Trying to fit in a cooking lesson, a photo shoot and a blog post with a senior in high school is like cooking from scratch without making a mess. Impossible. I did get this boy in the kitchen since the crazy-cake day and cooking lesson #1, just not on video or in a pic until now.
The first few times Cole and I tried recipes for an ATX Cucina inspired queso was for post-game snacks last fall. His high school team was on fire and seemed headed for the playoffs. But the Hawks lost by one point, one game before they made it to the state tournament.
Our latest melting cheese experiment happened this month when, Cole, the only true Viking’s fan in the house, watched the Vike’s lose one game away from the Super Bowl.
But sports and loss have been something this kid knows. He was often on the team that came oh-so-close but not quite.
I’m not a sports fan, but I grew up in a household full of them and with the movie Hoosiers on repeat. I love a great play or an unexpected win; I just could never commit to fan status with sports.
That is until I saw Cole play anything.
I remember the hill I was sitting on when that ball went high and long for his first home run. And that year when his football coach played him as the quarterback, and he ran that ball himself for a couple of touchdowns when the passing game didn’t come together for those 12-year-olds. The screams!!
But for three straight years, Cole’s football team lost every single game. And the first time his baseball coach put him in as the pitcher they were down by a few runs already. I was begging heaven for a strike, just 1, for the love of all things, please. He walked the first 5-6 batters, but he did not give up. I asked him later, what he was thinking and how did he do that? He said, “What choice did I have, Mom, but to keep going?” I could think of a few options.
First tries and repeat losses. Home runs and touchdowns. I can’t name it all and know what each thing meant, but somehow it all does add up to a childhood of life lessons and experiences that grew him and go with him. I feel a good weight. While I’m not going to tie this to the meaning of queso, I will take all these memories and celebrate how they built courage and created resilience.
And about that queso. If you love cheese, this one is for you.
The good news is you can’t lose with queso unless you leave it in the oven for too long or forget to eat it right away. For a more blended gooey mixture, increase your melting cheese and decrease the crumbling cheese in the recipe below. Play with what your favorite cheese combinations, we liked everything we tried. Win!
|Queso Fundido with Poblanos and Chorizo Verde|| |
- ½ pound of green chorizo, recipe below. Store-bought fresh chorizo not cured works as well.
- 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil
- 1 poblano pepper
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- ¾ pound Mexican melting cheese like quesadilla or Oaxaca, shredded or cut into small pieces
- ¼ pound Mexican melting cheese like Chihuahua cheese which is more like a cheddar, shredded
- ¼ pound fresh cheese like queso fresco or an aged crumbly cheese like cotija, crumbled
- Preheat oven to broil.
- Roast 1 poblano pepper for 1-2 minutes a side under the broiler, about 6 inches from the top. Keep turning until all sides are blackened. Remove roasted pepper and put into a paper bag rolled down or a bowl covered with a towel for 15 minutes to create a steamy environment.
- Turn oven to 400°.
- To remove blackened pepper skin, run under cold water while you rub off the skin and remove inside seeds and stem.
- Cut roasted pepper into strips and dice into small pieces.
- Heat olive oil in a cast iron or oven proof pan over medium-high heat and saute onion for 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add poblano pieces and saute for 2 minutes or so.
- Next, add ½ of the recipe for green chorizo or ½ pound of fresh chorizo to the pan and sauté until lightly brown and starting to crisp.
- When meat is ready, salt and pepper to taste keeping in mind the cheese will be salty as well.
- Add all 3 kinds of cheese on medium heat, stirring for about 1 minute to melt and combine all the ingredients.
- Put skillet into the oven until cheese is bubbling and melted, 5-7 minutes should be just right depending on your cheese selection.
- Top queso with fresh jalapenos and cilantro if you like. Serve immediately with chips.
The first time we made the recipe above we used fresh store bought chorizo, and it was good. I knew the dish I had in Austin was with Chorizo Verde and I wanted a similar green chile and cilantro flavor with the salty cheeses. This chorizo recipe makes double and would be great with scrambled eggs, hash, or breakfast tacos!
|Chorizo Verde|| |
- 1 pound ground turkey or pork. I use ½ white and ½ dark organic turkey. Ground pork is traditional.
- 1 roasted poblano, skin and seeds removed, diced (See roasting instructions above in queso recipe.)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 5 garlic cloves crushed
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- In the bowl of a food processor combine roasted poblano pieces, black pepper, ground coriander, cumin, oregano, salt, and garlic until finely chopped and mixed. Add apple cider vinegar and cilantro, puree until combined.
- Place your meat into a large bowl and add your chile spice mixture. Using two forks gently combine your meat and spices.
- Divide meat into two parts, saving one portion to freeze or refrigerate and use later.
Stay tuned for Cooking Lesson #3 and eggs, our entire family and a few friends are getting in on this lesson. 😘
~Heather (& Cole)