Asadero Cheese

Each week in April we have experienced a local cheese and this week it is asadero cheese.  This semi-firm Mexican cheese has a lovely melting property and I have seen it used as dips, fillings and even toppings.  It becomes creamy without leaving an oil taste.  I plan to use some of it in place of mozzarella or monterey jack as they have similar textures.

Saturday is normally a day where I post member recipes, but I did not receive any this week.  Please send me your tips and recipes so that we can share with the CSA members.  I love to receive ideas too!

The asadero cheese is wonderful to eat right out of the fridge.  It also makes queso blanco, which is a great cheese dip that you can find in many cookbooks and online.  I have chosen to share two recipes that I use for a good melting cheese.  Enjoy.

Amy Hetager, CSA Blogger

CSA Taco from Amy

1/2 cup asadero cheese, sliced in small pieces for 2 tacos

Almond oil

1-1/2 cups shredded chicken from a special order CSA chicken

4 carrots from Mesa Top Farm (been lovely in my fridge for months!)

3 yellow potatoes from White Mountain Farms, shredded with skins on

1 cup of spinach from Mesa Top Farm

1 onion, diced from Mesa Top Farm

2 cloves of garlic from La Madera Farm

Red Chile Powder

1/2 can of black beans, rinsed

Tortillas

Saute the onion in almond oil and add salt, pepper and red chile powder.  Dice the carrots while onion sautes, then add to the mix with the garlic.  This will take a little time to soften.

In  a different pan, add butter and almond oil until medium heat.  Add the potatoes gently with your fingers so they are spread across like hashbrowns.  Add salt and pepper.  Leave these on the stove without stirring for about 15-20 minutes.  When the potatoes stick together, you can flip them over to cook the other side.

To the carrots, onions and garlic you can add the spinach and it will wilt quickly.  Add the chicken and beans and stir.  The mixture will heat in a few minutes.

Heat the tortillas and make sure the cheese is sliced.  Add the cheese directly to the warm tortilla to melt.  Add the filling and a little salsa to the top.  Enjoy.

Celerey Root Gratin

Deborah Madison, The Savory Way Cookbook

Celery root is also known as Celeriac and is available via special order.  I have made it several different ways that you can find in the SEARCH feature on this blog.  Today, I am taking a Deborah Madison recipe to make a gratin with the asadero cheese.

1 lb yellow potatoes

1 large celery root

juice of 1 lemon

salt

1 to 3 tblsps virgin olive oil

1 medium-size onion, quartered and sliced crosswise

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 small celery stalks, finely diced

1 tblsp chopped basil or 1 tsp dried

coarsely ground black pepper

1 cup dry white wine, stock or cooking water from potatoes

1 pound ripe tomatoes or a 15-oz can whole tomatoes, cut into large pieces

3 oz shredded asadero cheese

Scrub the potatoes and if the skins look firm and fresh, leave them on; if not peel them.  Slice the potatoes into rounds just slightly more than 1/4 inch.  Peel the celery root; slice it into quarters and then into pieces the same thickness as the potatoes.  As you work, put the celery root into a bowl and cover with cold water and lemon juice.

Bring several quarts of water to a boil.  Add salt to taste and the potatoes, and cook until they are tender, but not yet done, about 5 minutes.  Remove then; then add the celery root and cook until tender but allow firm, about 3 or 4 minutes.  Remove.  Reserve the water.

Warm the oil in a frying pan and add the onion, garlic, celery, basil and season with salt and pepper.  Cook gently over medium heat until the onions have begun to soften, about 5 minutes.  If the pan becomes dry, add either a little more oil or a few tablespoons water.  When the onions are soft, add the wine, raise the heat and reduce the wine by about half; then add the tomatoes and their juice plus 1/2 cup of the cooking water from the potatoes.  Simmer for 4 or 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly film an 8 by 10 inch gratin dish with oil.  Ladle half the tomato sauce in the bottom of a gratin dish, make a layer of alternating pieces of potatoes, celery root and cheese; then cover with the remaining sauce and top with cheese.  Cover and bake until the potatoes and celery root are completely tender, about 45 minutes.  Remove the gratin from the oven and let settle several minutes before serving it.  As it cools a little, the flavors will emerge.

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