With today being “Day Without Immigrants”Â & Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, I thought we might step into Hispanic kitchens and discover a world of good food that does not breathe without cheese.Â I found this fascinating article from the South Bend Tribune on Hispanic food and wanted to share.Â
“Most cuisines do not look nor taste as good as they should unless the right types of ingredients are used.
This is particularly true of Mexican and Caribbean cuisines, especially where the cheese is concerned. Mexican or Hispanic cheeses not only look and taste different from American or European cheeses, but they also act differently when heated, making it worth the effort to learn a little about the hidden secrets of Hispanic cheeses.
These cheeses are divided into three main groups: soft (non-melting), melting and hard.
Â The soft, fresh cheeses have a unique ability to not melt when heated. That’s right! They don’t run, they don’t drip and they don’t error. They stay put, and this characteristic makes this mild-tasting cheese group well-suited for hot dishes.
An easy way to enjoy this cheese is to simply cube it and fry it in a hot skillet. Soft cheese varieties include queso blanco, panela, queso para freir and queso fresco. They are all mild-tasting and perfect in dishes where you want the cheese to stay put, such as enchiladas and burritos.
The second group, melting cheeses, are also unique in that they have the ability to not separate into oil and solids when heated, making them perfect for dishes where you want an “oohy-gooey” factor, as with quesadillas, tacos, pizzas, grilled cheese or even cheeseburgers. This mild-tasting group includes: queso quesadilla, asadero, queso de papa, Oaxaca and queso para derritier.
The third and final group is the hard, grating-style cheeses with strong flavors and dry, crumbly textures. These include cotija, anejo enchilado and duroblando. Cotija is used much like Parmesan. Anejo enchilado is rolled in paprika and used for topping or stuffing enchiladas and burritos. And duro- blando’s mild smoked flavor is often substituted for cotija.”
- 2 quarts tomatoes, peeled & chopped
- 1 quart cucumber, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1 large sweet onion, minced
- 1 JalapeÃ±o pepper, seeded & minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups veggie juice cocktail
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- S & P, to taste
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 pound Cotija Cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 pound Manchego Cheese, shredded
- Chopped cilantro, for garnish
In a large bowl- combine all the ingredients except cheeses.
Place mixture into bowls & top with cheeses & cilantro garnish.