Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Requeson Enchiladas

El Supermercado

I went to a little Latin market today and picked up a deli container filled with what appeared to be a soft white cheese somewhere between ricotta and neufchatel. Since I didn't recognize the name, I purchased a container, as well as a packet of Super Cantinero, apparently a latin version of a bar nut mix.


Requeson aka Requeijao is made from an involved process with repeated curdlings of skim milk to which 8 to 20% hot butter fat or rich cream are added as a final step. I believe the cheese I acquired to be the more solid of the Portuguese varieties. So after a quick look up and a taste, I've decided to use this new cheese in enchiladas. Every cook seems to have a different idea of what does and doesn't constitute an enchilada, so bear with me, I'll be mix-n-matching some ingredients until I find the combination I like best with the requeson.

First, lets cover the question of beans. I make my own, from dried beans. This time I have used pinto beans, some I have pureed, others I left whole. All were soaked and cooked together in water with Adobo seasoning, garlic, cumin, crushed red pepper, and salt. I do this because I like to play with seasonings and texture, and mine have a lot of flavor without the lard, but feel free to use canned if this is not your thing.

Next, there is the question of enchilada sauce. So simple to make, but there are plenty of good canned ones out on the market. I am making my own, Mexican style (with cocoa), super tasty and not so easy to find at the market. As it is not sweet, it does not taste like chocolate, think mole sauce.

I used small white corn tortillas as I buy these in packs of 30 to 100 (they freeze well) and use them for tacos.

I made two preparations, pan enchiladas containing requeson, re-fried beans, cilantro and topped with Munster slices, and a stacked enchilada with the addition of taco meat. Both were covered in enchilada sauce and perfectly yummy!

Rolled Pan Enchiladas
Stacked Enchilada 

I preferred the stacked preparation in every aspect, construction, aesthetic, serving, and ingredient ratios.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Spiced Tea

Spiced Tea

Just a quick belated holiday note.
For several years now, my work has prevented me for being with my extended family during the holidays. Because of this, I was especially delighted to to receive a jam jar of spiced tea from the ladies of my family. Ever since I was a child I have loved this warm sweet holiday beverage that evokes memories of cold hours spent caroling and yuletide feasts spread across a long table.
Thank you, ladies, for this little jar of holiday cheer.
Love you too.

This is my G'ma's recipe:
1 ½ Cups Sugar
2 Cups water
20 Whole Cloves                                                                       
2 Stick Cinnamon

Steep for 20 min. and add:                                     

2 Tablespoons Instant Tea

Combine with     
2 Cans (6oz.) Frozen Pineapple-Orange Juice 
2 Cans (6oz.) Frozen Lemonade

Add enough water to make 1 gallon
Serve very hot.    

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Goat Cheese Quiche

Yes, I ate the little piece of missing crust.

It is only fair to say that none of these ingredients is truly unfamiliar, unless you count the type of goat cheese, but what can I say, I'm hungry, and this is an easy nutritious yummy supper.

I started the Goat cheese quiche by blind baking (pre-baking) my empty pie crust to prevent sogginess. I used a purchased pie crust, as this was intended to be a quick and easy supper. I had the crust, baby portabella mushrooms, fresh baby spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil sun-dried tomato goat cheese on hand. Voila, supper.

After baking
Before baking

The sun-dried tomatoes I purchase are halved fruits, so I slivered them with a pair of kitchen shears. I love them for their rich fruity taste & long shelf life and most often use them as an addition to my homemade herb oils, generally with fresh basil & garlic or rosemary & garlic and eaten with whole wheat bolillo bread.

Next I washed and roughly cut my baby portabellas. I bow to Alton Brown on the mushroom washing issue. Some cooks would advise that you saute the mushrooms before adding to a quiche, but I like the texture when cooked with the egg mixture.

Baby Portabellas cut
Baby Portabellas uncut

For my egg mixture I fork beat five eggs with a very small splash of milk, about two teaspoons (it looks like more in the photo as it spread across the surface). I use less because I put in so much veg., and they add a lot of moisture to cook out. If you prefer a fluffier quiche, use more milk and beat more thoroughly, but your quiche may take longer to firm and your heavier ingredients will sink to the bottom of the quiche unless you add them part way through the cooking process. Also less milk provides a denser less moist & spongy quiche. Always go with your preferences, there is no 'right' way with food, only what you desire. If you don't care for any browning on your eggs (I don't!) tear off a loose sheet of foil & lay it over the quiche until nearly done, then remove to eliminate surface moisture.

Eggs & Milk for Quiche

I washed the baby spinach after purchase, so it was only necessary to pull off the stems as I added it to the quiche. I put a few on the bottom of the crust and a few on top of the egg mixture. The cheese I simply picked into small lumps with the help of a butter knife & dispersed throughout the quiche. This type of goat cheese is very soft and mild, if you prefer a more pungent flavor, I would recommend feta crumbles. Finally, pop the quiche into the oven at 350-400 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and dry.

Basil Sun-dried tomato Goat Cheese
Baby Spinach

You may note that the crust is a tad dark, but like any cook, I make the occasional bone-head mistake, this time it was not covering the edges of the crust with foil before blind baking it. I promise that if you cover yours before blind baking, it will come out perfect. Honest.

Goat cheese & vegetable quiche