Tag Archives: mexican

The Tortally Radical Dude – Monterey Jack Cheese, Avocado, Corn Relish, Cilantro, and Chipotle Mayo Grilled Cheese

Is that it? Is summer really almost over? I feel like it didn’t even exist. Yeah sure, there were a few heat waves that could have probably helped me cook a grilled cheese on the sidewalk (shit, why didn’t I really do that?) but other than that, I just feel like it zoomed by faster than Miley Cyrus’s innocence.  I didn’t even get a chance to go on a tropical vacation that I’d been mentally stoking myself up for. All that hope’s not good for a girl, ya know? But obviously there’s no need to complain. Summer’s in NYC are the shit! Every weekend there’s these awesome events going on, the beach is just a quick train ride away, and everyone is down to DAY DRINK all the time – which might just be my favorite thing in the world. And along with my favorite thing in the world, comes one of my favorite things to eat in the world. T’wasted or not.

I crave Mexican food approximately every single day but summer is definitely the season of the torta. Whether you’re at the beach having a picnic, starving at 4 o’clock in the morning in-the-middle-of-nowehre-Bushwick, or trying to eat away your emotions alone on a crappy Thursday – it’s the absolute perfect sandwich next to the GC. Greasy, fatty, and satisfying, this sandwich hits all the perfect notes. But my one issue with tortas are that the quality of the meat is always devastatingly questionable. After a few weird bites, I started noticing that the “pork” that once tasted so good after a few Bud heavies is just cubes of fat. Which I guess is totally cool if I am in the FEED ME OR I’M GOING TO KILL MYSELF phase but I’m not always like that so I wanted to remake it – in veggie form.

That’s where this sandwich comes in – It’s like a torta and a grilled cheese took too many tequila shots, made some questionable decisions, and nine months later had a baby that they were surprisingly very proud of. Spicy chipotle aioli, creamy Cedar Grove Monterey Jack cheese, some avocado, corn relish, and cilantro all pile up on a roll to make one of my favorite Mexican treats. And because it’s still my I’m-obsessed-with-Wisconsin-cheese month, there’s another awesome giveaway from Culture magazine  and you can win a whole years subscription. Just enter on my Facebook!

So here we go…


-Monterey Jack Cheese (I used Cedar Grove)
-1 half avocado
-1-2 tbsp corn relish (I used Trader Joes)
-a few sprigs of cilantro
-1 torta or portuguese roll
-2 tbsp of chipotle mayo
(Just combine regular ole mayo with a little bit of the liquid that comes in the canned chipotle peppers from the store…make sense?)

Because Tortas (or Portuguese rolls) are kind of fluffy and are almost impossible to make into something that can be easilly grilled, you’re going to have to use my all time fav method to fix this problem – the flippity flop. Have no idea what I’m talking about? Didn’t think so because I just made that up so let me explain. It’s basically when you shave off the top of the bread so that you can a nice, even surface. See?

Once you do that, smear it with some chipotle aioli and if no one’s looking lick the knife.

Now add some of Wisconsin’s finest Monterey Jack from Cedar Grove. It’s buttery, creamy, and has a hint of tartness. It melts really nicely too, I think I took about a thousand pictures of it on my phone as it was happening. Obsessed?

Then gently lay on some avocado slices. If you dont like hot avocados, you can add them at the end once the sandwich is done. OK!?

Now it’s time for some corn relish. I got this jar at Trader Joe’s but you can totally make some with this recipe or find some at your local farmer’s market. It’s sweet, tangy, and citrusy and I totally dig it.

And a few sprigs of cilantro on top…

Now add the remaining cheese and the other piece of bread.

Here comes the crazy part – instead of using butter as your fat, smear on some chipotle aioli! Yeah, total fat kid style over here, but believe me it makes it SO good!

Let it cook for a few minutes on each side until (…you know
how this goes) it gets all crispy and perfect.  And let it sit for a few minutes before cutting into it so the cheese can glue everything together.

So as we bid adieu to our favorite white cutoffs, let’s all just get really excited that we can finally be in our kitchens without going into a heat stroke. And don’t forget to “like” Culture Cheese‘s FB page to enter the contest!!



Green Corn Tamale Mac and Cheese

Today is absolutely disgusting in New York. Cold rain, sloshy grey snow, and a layer of smog that just instantly makes you depressed is looming over us. Every time I close my eyes, I’m basically dreaming about summer and all of its day drinking and eating by the Williamsburg waterfront. But instead of being all depressed, I’ve got a cure for today’s gloom and doom and of course, it’s in the form of a recipe.Every year, I help make a bomb ass dish for Wisconsin Cheese’s 30 Ways 30 Days (which basically gives you 30 different mac’n’cheese recipes for 30 days). This years inspired comfort food might just be my favorite because it has everything to do with summer. And let’s face it, when it’s 40 degrees outside and there’s grimy weather ruining your state of mind, warm days spent in the sun while chowing down on delicous food is really the only thing that matters.You can find my article [here] or just check it out below!

If you’ve spent any time in Brooklyn during the summer, you know that everything revolves around food. And as a person who’s obsessed with all things food, my weekends were spent noshing at Smorgusburg, admiring produce at the green market, and obsessing over vintage kitchenware at the Brooklyn Flea. From artisanal chile and mango popsicles to handcrafted candied bacon cupcakes, it’s about the only thing that really matters in my borough besides who has the hippest shoes. But one day, after meeting another like-minded foodie babe (Tina Trachtenberg from the 90’s cult-favorite band Trachtenberg family slideshow players), things changed. Instead of being a bystander in the Brooklyn food scene, we decided to get in on the action and start an underground tamale business.

