Gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread with Mexican cotija

Brazilian cheese bread is a staple at most Brazilian restaurants—especially a Brazilian steakhouse. These addictive, light and fluffy cheese rolls are called pão de queijo in Portuguese, which simply means cheese bread. They’re a popular breakfast item (similar to how Mexicans love pan dulce) or a snack.

I loved these Brazilian cheese rolls so much after having them for the first time about a decade ago that I went on a quest to try to reproduce them in my own kitchen almost immediately. I’ve been making them for years now, and what better time to share this version with you when we’re about to embark upon a summer filled with soccer matches in Brazil!

This traditional Brazilian recipe is most commonly made with Minas cheese or parmesan cheese, but I’ve given my recipe a bit of a Mexican spin by substituting cotija cheese.

Brazilian cheese bread recipe (pão de queijo) using Mexican cotija cheese | Get the recipe at theothersideofthetortilla.com… 

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Easy Esquites

Easy, healthy esquites recipe (roasted corn, chile piquin, cotija cheese, lime juice) from theothersideofthetortilla.comThe weather is getting warmer and that can only mean one thing: an explosion of Mexican street food carts popping up on every corner in the neighborhood where I do all my grocery shopping.

Among the carts that make my mouth water the most is one from which the sweet smell of roasted corn wafts through the spring air – and through my car window enticing me to stop for a quick treat. Yep, you guessed it: esquites.

The key ingredients of this antojito are roasted corn, lime juice, salt and dried ground chile piquin. And then there are the customizations and variations on the snack that can make it so unique from place to place. Sometimes sauteed with butter or onions and epazote, it can also be topped with mayonesa or crema Mexicana. And my favorite touch: a sprinkle of queso cotija, a dry, crumbly cheese with a little bite.

It’s usually served in a Styrofoam or plastic cup on the street, but don’t let the simple presentation fool you. Serve this at a spring or summer backyard barbecue and impress your guests with this simple treat they’re sure to love. Or just make it at home as a weekend snack!

Part of the beauty of this dish is that you can make changes or adjustments to your own tastes very easily without compromising any kind of measurements or balance so long as you follow the base of the recipe by roasting the corn either with butter or by adding a little water to the corn once you’ve cut it to help create a little juice. The portions of the lime juice, chile and toppings is up to you. The end result should be a sweet, sour, salty and spicy taste in every bite…. 

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CHILAQUILES VERDES

Chilaquiles are a staple in my house – great for any meal: breakfast, lunch or dinner. When making them for breakfast, I serve an egg (fried or scrambled) on top; for lunch and dinner I usually add shredded chicken, but that can be left out if you’re serving it to a vegetarian. Whenever I go to a potluck dinner or any kind of event where I have to bring a dish, this is my tried and true recipe that always disappears quickly once served and the guests always end up calling me for the recipe the day after. And, ahem… chilaquiles are also known as the quintessential Mexican cure for a hangover.

Chilaquiles verdes #recipe from theothersideofthetortilla.com #mexicanfood #comidamexicana

This past weekend I made my famous chilaquiles verdes for my Salsa Showdown cooking show at the Kenmore Live Studio and they were a huge hit. The video of the show will be available soon, but I’ve already gotten dozens of requests to post the recipe! A lot of people from the audience came up to me after the show to say that they were impressed with not only the taste of the dish, but also how simple it was to prepare and that they felt confident they could make it at home. That’s always my goal here ­– to teach you recipes and break them down so you feel comfortable making them on your own. I hope you’ll try my chilaquiles, and if you do, please leave a comment below to let me know how you liked them!

One of the great things about the salsa verde for my chilaquiles is that it’s a very versatile salsa that can also be used for enchiladas as well as a few other dishes. Be sure to check back later this week for my recipe for enchiladas verdes…. 

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SOPA DE TORTILLA

I love tortilla soup. I will order it just about anywhere, at any time of year, and I’ve been known to judge the entire menu of a restaurant solely on the quality of their sopa de tortilla. I’m obsessed in every sense of the word–and having not been able to find a version I deem delicious in Chicago, I learned how to make it.

This soup is very representative of a typical Mexican kitchen and uses the traditional flavors and textures of the tomato, chile, avocado, epazote and tortilla. I’ve never cared much for tomato-based soups or broths, but this soup converted me.

The secret, I’ve found, is adding a few crunchy little pieces of chicharrón (also known as pork rinds or cracklings here in the U.S.). They add a depth to the soup’s flavor that I’m convinced cannot be achieved otherwise. All of my favorite places in Mexico for tortilla soup serve it similarly; all the ingredients for assembling the soup are brought to the table separately and the waiter puts it together right in front of you, almost like a little show with your meal…. 

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