Cooking With Linda Ronstadt!
This is seriously the most exciting “52 In 22” cooking challenge this entire year – because I am cooking the iconic Singer Linda Ronstadt’s childhood food!
This brand new book is a “must buy” – as the publishers says:
“In Feels Like Home, Grammy award-winning singer Linda Ronstadt effortlessly evokes the magical panorama of the Sonoran borderlands, a landscape etched by sunlight and carved by wind, offering a personal tour of the place where she came of age, built around meals and memories. Following her best-selling musical memoir, Simple Dreams, this book seamlessly braids together Ronstadt’s recollections of people and their passions in a region little understood in the rest of the United States.”
And that means one of the most under-utilized cheeses of all: QUESO!
Outside of being used in bars as a creamy tortilla dip, I don’t see it in recipe. But here is how this unique cheese is described:
“Queso fresco”, “fresh cheese”, is white, mild and easily crumbled. It won’t melt away to goo in your Sonoran cheese soup. That soup is best made with Sonora’s local cheese – queso regional de Sonora – but queso fresco will do.”
Here’s a bit of an explainer about what we are up to with today’s recipe:
Here are the ingredients for Linda’s “Sonoran Queso Soup”:
3 tbl vegetable oil
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium white onion, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
5 green Anaheim chiles – also called New Mexico chiles or California chiles
1 tsp salt or to taste
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
8 oz. queso fresco, cut into small cubes
Chiltepin chiles for garnish
I have my potatoes and onions ready to cook. In a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
As always, dice and chop all of your ingredients before you begin and it’s a simple and fast recipe:
Add the potatoes and onion to the oil and cook until the onion is soft, about 4 minutes.
Add the tomato, chiles and salt and cook five more minutes. I like to have Linda’s music on while I stir the ingredients…”You’re No Good” is a classic that I hope doesn’t describe the finished product…
Add the broth and simmer until the potatoes are soft, then turn heat to low and slowly add the milk. I always take it slow and easy when cooking with milk to avoid curdling it…that’s all there is to it!
Now, let’s stir this dish together:
This is so easy to serve: just put a few cubes of the queso fresco cheese into the bottom of each empty bowl then pour the soup over them.
Let’s do this!
A Simple Yet Delicious Taste Of Sonora!
This is a beautiful dish: light but hearty, with Sonoran flavors…as the book says:
“Sonoran home cook Armida says the old-fashioned way to make the soup is to stir all the cheese into the soup first, then add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot with warm flour tortillas.”
As you can see, the cheese does indeed stay whole, but it warms and softens in the soup…
Linda Ronstadt’s book is filled with terrific memories of growing up in the Southwest US. She listened to Mexican music growing up.
Here is some of the traditional music that Linda released – at the time the biggest selling traditional Mexican music ever released in the US!
Linda Ronstadt and Mariachi Vargas perform La Charreada live.
There is a great documentary about her life, and you can see the trailer and much more by clicking on my story here:
And did you know that the best-selling group Eagles were, before they formed, Linda’s backup band?
She writes about meeting the boys, and how she encouraged them to go off and make their own music…read the story she tells about the early days of The Eagles by clicking on my story here:
Since we are in a musical mood – “a cappella” is singing with no instruments. So why not cook up a “capela?”
This was week #48 in my yearlong “52 In 22” cooking challenge, and I have tried to make a wide variety of dishes that touch on unique flavors and cultures:
This Malaysian “Capela” Meatloaf was courtesy of the brilliant Fat Rice Cookbook – see the recipe that you will want to make by clicking on my story:
And for those of you who are fans of “The White Lotus” on HBO, my wife and I had a wine tasting last summer at the exact same winery that was featured in this week’s episode!
Planeta Winery had terrific wine – and I made one of the island’s signature dishes to show my appreciation – here’s a link to the winery and a recipe for a “Cassatedde!”
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