Queso Fresco (yes, cheese) March 12, 2016 16:48

Queso Fresco


  • 1 gallon pasteurized milk (not homogonized)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt with acidophilus cultures
  • ¼ to ½ cup distilled white vinegar
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon Kosher or canning/pickling salt or to taste


  1. Pour milk into large stainless steel pot and stir in yogurt. Cover the pot and set aside at room temperature for 4 hours.
  2. Remove pot lid and place pot over medium heat. Bring mixture to 185 degrees, stirring as necessary to keep milk from scorching on bottom of pot.  Remove pot from heat.
  3. Slowly drizzle ¼ cup vinegar into mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to add up to ¼ cup more vinegar, until mixture coagulates into curds.  You will recognize a distinct change when the curds form; they will be white and separate from the whey, which will be yellowish in color.  You may not need to add all the vinegar.  Cover the pot and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Line a colander with cheesecloth or your flour sack dishtowel. Place it in the sink to drain.  Pour the curds into the colander.  The whey will immediately start to drain.  Drain for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the curds from the colander and place them in a bowl – add the salt. Work the salt in with your hands.  Add salt to taste.
  6. Line two cheese baskets with cheesecloth. Note:  I just put in two plastic containers, not molds, with no cheesecloth and put the lid on.
  7. Fill each mold with the curds and press them slightly into the cheesecloth lined basket. Cover the basket filled with curds with plastic wrap and chill.  This is a fresh cheese and will not improve with age, so enjoy it right away.  It keeps about a week if refrigerated.

Uses and Pairings:  Nothing can compare to this cheese as a topping for classic Mexican dishes.  Try it on handmade tortillas, carne asada, or red beans.  Or try it topped with fresh pico de gallo, or making a quesadilla with this cheese.  Always good spiced up with hot pepper powders!!

Smoked Prime Rib Roast recipe February 24, 2016 12:59

Smoked Prime Rib Roast


  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 (5 pound) prime rib roast, bones removed
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Sprinkle salt over entire roast and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate, 4 hours to 24 hours.
  2. Combine olive oil, black pepper, garlic powder, rosemary, thyme, onion powder, paprika and cayenne pepper together in bowl. Set aside for flavors to blend at least 1 hour.
  3. Pour most of the oil mixture over the roast and massage into top and sides of meat. Flip roast and pour remaining mixture over roast and massage. Place roast on a plate and refrigerate from 1 to 12 hours.
  4. Preheat smoker to 225 to 230 degrees F. Add hickory or pecan wood chips to smoker.
  5. Insert oven-safe meat thermometer into thickest part of roast. Place roast into smoker and roast until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F, 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 500 to 550 degrees F.
  7. Bake roast in preheated oven until crust is crunchy, produced a reverse sear, 15 to 20 minutes. Allow roast to rest 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

May substitute different pepper powders for the cayenne pepper - depending on your desired heat level.

My recipe for Hotter than Hades Chili February 9, 2016 14:07

Hotter than Hades Chili

Chile Sauce:  can use your favorite dehydrated chiles

  • 5 California chiles (I used Ancho), dehydrated
  • 5 Guajillo chiles, dehydrated
  • 5 Pasilla chiles, dehydrated
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons Oregano, dehydrated (I used Hot & Spicy Oregano)

Chili Spices:

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • ¼ cup ground cumin
  • ¼ cup paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Hotter than Hades pepper powder
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 7 cloves diced garlic
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 12-ounce cans tomato paste
  • 2 cans unsalted Black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 11.5-ounce cans low sodium tomato juice

Tomatoes – 2 quarts canned tomatoes


  1. Chile Sauce: cover dehydrated chiles with water in medium saucepan and soak for 2 hours. Add garlic and simmer till tender, about 30 minutes. Add oregano and blend in blender till pureed.
  2. Chili spices: combine oatmeal, cumin, paprika, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and Hotter than Hades pepper powder in bowl. Set aside.
  3. Chili: Mix together chuck, pork, onion and garlic in large pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, till brown.  Drain off grease.
  4. Add chili spices and water to ground beef mixture and cook 20 minutes more. Then add tomatoes, chile sauce, tomato paste, black beans and tomato juice.  Simmer about 1 hour.