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Archive for the ‘Dairy’ Category

My sister, a vegetarian, loves the bean and cheese burritos we ate growing up. A flour tortilla spread with canned refried beans, sprinkled with grated Tillamook cheddar, micro waved for a minute and rolled up. An easy recipe even my sister can make! (Just kidding, Diana!) Very simple and ingenious, but I associate canned refried beans with the taste of vomit. I just can’t stand them. I also prefer to stay away from shortening-filled, white flour tortillas. I love corn tortillas, which typically consist of just corn masa, water and salt, but sometimes I just want a burrito.

I decided to try a fat-free whole wheat tortilla recipe with my kind of ingredient list: short! Just whole wheat pastry flour, water and sea salt. The fewer ingredients and steps included in the recipe, the more likely I am to try it. If you love store-bought white flour tortillas, this recipe may take some getting used to. I love the nutty taste of whole grain products; I will always choose whole grain over white when presented with an option. So, this recipe worked out perfectly for me. Simple, quick, easy and no added fat.

Finish off the tortilla with some of my favorite items: pinto beans, queso fresco, and avocado pico de gallo. A yummy, slightly more time-consuming version of the menu staple of my childhood. Not that time-consuming if you think ahead though! I soak the beans overnight, cook a large batch, and use them throughout the week in many applications. I can do that, because of my love of beans, but cooked beans also freeze well if your family or stomach complains of bean overload. The rest really comes together quickly, although I am less likely to attempt the long versions of these items during hot summer days. The less I turn on the oven or stove top, the better. Prepare for many blog posts involving green salads and fresh fruit during the summer!

Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas

Yields about 4 large tortillas

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 to 3/4 cup water

1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions

In a large bowl combine the flour and 1/2  cup of water. Mix well. Add more water if needed, to get the mixture to a dough consistency. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is soft. Make it into balls (4 to 6 depending on size). Roll each ball out as flat as possible on a floured surface.  Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the rolled out tortilla to the pan and cook for about 45 seconds to 1 minute or until it is bubbling and starting to brown. Then turn it over and cook for another 45 seconds. Wrap each tortilla in a clean kitchen towel as soon as it comes out of the pan.  Serve immediately. These tortillas are better freshly cooked, they don’t reheat as well.

Fill with warm, cooked pinto beans, queso fresco and avocado pico de gallo. Enjoy!

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I fell in love with a Mexican . . . cheese! Yes, my boyfriend hails from DF, or Mexico City for all the non-Spanish speaking folks. He introduced me to fresh Mexican cheese, or queso fresco. Great on tostadas, enchiladas, tacos, taco salads, taquitos, pretty much anything with jalapenos or cilantro included in the recipe. Beats the heck out of greasy shredded cheddar. Cheddar has its applications as well (a grilled cheese sandwich with gooey, sharp white cheddar and garlicky kosher dill pickles, yum!), but when cooking Mexican food, nothing beats fresh queso fresco (kind of redundant, huh?). It doesn’t really melt, but caramelizes if baked in the oven or under the broiler. Yummy! One problem, it never goes on sale! Once and a while, maybe, by fifty cents. Pretty expensive stuff. And when I started to shift my eating habits more towards the organic options, I couldn’t stand the thought of cutting out my new favorite cheese. So, I researched my options the way I always do, online. I found plenty of recipes for homemade queso fresco, and they sounded so easy, I wondered why I never thought of it before. I tried it out with some organic milk, and sure enough, it turned out wonderfully! And so easy to make. I can now make my own organic lime and sea salt queso fresco, with my own spin and control over sodium and preservative content. I am so in love with this cheese, that the other cheeses may start to get jealous. Oh well, I may have one great love, but I can have some fun on the side once and a while, right? I mean you, cheddar!

Lime and Sea Salt Queso Fresco

I adapted this recipe from the recipe on this website.

Yields about 1 cup crumbled queso fresco

1 qt whole milk, do not use ultra pasteurized

1 lime, juiced

1 tsp sea salt

Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the milk almost comes to a boil. Tiny bubbles should  form around the edges of the pan, but do not bring the milk to a full boil. If you use a thermometer, the milk should reach about 195 degrees. Add the lime juice. Stir and then remove from the heat. Let sit for about 10 minutes. The curds should start separating from the whey almost immediately.  After 10 minutes, stir and then pour the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. (There are uses for the whey if you want to save it). Sprinkle the curds with the sea salt. Gather the curds in the center of the cheesecloth, and form it into a loose ball. Top it with a plate and some weights (canned food works well) to help with the draining/firming process. Refrigerate (make sure there is a bowl under the strainer!) for a few hours until the majority of the whey has been pressed from the cheese. Remove the cheesecloth and store the cheese in the refrigerator in a covered container for 5 to 7 days, depending on the freshness of the milk.

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