Monday, January 30, 2012

easy app: grilled chorizo with queso

This past weekend, I was in charge of the food for a community gathering of almost 40 parents. Now, I love to cook, but I'm not a caterer, so 10-12 people is my max for a full dinner spread. We ordered the food from a local Mexican restaurant (which ended up being fabulous) and I simply made a couple of very easy appetizers + my (phenomenal, totally decadent) cinnamon-chocolate brownies... since I can only stay out of the kitchen for so long. Anyway, knowing this group of guys regularly eats meat straight off the cutting board when they're on father-child camp outs together, this was the "carnivore" app option... These would be perfect accompaniments to the "make-ahead Mexican-themed dinner party" post I shared with you earlier this month because in addition to being super easy (and crowd-pleasing), you can grill the sausages ahead of time, then assembled them and just serve them room temp.

Grilled Chorizo with Quesito (or Queso Blanco/Fresco)
(I'm not listing amts b/c you can make as many as you'd like...)

Chorizo sausages
Queso Fresco, Queso Blanco or Quesito cheese

Grill sausages, then slice on the diagonal. Top with a square of your favorite Mexican cheese. Stick a toothpick in each one, if you'd like. Serve warm or room temp.

More on chorizo: my favorite brand of chorizo is D'Artagnan. It's smokey but not too spicy. If you want to learn everything there is to know about chorizo, I recommend going here

More on queso: Queso blanco and queso fresco are white cheeses with a mild, tangy taste. They are typically made with cow's milk and crumble quite easily, like a Feta cheese, so they are perfect atop salads, enchiladas or soups. This sort of cheese also worked cutting it into wedges, as I did in this appetizer. Because this cheese won't get "oily" or "sweat" sitting out during a party, it's a great option for a make-ahead app. I went to a local supermarket that has plentiful ethnic products, knowing they would have several queso blanco and queso fresos to choose from. A local (Stamford, CT) company, La Finquita, happened to be sampling that afternoon, and after getting the thumbs up from me, and my trusted 5-year-old sidekick, I used their "quesito" variety. A little went a long way. One 14 oz. round topped 8 grilled chorizo sausages (making approximately 50 appetizer pieces).

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