Post-election greetings to all. Maybe you’re sleep-deprived after a night of watching balloting returns, but I’m not allowing that as an excuse to miss some great reads:
●Steakhouses hit the sauce — Victorino Matus explores the current trend that goes way beyond A.1. and Worcestershire.
●Barbecue’s identity crisis — Jim Shahin visits a foodways symposium to find out whether barbecue is losing its defining regional traits.
●The other food trucks — The rolling lunch wagons that serve the area’s construction crews occupy a fiercely competitive niche, Amanda Abrams finds.
And won't you stay awake long enough to jump into today’s Free Range chat? Besides the usual crew, we’ll welcome special guest Tanya Steel, editor in chief of Epicurious.com and author of “The Epicurious Cookbook,” which hit the bookstores last week. Bring your culinary questions, opinions, whatever. It all starts a noon. In the meantime, I’ll entertain you with a question from last week’s chat:
My husband and I just returned from a trip on the Riviera Maya and had some interesting desserts at our resort. One, a “cheese pie,” had the consistency of cheesecake but tasted like some type of savory cheese that I can’t put my finger on. Another looked like a creme brulee but also had that same savory taste. Any thoughts on what these might be?
We kicked your question upstairs to Patricia Jinich, cooking instructor, TV cooking show host and chef for the Mexican Cultural Institute. Needless to say, she knew just what you were talking about. Here’s her response:
“The cheese pie sounds like a Mexican-style pay de queso, or cheese pie, which is similar to cheesecake but uses a Mexican fresh cheese instead of cream cheese, making it more savory..
“The second one is a leche quemada, which translates to “burnt milk.” It is like a very light pudding: a lighter, creamier, more liquid version of a flan. We cover it with sugar and put it in the oven so it browns on top.”
So there you are: Another mystery solved. Extend your Mexican vacation by exploring fresh cheese, or queso fresco, in these recipes:
Raw Tomatillo and Chipotle Salsa Verde — A recipe from Patricia Jinich, who tried it in the small town of Valle de Bravo.
Chilaquiles — Breakfast built on a base of tortilla chips and refried beans.
Mexican-Style Pasta With Tomato Sauce and Chorizo — Yes, there’s pasta in Mexio, and here’s a typical use for it.