Friday, December 16, 2011

Flaming Panela Cheese

When we were in Chicago this past fall we went to a Mexican restaurant right off the Magnificent Mile on west Hubbard called Dos Diablos.

We went there to sip drinks on the patio while we waited for our favorite steak place to open. We ended up having an appetizer that was called Mexican Saganaki. My husband always talks about this how it is popular in Mexico. It is a Mexican cheese, panela, that they pour Mexican brandy and lime on top of and light on fire table side. They serve it with tortillas. The cheese is very nutty and salty, and the little charred pieces are the best. It became my favorite of which I call - flaming cheese.

I bought a package of panela cheese and I sliced it up and put it in a hot pan.

(Don't judge on the ugliness of the pan - we seriously need some new pans)

I cooked it until it was dark on the other side. We prefer it dark. Those crispy, dark brown pieces are the best part.

(If you notice, there are a few little pieces missing now - I felt
those needed to be sampled to ensure quality :)  )

I warmed up some tortillas and would just rip off pieces of tortillas and rip off pieces of cheese and eat it together. Delicious! 

The boys said this is their new favorite thing. Diego thought for sure
God was eating this in heaven right now.

When I went to the store to look for organic panela cheese, I couldn't find it. I then went to the cheese section and looked for the cheese that had the least ingredients. I looked where it was manufactured in, and I based my decision off that. If I can't find organic, then I try to choose the "most natural" product available.

I was recently doing a project for a graduate ethics class and I found an article on the food production outside of the United States. I am going to quote a part of the paper here. If you are interested at all in the quality of our food supply, this is quite interesting.

In an effort to make cheaper and cheaper food, the United States now imports $4.1 billion worth of seafood and agricultural products from China, up from $800 million in 1995. This increase in imports brings along an increased risk as well. For example, five types of fish and shrimp had to be banned in 2007 due to them containing cancer-causing chemicals and antibiotics. With most foods, companies are not required to label where ingredients come from, only where the food was packaged or processed. That means that a food product could have 20 ingredients from 20 different countries, and we would have no idea.
Michael Doyle, the director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia said, “The pet food recall earlier this year from a tainted Chinese ingredient, followed by the seafood ban, has brought renewed attention to our potential issues with our food safety regarding Chinese imported foods. […] The Chinese have a long way to bring their standards up to ours.” The FDA inspects only 1 percent of the imported goods.

Here is the link to the article - Chinese Food Products

It is an interesting article to read concerning our food supply. I am by no means opposed to production overseas, but when it comes to our food supply, the lack of control really scares me.

The point of all this is just to make sure you are thoroughly reading the labels of products that are going directly into our body. We can't sit around moaning and complaining all day about how poorly we feel if we don't understand where our food is coming from and what it is containing.

[1] (Pifer, 2007)
[2] (Pifer, 2007)

1 comment:

  1. I commend you on your recently discovered love affair with cooking--may you live to flame a thousand cheeses!!

    Check the below link for an interesting explanation of Mexican cheese varities.