Saturday, March 23, 2013

Papas con queso fresco, yum!

I finally decided on this week's soup: Mexican potato con queso fresco.

Queso fresco is fresh cheese. Wise Geek explains,

"Queso fresco is a traditional Mexican cheese which is a common ingredient in a wide range of dishes. The cheese is a quintessential part of Mexican cuisine, and is often available in Mexican markets and grocery stores. In Mexico, queso fresco is often a raw milk cheese, but in the United States the cheese is made from pasteurized milk, due to concerns about bacteria in raw milk. Both cheeses behave slightly differently, with the American cheese being more prone to melting."

"In Spanish, the name of the cheese means “fresh cheese.” Classic queso fresco is snow white, very soft, moist, and mild in flavor. The cheese is also rather crumbly, making it ideal for crumbling over dishes like salads and enchiladas. The creamy cheese is also used as a filling in many Mexican dishes. True queso fresco will soften and become creamy when heated, but it will not melt. This unique property distinguishes queso fresco from similar cheeses."

It is similar to goat cheese, feta, and ricotta but not as acidic as feta or as pungent as goat cheese (my favorite cheese). Once my husband and I made paneer, an Indian cheese, which is made in much the same way as queso fresco. it is really easy. You take milk and acidify it, using lime juice or vinegar, and leave it to curdle, and then strain in cheesecloth and press. It is a fresh cheese so it won't last long in the fridge after the cryovak package is opened. That's why I used half the package in the soup.

I was googling potatoes and queso fresco (I had potatoes on hand) and found this recipe. It is a cold, rainy weekend so a heartier soup seemed to be just the ticket. Don't you love to have a pot of soup on hand in the fridge? I do.

Queso fresco is light, and crumbles but won't melt completely. It is very creamy so the potato soup is like a creamed potato soup. I didn't have chilies on hand so I just used red and black pepper. Photos of food never come out as appetizing as the professional photographers do it, and never as appetizing as the items really tastes, but here you go:

It tastes wonderful! I didn't use the cumin, garlic, or jalapenos. Instead of the tomato sauce I used a can of vegetarian tomato vegetable soup.

8 potatoes, peeled and chopped into squares
6 -8 fresh jalapenos
2 large tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons of knoor chicken bouillon powder (consomme)
1 teaspoon cumin
12 ounces mexican queso fresco, chopped into cubes
2 -3 cups water
oil (for frying)


1. Bring jalapenos and tomatoes to a boil.
2. In blender add water, onion, garlic, cumin, chicken bouillon powder, can of tomato sauce and blend well.
3. Add boiled jalapenos and tomatoes and pulsate the blender 2 or 3 times just so that the tomatoes and the peppers are still chunky in the sauce. Set aside.
4. In skillet fry the potatoes until they start to look translucent and remove from fire. It is very important you do this. Don’t fully cook them or else they will end up like mulch latter.
5. Transfer the semi cooked potatoes to a bigger sauce pot and pour the sauce.
6. Add cheese and stir well. If needed at salt to taste and bring to a boil.
7. Serve hot and enjoy with warm tortillas!

I also made a peach cobbler today.

And last in a minute I'll make a fruit salad with grapefruit and craisins. That will complete my cooking for the weekend and take me into the first of the week for lunches. Buon appetito!

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