Dreaming of Cali

Real California Milk Will Have You Saying: More Cheese, Please!

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May 2021 Issue
by Lindsay Gifford
Recipes, Photography and Information by Real California Milk

Each year when May blooms, a new energy seems to arise. A month chock-full of celebrations, May brings with it Mother’s Day, graduations, Cinco de Mayo, and Memorial Day. All of which call for food festivities. This month we have delicious recipes for every occasion. Whether you’re putting together a beautiful cheese board, or looking for that elusive perfect melted cheese pull, Real California Milk has you covered and smothered in yummy, cheesy ooey-gooeyness.

Are you already Dreaming of Cali—sand, sun, fun, Hollywood, wine country and… cows? Yep, that’s right. The Golden State has a dairy state of mind. In fact, it leads the nation in dairy production and is a world leader in sustainable dairy farming practices. Even more impressive, of the more than 1,200 California dairy farms, 99 percent are family-owned. California accounts for 18.5 percent of the United States’ milk supply (more than 39 billion pounds of fluid milk a year), and over 46 percent of California’s milk goes into cheese production.

California’s cheese industry developed hand-in-hand with the state’s well-known wine industry—a match made in heaven, California boasts a 200-plus year heritage of cheesemaking. Like California wines, Real California Milk Cheeses are made with pride by local and regional makers, who offer a range of delicious, authentic and versatile cheeses, ideal for pairing with California wines—with the key ingredient being Real California Milk, of course. Today, more than 50 cheesemakers make nearly 250 varieties of cow’s milk cheeses, and they all carry the Real California Milk seal. And, these delicious cheeses can be found on shelves right here on the east coast, just waiting to bring all your ooey-gooey, cheesy dreams to fruition.

The California Milk Advisory Board works hard to help consumers see the wonderful world of the dairy farmers. Their Website, www.RealCaliforniaMilk.com, offers an informative, behind-the-scenes view into the belly of the businesses. Pull your boots on and take a stroll through a California dairy farm, and enjoy their cowology, which shows the ins and outs of the California dairy cows, what they eat and where the milk goes after it leaves the cow. They bring the passion of the dairy farmers not only for their trade, but also for their animals to the forefront through documentaries, education and so much more. Plus, we all benefit from their huge portfolio of mouth-watering recipes and amazing cheese board tips!

So, look for the seal—Real California Milk—and feel good knowing that if the product is certified as having been made with 100% Real California Milk, it came from a California dairy farm family, working hard just like yours. Enjoy all the wonderful celebrations in May and the kick off of summer with delicious dishes that will have you cheesin'.

Brunch Board Inspiration
Beautiful and bountiful, a brunch board is a great option to enjoy with family and friends. This board is inspired by Mother’s Day brunch and is built with the following recipes and ingredients:
Waffle Sticks*RCM0521 board
Honey Orange Butter*
Egg & California Cheese Tortilla Cups*
Super Berry Smoothie Shots*
Real California Yogurt
Real California Breakfast Cheese
Real California Cheddar
Real California Monterey Jack
Real California Pepper Jack
Real California Cream Cheese and Herbs
Assorted Jams
Strawberries, Blueberries & Nectarines
*Find these recipes online at www.realcaliforniamilk.com or click the links above

Fluffy CA Cottage Cheese Biscuits

Makes 12 biscuits

RCM0521 biscuit8 oz (approx. 2 cups) self-rising flour, plus more for dusting
2 tsps Sugar
1/4 tsp Baking soda
1/8 tsp Salt
3/4 cup California cottage cheese, pureed until smooth
1/2 cup California heavy cream
1 Tbsp California unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400°. Put flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Sift with a fork. Make a well in the center of the flour, set aside. In a separate bowl add cottage cheese and cream, whisk until combined. Pour the cream mixture into the flour well. Stir with a large rubber spatula just until the dough comes together (it should be a bit sticky).

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Top dough with a little flour. With floured hands, gently pat out dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Fold dough in half. Pat out again to 3/4-inch thickness. Do not overwork the dough. Using a 2.5-inch round floured cutter, cut out biscuits. Do not twist cutter. Transfer biscuits to an ungreased baking sheet. Bake the biscuits on the top rack of the oven until light golden brown, rotating the tray once half way through for a total of approximately 14 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven, brush tops with melted butter. Serve warm.


Savory Cottage Cheese Parfait
Prep time: 10 minutes | Serves: 2
 RCM0521 parfait
1 cup Real California Cottage
Cheese (4% milkfat)
1/4 cup English cucumber, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
2 Tbsps Pine nuts, toasted
Extra virgin olive oil
Coarse black pepper

In a parfait glass, layer one quarter of the cottage cheese, cucumber, olives and pine nuts, repeating with another layer of the same (pine nuts on top). Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse ground pepper. Repeat process for second parfait.

