Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’

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 and apparently taken from Sunset magazine) and Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas (found on 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 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.


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

Koi Fusion

I got an email today telling me that the Koi Fusion taco truck would be visiting my work again today over the lunch hour.  Koi Fusion is apparently patterned off of a similar taco truck found down in the L. A. area.  Last time they were here, I didn’t make it out there to try anything.

Today I headed out to the parking lot shortly after they arrived.  Mostly they serve meat items, but there is a spicy tofu option.  I ordered a spicy tofu taco.  It came with sauced tofu, bean sprouts, cilantro, thin slices of cucumber, kimchi, and a piece of lime on a small corn tortilla.  I put a dab of each of their hot sauces on the side and took my food in to my desk.

I squeezed the lime on, took a tiny taste of each hotsauce, then took a bite.  It was tasty, but didn’t have any where near the punch that I was expecting.  The couple of bites with hotsauce were quite good though.  It think that it was just lacking the heat punch and extra flavor they added.  That spicy bite left me licking my lips and looking for more.

I just got a text from M, saying he was headed over to try it out.  So I will have a round two, and layer on the hotsauce.

November 19, 2009 at 1:16 pm Leave a comment

A Lack of Cooking

Well, of all the unusual things, I haven’t been cooking lately.  Some personal stuff came up and completely knocked everything else out of the running for ability to focus or do much of anything else for that matter.  I don’t believe that I have cooked anything but popcorn for the last week.  That isn’t to say that I haven’t been eating.  I don’t generally count heating leftovers as cooking and I have had take-out and a few random restaurants thrown in.  There’s been tea, cereal, and other such things lacking preparation.

I am hoping to get back to it a little bit tonight, and this weekend I am heading out to Sun River with friends and likely there will be some fun cooking there, though I have no idea what sort of kitchen we will have at the house there.

November 12, 2009 at 4:31 pm Leave a comment

Impatience and Limoncello

Il Limoncello d'Amalfi

Il Limoncello d'Amalfi

When putting together something like a website or a business card design, I get involved in all the details.  I want to know designs, layouts, fonts, numbers.  I want to have the perfect layout all together, and then I will plunk down and write a first post or get things printed.  I want it to all come together before I set off on my journey.

This doesn’t always go so well.  It causes long delays.  And sometimes, one just gets impatient.  I begin to worry that if I don’t get started, I may forever be delayed in the realm of design, ideas, and planning, in limbo, never to actually escape.

Oddly enough, I seem to contend with this issue less while cooking.  Perhaps because I often cook without measuring, tossing things in according to taste and smell, or only loosely following recipes.

Today’s spur into action is limoncello.  Il Limoncello d’Amalfi to be exact.  I refuse to wait until things are pristine to write something about limoncello.

My coworker just returned from Italy, land of many amazing things, to which I heartily hope to travel at some point in the future.  He teasingly sent us a few pictures last week, making us all very jealous that we weren’t there with him in the sun and picturesque towns.

Apparently he spent some time on the Coast of Amalfi, which is world renowned for its lemons, most notably the Sfusato Amalfitan.  He brought each of us back a small bottle of limoncello, which I am very excited to try.  I didn’t know anything about the Sfusato Amalfitan lemon, but had to go look it up after receiving my gift.  Apparently they are quite large and much sweeter than the usual lemons that you will find in the store, with an especially strong fragrance.  They are also hard to find any where outside of Italy, though I may do a bit of searching to see if I can turn a few up.

I keep eyeing my tiny bottle.  I am torn between wanting to rush home this evening to pop it in the fridge to chill and drink tonight, and the desire to save it for a time when I can take some real time to savor it.  It is a tiny little bottle – do I guard it jealously, or try to share a sip or two with someone who will appreciate it?

October 8, 2009 at 11:02 pm 1 comment