Glossary of ingredients of mexican cooking (2/7)

Yield: 1 Servings

Measure Ingredient

CHEESE: Traditional Mexican cheeses were mad with goat's or sheep's milk. The following cheeses are used in this style of cooking: CHEDDAR: is a mild firm cheese of English origin that becomes more sharp with age. It melts beautifully.

CHIHUAHUA: (Asadero Or Oaxaca) is white, creamy and tangy.

Sometimes it is sold braided. Mozzarella or Monterey Jack may be substituted.

CO-JACK: is an American invention. Block cheese marbled with Colby and Monterey Jack.

COLBY: is a slightly sharp cheese with a flavor similar to that of Cheddar. This American cheese has a rather soft open texture.

MONTERY JACK: is a mild cheese usually sold in blocks. It softens at room temperature.

QUESO ANEJO: is an aged, hard grating cheese. It ranges from pale cream to white in color and is quite salty. Romano or Parmesan may be substituted.

QUESO FRESCO: (Ranchero seco) can be compared to a very salty farmer's cheese. A reasonable substitute for this crumbly cheese is Feta Cheese.

SIERRA: is another rather dry sharp cheese that grates easily. Romano or Parmesan may be substituted.

CHILI: Chilies are native to the Americas. They have been known in North America for some time but are said to have traveled north by a circuitous route; apparently they found their way from Mexico to the Western world with Christopher Columbus, then to the East and finally back to North America. New strains of chilies are developed frequently, bred for hardiness, sweetness, hotness and so forth. But chilies are full of surprises; two chilies picked from the same plant may vary widely in hotness. To quench the fire of a too-spicy mouthful, do not reach for a water glass. Water will only spread the capsaicin (the compound that our tongues register as "hot") around.

Instead, take a large mouthful of something starchy; corn chips, beans, bread or rice. Sometimes finding fresh chilies is difficult.

This probably isn't a question of distribution, but of perishability.

Canned and dried chilies are usually available.

From Betty Crocker's "Southwest Cooking".


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