logo
Vancouver’s Original Natural & Bulk Food Store

Blog

Authentic Mexican Cheeses: Types and Uses

Written by: Famous Foods | 2018-06-28 | no comments

Manchego cheese tastes equally good in Mexican dishes as it does on its own.

Cheese is a well-known ingredient in Mexican cuisine and is authentic to the different regions in Mexico.

Spanish settlers brought cows, goats, and sheep to Mexico for use as protein and making dairy products. Prior to the introduction of these animals, the Mexican diet was primarily fruits and vegetables.

You can find cheese with strong Spanish roots, such as Manchego that is often eaten as an appetizer or snack. You are more likely to find Mexican cheese as a component inside or on top of a warm dish. Many cheeses produced in Mexico are often creamy or soft for melting or crumbly for topping. They are not typically served as a standalone offering, as you might find offered as a cheese course on a European menu.

Cheese in Mexico is generally made from raw milk. It is usually not pasteurized, as you would find in the rest of North America.

Types of Mexican Cheeses

Queso Fresco

This is a crumbly white cheese that is often a combination of cow and goat milk. Queso Fresco was introduced from Burgos, Spain. It is dry with a slightly acidic flavour. Queso Fresco is used as a topping for enchiladas, taquitos, and grilled corn.

Anejo

This is similar to Queso Fresco. It is a soft and crumbly cheese that can become harder the more it ages. Anejo is primarily used as a garnish or topping over dishes such as refined beans and tortilla soup.

Cotija

This cheese is named after the town in which it was originated, Cotija, Michoacán. Cotija is a goat cheese that is crumbly, salty, and sharp in flavour. It is often used to top off a fresh salad as it does not melt as well as others.

Oaxaca

Oaxaca is one of the most widely enjoyed cheeses in Mexico.

This cheese is also referred to as Quesillo. It is a soft, white cheese that is made by stretching curds, similar to mozzarella. Oaxaca is a popular cheese for quesadillas and other dishes that call for a stringy, melted cheese.

Manchego

Manchego hails from the Spanish region of La Mancha. This is a firm, yellow cheese that can be served alongside fruits, meats, and bread. It is also great for melting in a quesadilla or over a burger, even though burgers are not Mexican in nature.

Visit the Dairy Section at Famous Foods

Stop by Famous Foods and visit our diverse selection of. cheese from all over the world. You’ll find authentic cheese from Canada, Mexico, Italy, France, Greece, Ireland, England, Australia, and more!

More

5 Delicious Pestos To Use this Summer

Written by: Famous Foods | 2018-06-25 | no comments

Pesto is popular Italian sauce or condiment that has a few simple ingredients. In a recent post we discussed planting a kitchen herb garden. You can use these fresh herbs and others to make different types of pestos.

For many chefs, making pesto sauce with fresh basil is a summer highlight

The basic ingredients of pesto include:

  • Fresh herb leaves: 2 cups, approximately 300 grams
  • Nuts: 2 Tbsp, approximately 20 grams
  • Garlic cloves: 2 large
  • Extra virgin olive oil: 1/2 cup, approximately 120 ml
  • Parmesan cheese, grated: 1/2 cup, approximately 45 grams
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional – helps retain the color of the herbs)

In a food processor, combine the herbs, nuts, and garlic until well ground. Slowly add the olive oil until a paste is formed. Gently mix in the cheese, salt & pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Store in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.

Let’s explore some varieties of pesto and their uses.

Basil Pesto

A classic pesto is made with basil and pine nuts. This is a perfect sauce to coat warm pasta or to layer on top of fresh salmon for baking.

Arugula Pesto

For a bitter herb pesto, use arugula for the fresh green component and lightly toasted walnuts for the nuts. This is also excellent on pasta and pairs well with mild proteins, such as grilled chicken breast.

Spinach offers an iron-rich alternative to basil in pesto sauce

Spinach Pesto

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that works quite well as the herb ingredient in pesto. The spinach will give you a creamier consistency and a rich green color. Spinach pesto is mild in flavor and is a nice topping on hardy risotto and polenta dishes.

2-Herb Vegan Pesto

For the vegans in your family you will want to omit the cheese. A flavorful vegan pesto can be a combination of basil & parsley leaves. To get a rich and almost cheesy flavour, use lightly toasted raw cashews + 2 tsps of white miso paste. You might also consider adding a small amount of nutritional yeast. This version of pesto is excellent over grilled or baked tofu planks. It is also nice spooned on top of vegetable soup.

Paleo Pesto

The Paleolithic Diet is all about non-starchy fruits and vegetables, high-quality protein, and healthy fats. There is nothing better than a grilled grass-fed flank steak with a chimichurri style of pesto spooned over the top just before serving. Use 1/2 parsley and 1/2 cilantro for the herbs. Eliminate the cheese and nuts. Add the juice of a small lemon and a pinch (or more) of cayenne pepper flakes.

You can find all the ingredients for making pesto at Famous Foods. Shop our variety of fresh produce, cheese, and bulk nuts and spices for your homemade pesto. For a quicker option, also check out our selection of authentic ready to use pestos in Aisle 8!

More