Elote en Vaso (Street Corn in a Glass)

Serves 4-6
RCM0521 elote
2 Tbsps Real California butter
4 cups White or yellow corn (fresh or frozen)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Real California crema Mexicana
1/4 cup mayonnaise


Chili-lime powder
Cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Real California cotija cheese, crumbled and divided
Lime juice

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add corn and cook until heated through, about 7 minutes. Season with salt; stir frequently. Whisk together crema and mayonnaise in a separate medium bowl; set aside. Place 1/2 cup corn in a serving cup, add a layer of 2 Tbsps mayonnaise/crema, and top with another 1/2 cup of corn. Top with 1 Tbsp mayonnaise/crema mixture, a sprinkle of chili-lime powder, cilantro, 1 Tbsp cotija cheese, and lime juice. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Banana Split'Wich
Prep time: 45 mins, plus freezing time | Cook time: 15 mins  |  Makes 12-16
RCM0521 brownies
2 boxes Brownie mix (to make two 8-by-8- or 9-by-9-inch pans of brownies), plus 2 times mix-in ingredients from box directions
3 ripe Bananas, peeled and sliced
3 cups Real California vanilla ice cream, softened
1 (21 oz) can Cherry pie filling
1 cup Roasted peanuts, chopped

Preheat oven 25°F higher than brownie mix instructions. Line two 9-by-13-inch baking pans with parchment or foil and oil parchment or foil. Make brownie batter according to package directions. Divide batter between prepared pans, spreading each into a thin, even layer. Bake both until a tester comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes or 1/3 to 1/2 of suggested cooking time. Set aside and allow to cool completely. Remove brownies from pans and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

Re-line one baking pan with plastic wrap, extending beyond edges of all 4 sides. Arrange one brownie in the pan top side down. Top with bananas, arranging slices in an even layer (you may not need them all). Top with ice cream, spreading it into an even layer. Top with cherry pie filling, spreading it into an even layer. Top with remaining brownie, top side up. Seal tightly with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or overnight. Arrange peanuts on a small plate. Use plastic wrap to remove uncut ice cream sandwiches from pan. Cut into squares and press the two edges of each sandwich into the peanuts. Serve immediately or refreeze until ready to serve.

Tip: It helps to prep all your ingredients in advance, get all your utensils within reach, and make room in the freezer before you start assembling the sandwiches—so that once you do, you can work quickly.

RCM0521 pannacotta
ttage Cheese Panna Cotta
Serves 4

Salted Caramel:
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Tbsps Water
1/2 cup California heavy cream, room temp
1/4 tsp Salt
Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta:
11/4 tsps Unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup Sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup California heavy cream
1/2 cup California cottage cheese, pureed smooth
1/2 Vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
Dark Chocolate-Almond Ganache:
4 oz 60% cacao bittersweet dark chocolate chips
2/3 cup California heavy cream
1/2 tsp Coffee extract or liqueur
1/2 tsp Almond extract or liqueur
Pinch of Salt

Optional Garnish:
Whipped cream
Maldon salt
Dark chocolate, shaved
Almonds, toasted

Add sugar and water to a large heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Swirl pan until a clear syrup forms. Once liquefied, turn heat up to high and cook until syrup turns a rich amber color approx. 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat. Carefully add cream then stir in salt. Continue stirring until a glossy caramel forms. Cool slightly then pour through a mesh strainer into a glass measuring cup. Set aside. Sprinkle gelatin over condensed milk, let stand 5 minutes to soften.
Bring heavy cream to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cottage cheese puree, vanilla seeds, and condensed milk until well combined. Cook until gelatin dissolves approx. 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, cool slightly, pour into another glass measuring cup.
Divide cooled caramel among 4 (4 oz) ramekins or glass jars, refrigerate for 10 minutes, next top caramel with equally divided panna cotta mixture. Refrigerate for one hour. Put chocolate in a medium mixing bowl. Bring heavy cream to a boil in a sauce pan. Pour hot cream over chocolate. Whisk in coffee and almond extracts until mixture is smooth and all the chocolate is melted. Once panna cotta sets, top with chocolate ganache. Return to refrigerator, chill for 2-3 hours. Garnish with optional whipped cream, Maldon salt, chocolate shavings and
toasted almonds.


Churro Bowl with Mexican Hot Fudge
Serves 4
RCM0521 churro
Churro Bowl:
4 Tbsp unsalted Real
California butter
1 cup Water
3/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pure vanilla extract
1 cup All purpose flour
¼ tsp Cinnamon
3 large Eggs
Vegetable oil, for frying

Cinnamon sugar:
1/3 cup Sugar
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
Mexican Hot Fudge:
8 oz Semi sweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup Real California heavy cream
2 Tbsp Real California butter
2 Tbsp Drip coffee
½ tsp Ground cinnamon
1 tsp Pure vanilla extract
1½ quarts vanilla bean Real California
ice cream, for serving

For the churro bowls: Add butter, water, salt, and vanilla to a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Stir until butter is melted. Once butter is melted and water is boiling, quickly stir in the flour and cinnamon. Turn to medium heat and stir for about 3 minutes, until the dough comes together and looks smooth. Remove from heat until dough is cool, about 5 minutes. Transfer dough to a bowl of a standing mixer outfitted with a paddle. Turn mixer on and add the eggs, one at a time. The dough should look smooth after the last egg is added. Add dough to a large pastry bag with a large star tip. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick spray. Pipe the batter in a spiral around the muffin tins to create a bowl. Place in freezer for at least 4 hours to freeze.