Instead of partying on Friday nights, we spent our time roasting poblanos, mixing masa, and blending fresh produce to create the perfect salsa. Come Saturday morning, my tamale fairy godmother and I would be stuffing these husk-wrapped delights into giant silver pots – letting them steam for hours before we hit the road. And because we made this business up on a whim, we didn’t really have a vehicle or storefront to sell them out of so we went the DIY path and made our own. With a rickety old metal laundry basket on wheels, a million neon fake flowers, and hand-stitched banners that read “Good Golly Miss Tamale”, we made our very own portable tamale wagon. And when the tamales were ready to be sold, we’d put everything in our push-cart and hit the road, selling tamales to all the hipsters and tourists that wandered into our neighborhood, and ducking down alleyways to avoid the occasional cop run-in – we didn’t have permits after all.

The varieties of what we sold changed just as often as trends in our beloved neighborhood, but I will always remember my favorite tamale; which was made with masa harina, roasted poblanos, and Mexican cheese. So as a homage to one of the most memorable, exciting, and inspirational summers, this mac n cheese is inspired by my favorite green corn tamales. Made with a creamy sauce featuring Wisconsin queso quesadilla and Wisconsin Monteray jack, and studded with roasted poblano peppers, freshly shucked corn, and pickled jalapenos, this spicy macaroni and cheese will forever remind me of summer. And after the last few days of horribly cold weather, it’s about the only thing that is helping me through the winter.


Green Corn Tamale Mac and Cheese

Serves 6


1 pound pasta shells
4 tablespoons salted butter, divided
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups freshly shucked corn*
1/2 cup roasted poblano peppers, roughly chopped
5 pickled jalapenos, sliced into rings
1 tablespoon flour
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup (1 1/3 ounces) Wisconsin Queso Quesadilla Cheese, shredded
1/3 cup (1 1/3 ounces) Wisconsin Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Cilantro sprigs for garnish

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

In medium sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter, add onions and pinch salt; cook until onions are translucent; about 5 minutes. Add corn, poblanos and jalapenos; cook 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

In medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until roux forms; cook 2 minutes until bubbling and reduce heat to low; cook 2-3 minutes more. Whisk in heavy cream and increase heat to medium, allowing cream to thicken.

Slowly whisk in cheese until it’s completely melted. Add garlic salt and salt and pepper to taste.
In large bowl, add cooked pasta, corn and pepper mixture, and cheese sauce; gently toss to coat.

Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

*Frozen corn can be substituted.

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Marco Polo – Manchego Grilled Cheese with Roasted Corn, Pickled Jalapenos and Smoked Chile Butter

Alright I’m gonna make this quick, I’ve got a crowded train to catch and a sixer of bud to slam. I felt bad that I left my vegetarian buds out with my previous 4th of July post, especially since I just wrote about the plethora of opportunities for vegetarian BBQ. Because of this, I decided to get real and make something that’s veg-head friendly. For this grilled cheese, I combine grilled corn on the cob, manchego cheese, and pickled jalapenos.  I grill it between two hearty slices of Texas toast that are smeared in smokey chile butter. And for the zinger (literally), fresh lime juice is squeezed on top for the perfect little splash of citrus. And errr, I know how what my state of mind is going to be this weekend (or lack thereof) so I’ll try to make this as drunk-friendly as possible, just in case, ya know… 

So liquid diets are cool and all but waking up with the worst hangover of your life sucks, so it’s probably a good idea to eat.


-2 slices of Texas toast
-1 cup of shredded manchego
-1 lime wedge
-1 tbs of pickled jalapenos
-1 ear of roasted corn
-1 tbs of smoked chile butter
  (combine 2 pats of unsalted butter, a pinch garlic
   salt, 1 tsp smoked paprika, & 1 heaping tsp chile

Alright everyone, to begin, get a grater out and carefully grate up a cup of manchego. I know this can be tricky and it’s super important that you don’t get your fingers too close to the metal. It can get pretty gnarly considering how thin your blood will be at this point. If there’s any kids in the room or sober people, forcibly give them this responsibility.

Once it’s grated, you can step back in and fumble some cheese onto the bread. Use half, or as much as you can pile on without it getting ridiculous.

Now THIS is probably the most dangerous part. Abandon ship. Give this to job to someone else. Seriously. Hand them a corn cob and shrug your shoulders. I found it helps if you make a whiny noise combined with a sad frightened face to let them realize how much of a bad idea it would be for you to use a knife right now.

After they help you out, stack it on. Kiss them on the face.

Now this next part – you can totes do it yourself. Just scoop out a spoonful of pickled jalapenos, let the excess juice drip off and put a few on. If you’re a bad ass you should probably use real jalapenos but I’m too much of a wuss, especially when I’m drinking and people are already probably annoyed with me.

With the remainder of the cheese, carefully plop it on and press down. 

Now take that second piece of bread and put it on top. Then smear some of that yummy smoked chile butter on top.  

Alright time for the kids to take over again. Have them crank up the heat to medium and gently place the sandwich in – butter side down. Don’t get too close to the flames, although you probably won’t care because your sense of feel has diminished, you’ll regret the burn in the morning. Hangover and burnt hands? No bueno.

And because you’ll probably have no concept of time, just keep checking the belly of the sandwich with a spatula. Once it’s crusty and golden and the cheese has started to melt, flip it.  Repeat.

When it’s done take it out of the pan,  let it sit for another minute so the butter absorbs and the cheese thickens, then squeeze a lime wedge on top and chow down.  You should probably give the person who made this for you a bite too.  They’ll appreciate it.

Wipe your mouth. Blast some Tennis and some Harlem. Do some cannon balls. DON’T FORGET TO REAPPLY SUNSCREEN. Have fun!