Hispanic Side of Life

Hubby and I were recently watching a cooking show in which the cook made a queso fundido. THEN … we went to a local Latin restaurant and that was an item on their menu. It was a sign, it was time to make it ourselves. Also at that same Latin restaurant we had a salsa that was made with morita chiles. They are a smoky chile that smell amazing when you open the package and provide a delightful smoky flavor to anything you add them to. Hubby and I decided it was time to explore the Hispanic food side of life (more than just ground beef and a taco seasoning mix). This is the first time I have really tried to make salsa so it was definitely experimenting. Off we went to the local Hispanic market. International markets are one of my favorite places … I have more experience with Hispanic and Asian markets. There are so many fun products for discovery and culinary adventures.

I have a bit of an issue with dairy, so the challenge became how to make a dairy free queso fundido, since it is pretty much just dairy (yummy, melty cheese). Well, we have recently discovered a dairy free cheese made by Daiya. We tried the mozzarella style (there is also a “cheddar style” that we have yet to try). Well, it probably was not the best use of this product … the taste was definitely different (probably easily hidden in something like a lasagna), but on it’s own you will notice the flavor difference. It will take some getting used to. This is my first experiment with a dairy free cheese, so we may have to continue the experimenting and flavor combinations. I will say though, it melted like a perfect mozzarella.

Lately I have become infatuated with cast iron cooking. Queso fundido seemed to be the perfect way to use cast iron cookware. I picked up a little skillet at TJMax for $9. It was not pre-seasoned so I had to do that first, but I had a lazy weekend ahead of me with nothing better to do.

    Queso Fundido with Chorizo

Queso Fresco (if you want non-dairy, try “Daiya Mozzerella Style”) Cheese (grated)
Pork Chorizo (you can find spicy or mild)

Turn the chorizo out of the casing into a cast iron skillet. Cook on medium heat until it resembles ground beef. It will not brown like ground beef, so once it gets to a state of crumbles, it’s done. If it’s not completely done, it’s ok. It’s going to cook more in the over with the cheese.

Take your grated cheese, sprinkle into a thick’ish layer in the bottom of another cast iron skillet.
Layer the chorizo on top of the cheese, also in a thick’ish layer.
Put another layer of grated cheese on top of the chorizo.
Cook at 400 degrees until the cheese is bubbling and slightly browned.

    Morita Tomatillo Salsa

Dried Morita Chiles (3-4)
3-4 Tomatillos
Water (or chicken stock) – 1/4 – 1/2 cup?
1 tsp Cumin

Put the morita chiles in boiling water and put the lid on … let the chiles reconstitute, 20-30 minutes.
Husk the tomatillos and wash the stickyness off.
Char the tomatillos in a cast iron skillet (or open flame if you have a gas stove).
Slice in half and throw in a blender
Once the chiles are reconstituted, slice open and clean out the seeds then throw in the blender (leave the seeds if you like it HOT).
Add a little water until the salsa loosens up some.
Pour the salsa into a small pot and heat over low heat until just warmed through.

Heat some tortillas until they are soft. Wrap the queso fundido and salsa inside the softened tortillas. ENJOY!


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