Fab Frugal Friday: Queso Fresco & Creme Fraiche

Creme fraiche and queso fresco are two ingredients you might encounter in your recipe travels that, while great additions to your cooking, can be pricy and/or just plain hard to find, depending on where you live.  Fortunately, there are easy and thrifty ways to make each of these at home!

First up, queso fresco, Spanish for (I’ll bet you can guess) . . . “fresh cheese”. It’s a simple, mild, slightly salty, crumbly cow’s cheese. Comparable to ricotta salata or feta, but without the tang of the sheep’s cheese and not quite as salty as the latter. It’s a great addition to a lot of Latino and Southwestern fare. All you need to make a close facsimile at home is . . . Cottage cheese!

All you need to do is 1. Rinse it and strain it in a mesh sieve . . .

Cottage Queso

Cottage Queso

. . . let dry a bit, and then 2. Mash it with a fork.

DONE! Throw it on top of a tostada, add it to your tamales fillings, use it in burritos and enchiladas, whatever you fancy.

Next, creme fraiche, translated as . . . you guessed it, “fresh cream”. There are two ways to go about this. I don’t have any photos of either, but they’re both straightforward enough to visualize: Method one: Take 1 cup heavy cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Shake and then let sit  for 12 – 24 hours until it thickens (depending on the temperature), then refrigerate until needed. Method two: half a cup of heavy cream, half a cup of sour cream. Mix thoroughly and you’re ready to go! Voila.

— posted by Anne

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