For about 20 years, we’ve been making a tamale pie out of the cookbook, Tofu Cookery, but recently it occurred to me that this time of year we could make our own version of this recipe using produce straight from our garden and substituting our own queso blanco for the tofu.
First, make a batch of queso blanco with a gallon of milk and cut it into cubes. One-inch cubes will be chewier; half-inch cubes will be crunchier. Brown the cubes in a couple tablespoons of oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Queso blanco is a cheese made without rennet, so it doesn’t melt. That means it will hold its shape during browning.
Add the following fresh produce to the skillet or wok:
4 large or 6 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 ears of corn, corn cut from cobs using a mandoline
1 jalapeño or banana pepper, chopped
Stir-fry for five to ten minutes until vegetables are slightly browned and there is no excess water in the pan. Feel free to add more or less of the vegetables, based upon personal preference and what is in the garden.
Pour mixture into a 9 X 13 baking dish and cover with cornbread mix:
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
Spread cornbread mix over the top of the vegetables and queso blanco. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until cornbread is done.