Tuesday, May 6, 2008

More Mexican treats

Yeah, we know Cinco De Mayo is past, but we had a few emails about more recipes inspired by Mexican cuisine. Here ya go, compliments of the California Milk Board.

Cheesy Bean Dip

Melted California Mozzarella and crumbled California Cotija give this hearty appetizer a rich cheesy flavor. For dipping, use tortilla, pita and bagel chips. If you prefer vegetables, try carrot sticks or sugar snap peas.
Yield: 17 appetizer-sized servings (about 2¾ cups)
Prep time: 20 minutes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup diced white onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 or 2 tablespoons canned diced jalapeño peppers (adjust to your taste preference)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1½ cups (6 ounces) pre-shredded Mozzarella or Oaxaca cheese
½ cup sour cream
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled California Cotija (or substitute crumbled California cow’s milk Feta)

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeño peppers; sauté until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the beans and smash with the back of a ladle or large spoon until softened and heated through, another 2-3 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in pre-shredded Mozzarella or Oaxaca, sour cream, cumin and cayenne pepper, stirring until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle Cotija cheese on top. Serve warm or at room temperature with chips and vegetables.

This delicious and surprising twist on traditional nachos replaces ground beef with shrimp and creates an authentic note with the addition of two readily available Hispanic-style cheeses – Queso Blanco and Cotija.

Shrimp Nachos
Yield: 30 appetizer-size servings (about 2 ½ dozen)
Prep time: 30 minutes

2 cups (8 ounces) grated California Queso Blanco cheese (or California Monterey Jack)
⅓ cup mayonnaise
4 ounces cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined and coarsely chopped
¼ cup minced green onions
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, pureed and strained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
½ teaspoon grated lime zest
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
¾ cup (3 ounces) grated California Cotija cheese
2 ½ dozen large, flat tortilla chips
2 ½ dozen fresh cilantro leaves

Preheat broiler.

In medium bowl, stir together Queso Blanco cheese, mayonnaise, shrimp, onions, chipotle puree, chopped cilantro, lime zest and cumin.

Season with salt and pepper.

Spread about 1 tablespoon mixture onto each tortilla chip and place on a baking sheet.

Broil until mixture begins to brown, about 1 minute. Sprinkle each with a generous teaspoon of Cotija cheese.

To serve: put a cilantro leaf on each nacho and serve immediately.