Velveeta shortage? Dip into chefs' alternatives to the usual bowl of cheesy stuff

Fort Worth Star-TelegramJanuary 29, 2014 

FOOD VELVEETA-SHORTAGE 4 FT

Chef Jen Williams' sophisticated queso uses Gruyere and mascarpone cheeses. MCT

RODGER MALLISON — MCT

"Who moved my cheese?" You might hear that question asked more literally in the coming days as game day cooks fumble through grocery stores searching for America's favorite cheese loaf. Recently, Kraft announced a Velveeta shortage, saying only limited quantities would be available until late February.

A Super Bowl party without Velveeta nacho cheese dip, preferably with spicy Ro-Tel tomatoes, is like a halftime show without controversy.

But making your own cheese sauce, using actual cheese, is easy.

Two Texas chefs provided creative MVP (Most Valuable Party)-worthy cheese dip recipes, and we found a simple one in our archives.

SOPHISTICATED QUESO

Serves 5

A classier take on queso, this creation comes from chef Jen Williams of Magnolia Cheese Co., who recommends adding ground pork or venison for a crowd of meat lovers.

1 cup kale, julienned

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon chile flakes

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 quart grated Gruyere (1 quart = 4 cups)

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

4 tablespoons roasted red bell peppers, diced

4 tablespoons roasted garlic

2 tablespoons black olives

2 tablespoons fresh chives, thinly sliced

1. Clean and trim the kale leaves from the stems before julienning into long, thin strips. Saute the kale in olive oil until just wilted. Season with the chile flakes and nutmeg. Set aside to cool.

2. In a saucepan, melt Gruyere and 1/2 cup of the heavy cream over low heat. Add the mascarpone next and then a bit more cream. Finish by slowly adding in the rest of cream, blending until all is smooth and incorporated. Season to personal taste with the salt and pepper.

3. Add the prepared kale along with the diced peppers and garlic. Top with black olives and fresh chives.

-- Chef Jen Williams, Magnolia Cheese Co., 1251 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, www.magnoliacheese.com

TEQUILA-INFUSED QUESO FUNDIDO

Serves 8-12

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila-filled tablespoons is all you need to make your guests melt for your queso. You can keep this queso sidelined as a dip, or do as Mi Dia from Scratch's chef Gabriel DeLeon does and roll it in soft tacos for an entree offering.

8 ounces chorizo (Mexican sausage)

3 tablespoons onion, chopped into1/4-inch pieces

1 tomato, cut into1/4-inch pieces

2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

3 tablespoons good-quality silver tequila

1 pound Mexican melting cheese, such as Oaxaca or a blend of Chihuahua, Asadero and Monterey

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the chorizo and onion, stirring to break up the chorizo. Add the tomato and jalapenos next and cook for about 5 minutes while constantly stirring. Add the tequila and stir for another 2 minutes.

2. Lower the heat and begin to sprinkle the cheese over the combined ingredients. Stir continuously until all the cheese has melted. Do not overcook or the sauce will become tough.

3. Pour the sauce into a warm dish and sprinkle with oregano and cilantro. Serve immediately.

-- Chef Gabriel DeLeon, Mi Dia From Scratch, 1295 S. Main St., Grapevine, Texas, www.midiafromscratch.com

FABULOUS FOOTBALL DIP

Serves 6

An easy and quick nacho cheese dip, originally provided by Albertsons.

1 pound sausage

10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1. In a large skillet, cook sausage over a medium heat until it is browned and cooked through.

2. Mix tomatoes and cream cheese into the skillet. Stir and continue cooking the mixture over a medium heat until the cheese has melted.

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