Football and cheese. And we love them both.
There are several ways to detect when it’s playoff time ’round these parts:
- The Chronicle’s sports page is talking about other professional football teams rather than the Texans.
- Cowboys fans are suddenly and unusually quiet. We’re talking scary, they-must-be-up-to-something quiet.
- An ad nauseum Manning family tree discussion can be found on any TV channel, at any time of day.
- The entrance of your favorite grocery store is completely blocked with eyebrow-level stacks of Tortilla chip and Velveeta brick displays.
MMMmm. Velveeta. You can say whatever you want to about the congealed block of processed cheeze food – I think it rocks. And it’s the only legal item I can think of that’s measured in bricks, you know, besides real bricks. We use it in this house exclusively for queso:
Chili Queso = 2 cups leftover chili + 1 brick Velveeta.
Quickie Queso = 1 can of RoTel + 1 brick Velveeta.
Not-So-Quickie Queso = see below
And on the rare occasion that I have any left, Velveeta makes a wicked grilled cheese to accompany my favorite tomato soup.
I have a love-hate relationship with homemade queso. I admit that most of the time, I’d rather just go out for it. In the mood for Queso Blanco? Escalantes is the best bet. Want “regular” queso? Get thee to Lupe Tortilla or Texadelphia. Sure, I have to immediately jump in the shower to get the smell of the restaurant out of my hair but it’s worth it.
I have the hardest time getting “real” queso to come together consistently. (I lied! I now know the secret to good restaurant queso!) Chihuahua and asadero cheeses melted with green chiles and sauteed onions… when it works, it’s fantastic but two batches made on the same day with the exact same ingredients and method can yield a 50% failure rate. Velveeta, while not “real” queso – and maybe not even real cheese? – has never, ever let me down.
Chile con Queso
Velveeta melts into a rich, smooth queso that's a party favorite.
- 8 oz Velveeta, cut into large cubes
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
- 1/2 cup white or yellow onion, diced small
- 1-2 large jalapeno peppers, diced (~1/4 cup, I leave the seeds in)
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- Pinch of salt
- Dash of cayenne
- Place Velveeta and milk in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Heat oil in sauce pan over medium-high. Saute onions and peppers until the onions are translucent. Pour over Velveeta.
- Microwave for 60-90 seconds at a time, stirring until melted and thoroughly combined.
- Stir in tomatoes, cilantro, salt and cayenne. Serve hot with chips of your choice or warm flour tortillas.
Yields: ~2 cups
Estimated time: 10 minutes