Ques-o! Ques-o! Ques-o! Three great new Texas cookbooks cut the cheese three different ways.
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Tailgate season is upon us. Since a Texan can never have too many recipes for queso and cheese dip, herewith are three magnificently gooey ones from three great new Texas cookbooks published this fall. Fort Worth chef Lou Lambert’s Big Ranch, Big City, cowritten with collaborator June Naylor ($40, Ten Speed Press), is an outgrowth of Lambert’s cooking classes, catering, and two eponymous restaurants, in Austin and Fort Worth. Lambert calls his style “elevated ranch cuisine”; another way to describe it is refined but full of gusto and big flavors. (Lambert and Naylor will be doing book signings and some Central Market cooking classes this fall: Sept 15, A Real Book Store, Dallas; Sept 19, Central Market Fort Worth; Sept 20, Central Market Dallas; Sept 21, Central Market, Austin; Sept 22, Central Market Houston; Sept 23, Central Market San Antonio; Oct 1, Texas Fall Fest, Horseshoe Bay; Oct 13, Market Street, Colleyville; Oct 22, Texas Book Festival, cooking tent, Austin; Oct 29, Fresh, Tyler.) Photograph, left, by Ralph Lau
rer; used by permission. Seventh-generation-Texan Lisa Fain blogs from her home in New York City under the moniker “the Homesick Texan,” and her sassy, popular website, which centers on how much she misses Texas, especially Texas foods, has now given rise to The Homesick Texan Cookbook ($29.99, Hyperion). (Fain will do book signings on Sept 22, Cookbook Gala, San Angelo; Oct 20, Le Crueset on Lovers Ln, Dallas; Oct 22, Texas Book Festival, at the Capitol, Austin; Oct 24, BookPeople, Austin; Oct 25, Twig Book Shop, San Antonio; Oct 26, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston.) Journalist Ellen Sweets had the fortune to be a great friend and cooking chum of the late liberal columnist Molly Ivins. Stirring It Up with Molly Ivins: A Memoir With Recipes ($29.95, University of Texas Press) focuses on personal stories and anecdotes but still has plenty of recipes, fancy and plain. (Sweets will do book signings on Oct 23, Texas Book Festival, at the Capitol, Austin; Nov 4, BookPeople, Austin; Nov 13, Savory Spice Shop, Austin.) LOU LAMBERT’S GREEN CHILE QUESO 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onions 1/2 cup finely diced tomatoes 1/2 cup finely diced roasted, peeled, and seeded green chiles, such as poblanos or canned New Mexico Hatch chiles 1/4 cup milk 1 pound easy-melt cheese [e.g., Velveeta], cut into 2-inch cubes 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese Salt and white pepper 4 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced, for garnish 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro, for garnish Warm corn tortilla chips, for serving In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. When it begins to bubble, add the onion and cook until it begins to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and roasted chiles and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the milk to the saucepan and then stir in the easy-melt cheese. Turn the temperature to low and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Monterey Jack and season with salt and white pepper. When the Monterey Jack has melted, about 2 minutes, transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the green onion and cilantro. Serve with chips. Makes 10 to 12 servings. LISA FAIN’S QUESO FLAMEADO 1 poblano chile 1/4 pound Mexican chorizo, removed from its casing 3 cups grated asadero cheese or Muenster cheese (12 ounces) 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces) Tortillas, corn or flour, for serving Roast the poblano chile under the broiler until blackened, about 5 minutes per side. Place chile in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag, close it tight, and let the chile steam for 20 minutes. Take the chile out of the bag, rub off the skin, remove the stem and seeds, and cut into strips. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Crumble the chorizo into a medium-size cast-iron skillet heated on medium. Cook, occasionally stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat; add to the skillet the grated cheeses and poblano strips. Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 15 minutes or until bubbling. Spoon onto tortillas. Serve immediately. [Book says recipe makes 4 servings, but I’ll bet you’d get 8 out of it.]. MOLLY IVINS’S BLUE CHEESE DIP 1 cup mayonnaise 1/2 cup plain yogurt 3/4 cup blue cheese crumbles 6 celery ribs, cut into thin sticks 4 inches long In a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and yogurt. Stir in blue cheese (dip will not be smooth). Soak celery sticks in a bowl of ice water for about 30 to 45 minutes before serving. Flavors meld if dip is made a day ahead and kept covered and refrigerated. [Makes around 4 servings.]