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Ecuadorian Potato Cakes (Llapingachos)

Ingredients (Potato Pancakes):

  • 6 medium potatoes, such as Yukon gold, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 packet Sazon with coriander and annatto
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Tropical Queso Ecuatoriano
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Ingredients (Fresh Salsa):

  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup prepared Peanut Sauce

Prepare Potato Pancakes:
Fill large saucepan ¾ full of water. Add potatoes; over high heat, heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; simmer 15 minutes until potatoes are tender. Drain well. Mash potatoes. You should have about 3 cups.

Meanwhile, in small skillet over medium heat, in 1 tablespoon hot oil, cook onion until just tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. In large bowl combine mashed potatoes, sautéed onion, flour, Sazon, salt and pepper until combined. Stir in shredded Queso until well mixed. Shape ¼ cupful potato mixture into sixteen 3-inch-round patties, each about ½-inch thick.

Prepare Salsa:
In medium bowl combine tomato, red onion, cilantro, olive oil and red wine vinegar to mix well. Set aside.

In 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, in 1tablespoon olive oil, cook half of potato pancakes until well browned on both sides. Remove to plate. Repeat with remaining potato pancakes and olive oil. Serve with fresh salsa and peanut sauce. Makes 16.


Queso de Freir Stuffed with Ropa Vieja

Ingredients (Ropa Vieja):

  • 1 pound flank steak
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • ½ cup sofrito
  • 1 Sazon packet with coriander and annatto
  • ½ cup sliced pimento-stuffed olives
  • ¼ cup capers

Ingredients (Appetizer Cups):

  • 1 16-ounce package Tropical Queso de Freir
  • Vegetable oil For Frying
  • ½ cup Tropical Crema Mexicana
  • 1 tablespoon minced chipotle peppers in adobo
  • Cilantro sprigs for garnish

Prepare Ropa Vieja:
Sprinkle flank steak with salt and pepper; cut steak into 4” by 3” pieces. In 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, in 1 tablespoon hot oil, brown beef on both sides; remove to plate. In drippings remaining in saucepan over medium heat, in remaining tablespoon oil, cook onion, pepper and garlic, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add water, tomato sauce, sofrito and sazon and flank steak. Over high heat, heat mixture to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in olives and capers. Simmer 1 hour longer or until meat shreds easily with a fork, adding more water if necessary. Remove meat to large plate. Shred with 2 forks; return to saucepan.

Prepare Appetizer Cups:
Place Queso Freir on cutting board. Cut into 16 equal cubes, each about 1 ¼ by 1/1/4-inches. With small melon baller or scoop, cut a small scoop out of each square of cheese. Heat 2 inches oil to 350°F. in deep-fryer or in deep saucepan. Fry cheese cubes about 2 minutes or until browned. With slotted spoon, remove to paper towel lined plate.

In small bowl combine crema and chipotle peppers to mix well.
To serve, place appetizer cups on serving platter. Fill with Ropa Vieja. Drizzle with Chipotle Crema. Garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serves 8.


Southwestern Oaxaca Egg Rolls

Ingredients (Filling):

  • 3 Tropical Mexican Chorizos (Or your favorite Tropical chorizo)
  • 1 cup canned sweet corn
  • 1 cup canned black beans
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded Tropical Oaxaca cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Tropical Queso Fresco
  • ¼ cup sliced scallions
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 16 egg roll wraps
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Ingredients (Avocado Crema):

  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and well mashed
  • ½ cup Tropical Crema Mexicana
  • 1 ounce package dry Ranch dressing and salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Remove casing from chorizos; crumble chorizo. In 10-inch skillet over medium heat, cook chorizo until well browned and cooked through on all sides, stirring frequently. Remove to bowl. Add corn, black beans, Qaxaca, Queso Fresco, scallions and cilantro. Toss to mix well.

Place one egg roll wrap on work surface. Top with ¼ cup black bean filling. Fold bottom corner over filling, then fold in side corners. Brush top with water and roll up wrap tightly to enclose filling, sealing roll with top flap. Repeat with remaining filling and wraps. Place end-side down on large greased cookie sheet.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush rolls lightly with olive oil. Bake rolls about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare Avocado Crema: In small bowl, combine mashed avocado, Crema, ranch dressing and cilantro to mix well. Serve rolls with Avocado Crema. Makes 16 egg rolls.


Salvadoran Quesadilla


  • ¼ cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup Tropical Crema Centroamericana
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces Tropical Fresco Centroamericano, shredded (2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350°F. In large bowl with mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add eggs, milk, and crema; beat until well blended.

In small bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Beat into egg mixture until well blended. Stir in shredded Queso Fresco until blended.

Grease two 8-inch round pans. Spoon batter into pans. Sprinkle top of each loaf with sesame seeds. Bake 40 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 2.


