Sunday, September 12, 2010
For the love of queso
Happy first post!
This topic came easily to me, but then as I started cooking, I realized...this might be a quest.
I just moved to Austin the beginning of August. After getting lost trying to find a fax machine, I finally found one and decided to get my internet fix at the coffee shop next door. Looking at the menu to pick out a guilt purchase, I saw nachos, with cheese, beans, jalapenos, pico, etc. You could add an optional avocado or queso. I asked the waitress, "What is queso?" She couldn't answer, which was kind of strange.
I've only known queso to be Spanish for "cheese." Later in my first week in town, I kept seeing queso everywhere! Queso, queso, queso. I even had a queso burger and had no clue what the heck it was other than cheese.
Turns out, it's as simple as that. It's a Tex Mex thing. You get chips and salsa at a restaurant (might I add the salsa has been DREADFUL here), but you order a side of queso with it. A cheesy dip thing!
Since this discovery, I've been queso crazy. Pretty much anywhere I've been, I need to get the damn queso. Addicted? Probably. I am determined to find the best queso in town!
A month into it, I have yet to find the Holy Grail. However, I've experienced two disgraceful types of queso. One being melted velveeta that congeals immediately. The other being some runny watery substance with a hint of cheese flavor.
Then the next logical thought hits me. "I can make this stuff. I can make queso!"
Tonight, I tried...and failed.
I went to the local grocery store and started looking at the cheeses. I looked at the usual suspects, deciding which to pick out. And then there was a whole row of Mexican cheeses, but more importantly...cheeses named queso!
This was my mistake. I picked up a round of Queso Fresco. Knowing it was a gamble, I had to ask the almighty Google what the heck I just bought. Turns out it's like a farmer's cheese. And worse, it says that it has a hard time melting! CHIHUAHUA!
I stay the course and try it out...
Flubbed Queso - Take Uno.
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Ground White Pepper (to taste)
6 oz Queso Fresco
1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 can Rotel Tomatoes
8 oz Sour Cream
Chop onion. Take 1/2 cup and saute in skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Add ground white pepper to taste. Once they are translucent or "caramelized" (heh.) remove from heat.
Cube Queso Fresco. Add to saucepan along with shredded cheese over low to medium heat. After a while, (for me, it was the shredded cheese was melted), add onions and drained can of Rotel tomatoes. Stir around and break up Queso Fresco with the spoon. Eventually it will melt down a little. Then add your sour cream and mix. I waited until mine simmered a bit and then turned off the heat.
I still had to help myself to a small bowl to see how it fared. I can't say it was terrible - but it was pretty bad. I'll probably use the rest over a pasta dish or egg omelets.
This isn't over, queso.