Heat 3 inches of oil in a high sided skillet to 375 degrees. Carefully remove the bowls one at a time from the muffin tin using an offset spatula or a paring knife. Fry 4 minutes with the open part of the bowl facing up and then flipping so there is a floating dome for an additional 2 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined sheet tray and gently roll hot churro bowls in cinnamon sugar and sprinkle additional if desired. Continue with remaining bowls.

For the Mexican hot fudge: Combine heavy cream, butter, coffee, cinnamon and vanilla in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.

To assemble: Add a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream to the churro bowl and drizzle with hot fudge. Enjoy!


Costa Rican Inspired Stuffed Peppers
Prep time: 25 mins | Cook time: About 1 hour | Serves: 4
RCM0521 peppers
4 Red bell peppers 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp Vegetable oil, divided
1 tsp Garlic salt 1 cup White onion, 1/4-inch diced (about 1 medium)
1 tsp Black pepper 4 cups (1 lb.) Cremini or brown mushrooms, 1/4-inch diced
1 cup shredded Oaxaca cheese Cooked white rice, for serving

Preheat oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, rub bell peppers with 1 tablespoon oil, then use a grill, broiler, or gas stovetop burner to cook peppers, turning occasionally, until well charred, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and set aside until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.

While peppers are cooling, in a very large skillet over medium heat, warm 1/2 cup oil. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic salt, and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned and liquid is almost entirely evaporated, 7 to 10 minutes.

Rub charred skin from bell peppers. Slice off tops and remove seeds. Fill bell peppers with mushroom mixture, top with cheese, and arrange in a baking dish. Replace bell pepper tops and bake until cheese melts, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve with rice.

Chilean-Style Crab Chupe

Prep time: 25 mins | Cook time: 40 mins | Serves 8-12
RCM0521 crabdip
4 1/2 cups Sourdough bread, crusts removed, 1/2-inch dice (about 1/2 lb. loaf)
1 1/2 cups Real California Mexican crema
1/2 cup (1 stick) Real California butter
4 cups White onions, 1/4-inch diced (about 2 med.)
1 1/2 lbs. cooked Crabmeat
1/2 cup Real California whole milk
1/2 tsp Salt, or more to taste
1/2 tsp Pepper, or more to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded Real California Hispanic-Style Manchego cheese
3/4 cup Real California cotija cheese, crumbled
Sliced bread, for serving

Arrange a rack about 6 inches from the heating element and preheat the broiler. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine bread and crema, mixing to coat evenly. Set aside. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and cook, stirring, until translucent, 10 to 12 minutes. Add bread mixture, crab, milk, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add Manchego cheese and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is very thick and liquid has absorbed, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a 2- to 3-quart casserole or baking dish, sprinkle with cotija cheese, and broil until top is browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve warm, with sliced bread for dipping.


Sopa Seca de Fideo (Mexican-style Pasta)
Serves: 4
RCM0521 spaghettipie
2 Tbsps Olive oil 1/2 lb. dried Fideo pasta
1 tsp Salt Real California crema Mexicana
1/2 tsp Black pepper 1/3 cup White onion, chopped
Cilantro, chopped 1 Garlic clove, finely chopped
1 Avocado, diced 1 tsp dried Oregano, crushed
4 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
Real California queso fresco, crumbled, to taste

Heat oil in a 5-quart saucepan over low-medium heat. Add fideo pasta and stir constantly until pasta is golden; do not burn. Remove from heat and transfer to a separate dish. Set aside. Add tomatoes and 1 cup water to a blender container and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Return saucepan to medium heat, sauté onion and garlic until tender, about 1 minute. Add tomato mixture, oregano, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Add fried fideo pasta, reduce heat to low; simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid has been soaked up. Sprinkle with queso fresco and drizzle with crema. Top with avocado and chopped cilantro.

California Fish & Queso Fresco Tacos

For the tacos: Salt and pepper, to tasteRCM0521 tacos
Vegetable oil
1/2 tsp ground Cumin
1 Tbsp Lime juice
1 cup red Cabbage, shredded
12 Corn tortillas
2 medium ripe Tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 lbs Swordfish or other whitefish steaks or fillets
6 oz Real California Queso Fresco cheese*, crumbled (*can substitute Asadero or Monterey Jack)

Avocado Radish Salsa:

Juice of 1 Lime
2 medium Avocados, chopped
3/4 cup Radish, diced
1/3 cup Onion, finely chopped
1clove Garlic, finely chopped
3 Tbsps Cilantro, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
5 Serrano chili peppers, seeded and finely chopped

Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. Rub oil on both sides to coat; season with salt and pepper. Grill or broil fish 6 to 9 minutes, until cooked through, cool slightly. Remove skin and bones; cut fish into 11/2-inch strips. In medium bowl, toss fish with lime juice and cumin. Meanwhile, combine salsa ingredients in small bowl. Warm tortillas in microwave or oven (preheated to about 275°F). Place equal amounts of fish, cheese, tomatoes, cabbage and salsa in the center of each tortilla. Roll up the tacos to serve.

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