Salvadoran Enchilada

Ingredients (Enchiladas):

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 small/mini corn tortillas (about 5 inches)
  • 1 cup refried beans, warmed
  • 1 ½ cups Tropical Queso Fresco Centroamericano, crumbled
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced

Ingredients (Spicy Crema):

  • ½ cup Tropical Crema Centroamericana
  • ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce or to taste

In large skillet over medium heat-high heat, in hot oil, cook tortillas until well browned and crisp on both sides, turning once.

On each tortilla, spread ¼ cup refried beans. Top each with1/4 cup Queso Fresco and sliced tomatoes; top with sliced avocado and eggs.

In small bowl combine crema and hot pepper sauce until well blended. Top each tortilla with a dollop of spicy crema. Serve with additional Queso Fresco and spicy crema. Serves 4.


Queso Fresco Ravioli


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups finely crumbled Tropical Queso Fresco, divided
  • 1 cup thawed frozen chopped spinach, well drained
  • 1/4 cup grated Tropical Cotija cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces prepared/store-bought Fresh Pasta Sheets
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 8 Fresh Sage Leaves plus more for garnish

In 10-inch skillet over medium heat, in hot oil, cook onion until just tender, about 5 minutes. In medium bowl combine cooked onion, 1 ½ cups Queso Fresco, spinach, egg, Cotija and salt to mix well.

Place fresh pasta sheets on lightly floured work surface. With knife, cut into 2-inch by 2-inch squares. Top half of pasta squares each with heaping teaspoonful of spinach mixture; place a pasta square on filling mixture. With hands, press edges together to seal closed. Repeat with remaining mixture. Set aside.

Heat large saucepot of salted water to boiling. Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter with 4 sage leaves; set aside. Carefully add ravioli to boiling water. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until ravioli float and are cooked through. With slotted spoon, remove ravioli from water, draining well. Place half of ravioli in skillet with butter and sage. Toss to coat well. Cook 3 minutes until lightly browned, turning once. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Garnish with additional sage leaves. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup Queso Fresco. Serve immediately. Serves 4.


Apple-Raspberry Crostata

Ingredients (Crust):

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

Ingredients (Filling):

  • 1 cup crumbled Tropical Queso Fresco
  • 1/4 cup Tropical Crema Mexicana
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Ingredients (Topping):

  • 1 medium red apple, such as Gala, cored and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Prepare Crust:
In large bowl combine flour, sugar and salt; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cold water; knead until mixture is smooth. Refrigerate dough about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare filling: In blender or food processor combine Queso Fresco, crema, sugar, flour, egg, vanilla and cinnamon. Blend until mixture is smooth and creamy.

Preheat oven to 400°F. On parchment paper, roll out dough to a 10-inch circle. Spoon cheese mixture into center of dough to 2 inches from edge. Fold sides over to enclose cheese filling. Arrange apple slices in concentric circle in center of tart. Sprinkle with raspberries. Brush outside of crust with beaten egg. Bake 30 minutes or until crust is crowned and crisp. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Serves 8.


Stuffed Avocado with Chorizo and Queso Fresco


  • 3 large ripe avocados
  • ¾ cup crumbled Tropical Queso Fresco, divided
  • 2 Tropical chorizo Mexicano (Or your favorite Tropical Chorizo)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sliced scallions or chives
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Tropical Crema Mexicana

Cut each avocado in half; remove pits. Scoop out some avocado to make a large hole. Spoon ¼ cup Queso Fresco inside avocado halves. Set aside.

Remove casings from chorizos; crumble chorizo. In 10-inch skillet over medium heat, cook crumbled chorizo until well browned, stirring frequently. Remove to plate.

In large bowl beat eggs with salt. In same skillet over medium heat, in hot butter or oil, scramble eggs, stirring until cooked through. Spoon into avocado halves with chorizo and Queso Fresco. Serve with pico de gallo and crema.

Makes 6 avocado halves.


Freir Fruit Skewers


  • 4 wooden skewers, about 6 inches long
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1 10-ounce package Tropical Queso de Freir
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup watermelon chunks
  • Fresh Mint Leaves
  • Mint Sprigs for Garnish

Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes. In large bowl combine honey, chopped mint, orange juice and orange peel. Cut Queso de Freir into 1-inch chunks. Place in honey mixture with pineapple and watermelon chunks. Toss to mix well.

Preheat grill or broiler. Skewer Queso de Freir, pineapple, watermelon chunks and mint leaves. Grill skewers until cheese is golden, turning once. Brush with remaining honey mixture. Garnish with mint sprigs. Serves 4.


Freir Corn Fritters


  • 1 8.5-ounce package corn muffin mix
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups shredded Tropical Queso de Freir
  • 1 15.25-ounce can corn, drained
  • ½ cup diced red bell peppers
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives or scallions
  • Vegetable Oil for Frying

In large bowl combine corn muffin mix, milk and egg until just combined. Stir in shredded Queso de Freir, corn, red peppers, salt, cayenne pepper and chives.

In deep-fryer or deep saucepan, heat 2 inches oil to 350°F. Spoon 1 tablespoon mixture into hot oil; cook about 2 minutes or until puffed and golden, turning once. With slotted spoon remove to paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining mixture. Serve immediately. Makes 2 dozen.