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Queso Flameado w/ Shrimp & Salsa Ranchera {she made, ella hace}

It's that time again!  Time for me to hang out in the kitchen with one of my favorite amigas, Leslie for she made, ella hace!  This month has flown by so quickly, but we didn't want it to pass us by completely.  Our theme for this month is shrimp.

When I told mi esposo what I was making today, he laughed so hard that tears were threatening to burst from the corners of his eyes.  Ummmm....

I was all like: "What!?"
Him, between fits:  "In Mexico, we call this {sticking his butt out and making a forceful whooshing sound} flameado!"
Me: "Nuh-uh!  Bwaa haaa haaa haaa!"

He told me more.  We laughed harder.  We are twelve-year olds.
And then I got back to the matter at hand, which was melting cheese, piling a steaming mound of salsa-bathed shrimp in the center of it, and subsequently lighting it on fire.  It was ridiculous.  I mean, come on.  A skillet full of bubbly, melty cheese that I can spoon onto a warm tortilla.  Shrimp in a spicy bath of charred veggies that pops between my teeth releasing an explosion of smoky delight.  Oh, and there's tequila involved.

It doesn't get much better than that.

Well, maybe Leslie's Tequila-Lime Shrimp Tacos.  I say one for brunch... and one for lupper.

Queso Flameado w/ Shrimp & Salsa Ranchera

by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: bake broil appetizer cheese vegetarian cheese chiles shrimp tomatoes Super Bowl tailgating American

Ingredients (serves 4)
    for the Salsa Ranchera:
    • 2 jalapeños, stemmed
    • 3 fat cloves garlic, peeled
    • 1 small yellow onion, peeled & quartered
    • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes w/ their juices
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. smoked sea salt
    • small handful cilantro
    for the shrimp and marinade:
    • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled & deveined
    • 2 tsp. olive oil
    • 2 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 1/4 tsp. smoked sea salt
    • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
    • 1 fat clove garlic, minced
    for the queso flameado:
    • 16 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
    • 1 Tbs. Casa Noble Tequila (or another good tequila)
    to serve:
    • warm tortillas (corn or flour)
    make the salsa:
    Preheat your broiler and set a sheet of foil under it. Set the jalapeños, garlic, and onion on the foil and broil until charred, turning to get all sides, 8-10 minutes. You may need to pull the garlic cloves out earlier, you don't want them to burn. Place the charred veggies into the jar of a blender along with the rest of the salsa ingredients. Pulse to combine; salsa will be somewhat chunky...more like, textured...not completely smooth. Set aside.
    for the queso and shrimp:
    Preheat the oven to 350° F.

    Place the shrimp in a small bowl or baggie along with all of the marinade ingredients. Set aside for 15 minutes or so.

    Spray an 8-inch cast-iron skillet (or casserole dish that is about the same size) with cooking spray. Set the shredded cheese in the skillet - it will be a big heap, that's okay. Slide into preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until melted and bubbling around the edges.

    While the cheese is melting, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and pour the shrimp (garlic and liquid and all) into the hot skillet. Saute until pink and cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Add the reserved salsa and cook until heated through, another minute or two.

    Remove the cheese from the oven and pour the shrimp and salsa mixture directly onto the center of the cheese.

    Pour the tequila around the outside onto the exposed cheese and very carefully light with a long match. The alcohol will burn off in the fire...and it makes quite a show, so make sure there's people around to see it!

    Serve immediately by spooning it into warm tortillas.

    You can make this without flaming the tequila at the end, if you choose... either leave it out completely or stir it into the shrimp with the salsa.

    inspired by and adapted from Homesick Texan
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    What happens when two American girls who are both married to Mexican guys find out that although one of them lives in the U.S. and one of them lives in Mexico, they both love eating the same food?  Well, naturally they decide to get "together" the only way they can and cook up the same dishes.  Or perhaps take the same ingredients and talking about them in their own voice or using them in their own way. 

    Leslie and I have teamed up to occasionally cook/bake/make a our own versions of the same food.  We want to see how similar (or how different) they turn out.  Other times we will pick an ingredient and use it however we choose...or maybe just talk about it.  Good food knows no borders and we hope to share the food we love with you.  It's not a competition, it's a showcase.  We will post on the same day as each other and would love to hear your thoughts on what we've made and how you make it. 

    Join me (here at girlichef) and Leslie in her kitchen (at La Cocina de Leslie) for some delicious food.
    She Made, Ella Hace Banner- and