QUESO BAR!

When queso is in question, a Texan is the only person who can supply the answer. I turned to Courtney from Large Marge, a queso master, for guidance. Courtney makes her own queso all of the time, which you can purchase from Large Marge, so I knew she’d have some ideas on how to put together the perfect queso bar. She suggests ground beef, herbs, salsa, beans, and fresh avocado for toppings, but honestly, anything you like will work!

INGREDIENTS (TEX-MEX WHITE QUESO)

Serves 4-6

1 pound land-o-lakes extra melt cheese

You can order this cheese from Amazon, but you have to buy it in bulk. Alternately, you can use any white American cheese.

2 tablespoons monterey jack cheese, shredded

½  cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons whole milk

1 ¼  cups buttermilk

⅛  teaspoon garlic powder

DIRECTIONS

Fill a pot with about two inches of water and put it on the stove to boil. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer.

Cut the EZ Melt cheese into one inch cubes and put those cubes into a medium-sized bowl. Put the shredded Monterey Jack cheese in the bowl as well. Place that bowl on top of the pan of simmering water.

Pour the heavy cream and the whole milk into a small saucepan and heat it up over medium heat until the mixture is hot to the touch, but not boiling. Pour the hot milk concoction over the cubed EZ Melt cheese.

Heat the cheese over the pan of simmering water, whisking occasionally until the entire mass starts to melt together into smooth, cheesy deliciousness.

Pour in half of the buttermilk and whisk it together, then pour in the remaining buttermilk.

Whisk in the garlic powder and pour it into a large bowl.

Add the mix-ins of your choice — we recommend pico de gallo, but you can literally add anything.  Avocado, beans, taco meat…whatever you want.

Serve with tortilla chips.

INGREDIENTS (HOME-FRIED TORTILLA CHIPS)

Serves 4-6

4 quarts canola oil

1 dozen 3-inch white corn tortillas

kosher salt to taste

These chips stay fresh for several days, so I recommend doubling the amount of tortillas to ensure leftovers.

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a large pot to 350F

Put the tortillas on a cutting board, and using a paring knife, prick them several times to create little holes in them. This prevents them from getting air pockets with they fry and helps keep them flat.

Cut the tortillas into chips by slicing them across their diameter in the shape of an “X”

Fry the chips in three to four batches. Keep them submerged in the oil until they start to brown and become a light amber color. Remove them from the oil with a strainer and put them in a paper towel lined bowl to catch excess oil. They will continue to darken in color. After about one minute, transfer them to another bowl with no paper towel and season them heavily with kosher salt. Make sure you season them when they are still a little hot and oily so the salt has something to adhere to.

If you have leftover chips, store them in a ziplock bag at room temperature and they will stay fresh and crunchy for a whole week.

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