have been resisting the pull to move into Southeast, being as yet unwilling to give up my twenty minute walk to work in the mornings.  But the pull is increasing exponentially as the months go by.  There are tons of hidden gems to be found in Beaverton, but the plethora of amazing restaurants, food spots, and other engaging locations and events to be found on the East side of Portland (not to mention a large number of my friends) may pull me in at the end of my current lease.

For those of you on the East Side, go check out Cheese Bar.  I haven’t been to the new location, but a trip will now have to be arranged.  I will be out that direction on Saturday, so perhaps I will make a detour their way.

March 24, 2010 at 10:49 am Leave a comment

Cubicle Foraging – Cotija Cheese

Well, I lucked out on Friday and got some tasty stuff to take home.  Part of which was 9 ounces of Cotija cheese.  Cotija is rather salty and often crumbly, though there is a less salt and more cohesive version out there as well, which I believe is called Tajo cheese.

I went digging around on the net, and there were recipes for many tasty things.  But what struck my eye (and appetite) most, were two things: a cauliflower, poblano, cotija gratin (I already have a cauliflower that has been languishing in the fridge), and a fantastic looking quesadilla recipe.  If I follow the recipes to the letter I don’t have enough cheese, but seeing as it is just me at home most of the time, I am planning on halving the recipes and making both of them part of my week.  I haven’t yet managed to settle on which one to make this evening.

February 23, 2010 at 5:06 pm Leave a comment

Teleggio Cheese

Life has run away with me and between being extremely focused and busy at work and feeling over scheduled (with good things, but none-the-less) outside of work I have found very little time for writing, and honestly, very little time for cooking as well the last few days.

I did, however, try a new cheese.  Cheese has got to be one of my favorite things and one of the reasons that I will never be vegan.  I have had people rail against cheese as non-vegetarian, and technically they are often right.  Rennet is very much non-vegetarian.  There is a lot of cheese made with synthesized enzymes these days, though, and if I eat eggs and seafood, both of which are true, I think that it is also acceptable for me to decide that I am going to eat cheese.  Lots of cheese.  =)

I bought this cheese over a week ago and kept eyeing it and then not opening it.  Monday morning I realized that I didn’t make any food for the week during the course of Sunday (Sunday evening was spent at friends’ celebrating Chinese New Year and I did not host or cook).  So I opened my fridge and poked around.  I found a few things that could readily be grabbed on my way out the door and did so.  Let me tell you, boiled potatoes with salt and pepper, half a green pepper, and a hunk of cheese is not the worlds most balanced meal.

I am also letting you in on my dirty little secret that I don’t cook gourmet food all the time.  But in the spirit of getting back into posting more, I intend to start including what happens when I cheat, when I don’t want to cook, or the comfort food I make that happens to be partially coming pre-prepared or pre-packaged.

When I opened the cheese I had a moment of worry that perhaps I had let it sit too long.  It is a pretty soft cheese, and sometimes they are unhappy sitting in their saran wrap for very long.  I wondered if perhaps I had purchased a stinky cheese without realizing it.  But the flavor was lovely.  I only had a few bites, as I couldn’t manage to hunt up any crackers at work.  Upon looking it up on Wikipedia I discovered that its strong fragrance and mild flavor is typical of the cheese.  It has an almost nutty or fruity sort of taste to it and is thickly creamy.  I am excited to cart it back home with me this evening to polish it off.

You can find an interesting article about Teleggio at After Cheese Comes Nothing.  There is a map of where in Italy it is traditionally made and some lovely tidbits about historical production (cows are milked on their way down from the alps).  This Teleggion was purchased at New Seasons for 12.99 a pound, and I have no idea how to tell if it was made in the old style, or at a large factory.  Though from the availability out of the country and its fairly reasonable price, one can probably assume that it was not small production.

February 16, 2010 at 4:36 pm Leave a comment