A treat for children and grownups alike

By the time these recipes are posted, I can have a granddaughter — my first. I do now not feel antique enough to be everybody’s grandmother, however I am thrilled to welcome a brand new child into our lives.

Another mouth to feed. I can’t wait.

Melty cheese of any kind always makes me think of my personal children as young ones. Our solid iron griddle spent a dozen years on the stove waiting for the day’s quesadilla orders. My son preferred easy renditions of white cheese and flour tortillas, at the same time as my daughter preferred greater complex combos of tangy goat cheese and tender veggies. No matter their age, the kids in our house never uninterested in the nice and cozy, handheld goodness.


As they grew up, we delivered mild guacamole and salsas for dunking. Later, roasted vegetables and shrimp got tucked into the quesadillas. As my prowess in Mexican cooking increased, so did our quesadilla concoctions. These days, we press clean corn masa into rounds to welcome boutique cheeses and the garden’s squash blossoms. Flour tortillas, quickly defrosted, change into nighttime snacks with leftover roasted vegetables and lengthy shreds of smoked tough cheese.

Two secrets we found out that raise our quesadillas beyond youngsters food: First, use the freshest tortillas you can locate, inclusive of those added every day to a Mexican market. Or, follow the commands at the package of masa harina to make fresh masa dough, then press out sparkling corn tortillas to bake on a heated griddle. Second, skip pre-shredded cheese; the cellulose introduced to save you caking also prevents a terrific melt. It handiest takes a few seconds to shred more than one ounces of firm cheese, and the rewards are terrific.

Other heat cheese offerings likewise seize our interest. Saganaki, that Greek kasseri cheese flamed with alcohol, tastes like a salty, carb-free quesadilla. Queso fundido, the Mexican cheese casserole, satisfies our penchant for hot cheese; we thankfully scoop it up into warm tortillas or over thick corn chips. We experience a comparable fondness for chunks of French bread dunked in cheese fondue.

Little surprise then that we ordered the provoleta appetizer everywhere we went in Argentina. La Tablita in El Calafate served our favorite model — a round disk of crusty cheese, soft on the interior, seasoned with sparkling oregano and topped with a tomato, garlic, and lettuce salad. We scooped the warm, tangy cheese onto crusty bread and wished the children have been with us. Really.

In Argentina, provoleta is generally served as the starter at an asado — a conventional, celebratory meal of grilled meats. The sturdy provolone-like cheese regularly cooks without delay at the parrilla, or grill, before it’s miles served on a plate. We also had the uniqueness served to us in a provoletera, a solid iron pan devoted to the cheesy dish. Sometimes, small bowls of chimichurri and olives followed the cheese.

At home, I played around with the cheese for a fast version of provoleta using unsmoked domestic and imported provolone. The domestic cheese melted beautifully but rendered out a piece of fat (which I mopped up with a paper towel). The imported sharp provolone had a saltier facet that definitely welcomed the salad topping. Other alternatives I like for the provoleta consist of tangy Greek kasseri and moderate tasting Mexican queso fresco, queso blanco and panela — all of which melt properly whilst heated.

The price ticket to fulfillment: the thickness of the cheese. Look for chunks which can be between ¾- and 1-inch thick, so it browns and melts at the same time.

Like any true melty cheese providing, I should without problems enjoy these undying recipes as a prime route with a hearty green salad and bloodless Mexican beer or an Argentine Malbec. Perhaps a pitcher of bloodless milk for the granddaughter — while she’s equipped for my cooking.

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