Velveeta shortage?

Posted: January 31, 2014

"WHO MOVED my cheese?"

You might hear that question asked more literally in the coming days as Super Bowl game-day cooks fumble through grocery stores searching for America's favorite cheese loaf. Recently, Kraft announced a Velveeta shortage, saying only limited quantities would be available until late February.

Skeptical eyebrows have been raised - on a recent "Daily Show," Jon Stewart noted the strange confluences of a chicken-wing shortage before the 2013 title game and a stripper shortage in Dallas before it hosted the 2011 Super Bowl. More suspicious is that Kraft itself has come up with the term "Cheesepocalypse" to describe the crisis.

The shortage stems from a switch in manufacturing facilities last fall, according to Kraft, which is also dealing with a product recall on its Velveeta Cheesy Skillets Singles - Ultimate Cheeseburger Mac. Some labels for the product failed to mention that it contains soy, a potential allergen.

Calls to supermarket chains around the Philly region found that there is a shortage. But that's not to say that the distinctive golden brick of "pasteurized process cheese spread" can't be found.

"They've been sporadic in filling our one-pound orders," said Nick Sborlini, Acme sales manager for dairy products. "Two-pound loaf, we have plenty. We haven't had any real issues with them. But the one-pounder, it's hit or miss. Sometimes we get it, sometimes we don't."

ShopRite reported no problems keeping shelves stocked.

A Super Bowl party without Velveeta nacho cheese dip is like a halftime show without controversy. But making your own cheese sauce, using actual cheese, is easy.

A classier take on queso, this vegetarian dish also works for meat lovers with the addition of some ground pork or venison.

SOPHISTICATED QUESO

1 cup kale, julienned

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon chile flakes

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

4 cups grated Gruyere

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

4 tablespoons roasted red bell peppers, diced

4 tablespoons roasted garlic

2 tablespoons black olives

2 tablespoons fresh chives, thinly sliced

Clean and trim the kale leaves from the stems before julienning into long, thin strips. Saute the kale in olive oil until just wilted. Season with the chile flakes and nutmeg. Set aside to cool.

In a saucepan, melt Gruyere and 1/2 cup of the heavy cream over low heat. Add the mascarpone next and then a bit more cream. Finish by slowly adding in the rest of cream, blending until all is smooth and incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the prepared kale along with the diced peppers and garlic. Top with black olives and fresh chives. Serves 5.


Source: Chef Jen Williams, Magnolia Cheese Co., Fort Worth, Texas

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila-filled tablespoons is all you need to make your guests melt for your queso. You can keep this queso sidelined as a dip, or roll it in soft tacos for an entree.

TEQUILA-INFUSED QUESO FUNDIDO

8 ounces chorizo (Mexican sausage)

3 tablespoons onion, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces

1 tomato, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

3 tablespoons good-quality silver tequila

1 pound Mexican melting cheese, such as Oaxaca or a blend of Chihuahua, Asadero and Monterey

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the chorizo and onion, stirring to break up the chorizo. Add the tomato and jalapenos next and cook for about 5 minutes while constantly stirring. Add the tequila and stir for another 2 minutes.

Lower the heat and begin to sprinkle the cheese over the combined ingredients. Stir continuously until all the cheese has melted. Do not overcook or the sauce will become tough.

Pour the sauce into a warm dish and sprinkle with oregano and cilantro. Serve immediately. Serves 8-12.


Source: Chef Gabriel DeLeon, Mi Dia From Scratch, Grapevine, Texas

An easy and quick nacho cheese dip.

FABULOUS

FOOTBALL DIP

1 pound sausage

10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

In a large skillet, cook sausage over a medium heat until it is browned and cooked through.

Mix tomatoes and cream cheese into the skillet. Stir and continue cooking the mixture over a medium heat until the cheese has melted. Serves 6.


Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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