How to make The Peached Tortilla's kimchi queso
Few Austin food trucks have had the success of The Peached Tortilla, which started as a food truck in 2010 and expanded to a brick-and-mortar restaurant on Burnet Road just a few years later.
Now, Eric Silverstein's popular restaurant concept has several food trucks, a bar, a location in Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, an event space called Peached Social House and, as of next month, a cookbook chronicling his journey from growing up in Japan with a Chinese-American mother and a Jewish-American father to becoming a business owner in Texas, where he is raising his own family.
In addition to stories about the highs and lows of starting a food truck and expanding the business, Silverstein shares plenty of recipes; some are dishes served at the restaurant and others are inspired by Silverstein's family favorites. He recommends tools that will make it easier to prepare any number of Asian or Asian-fusion dishes, including the ever-popular Benriner mandoline, and pantry staples, such as nori, mirin, oyster sauce, hoisin, gochujang and kochukaru flakes.
The book comes out officially on May 7, but last week, Silverstein joined me on the Austin360 Facebook page to demonstrate how to make one of the restaurant's most popular dishes: kimchi queso. You can find the video at Facebook.com/Austin360.
BookPeople will host a book signing at 7 p.m. May 7 that will feature tacos and kimchi arancini balls from the food truck that started it all. That's also the day that the restaurant is launching a cookbook prix fixe menu featuring dishes whose recipes are in the book. From May 7 to May 12 during dinner service, you can pay $27 for a three-course sampler of established menu items and some new dishes straight from the cookbook.
Chips and queso shape and define the food scene in Austin. They are right up there with barbecue, which is saying a lot, considering that Texas is the barbecue capital of the world. Tex-Mex joints have proliferated in the Austin restaurant scene, and each has its own play on chips and queso. Here's our riff. If you have leftover queso, you can always cook some macaroni shells and toss them in the queso that you've heated up. You'll have kimchi mac and cheese in no time. Top the mac and cheese with some fried shallots or panko for crunch.
— Eric Silverstein
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon flour
2 cups milk
1 pound Velveeta (cut into cubes) or American cheese (shredded)
1/2 cup pureed whole napa kimchi plus 1/2 cup whole
1/3 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon kochukaru flakes
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
1/3 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
1/3 cup Cotija cheese, for garnish
Tortilla chips, for serving
In a medium pot, melt the unsalted butter over low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the flour to make a roux. Cook the roux for another 4 to 5 minutes until you start to smell a nutty aroma. The roux will start to turn a slight off-white. Turn the heat up to medium and whisk the milk into the roux. Simmer the mixture until the milk thickens. This should take about 5 minutes. Constantly stir the mixture to ensure you do not scald the milk.
Add the cheese and simmer the mixture until the cheese melts and is fully incorporated. Once the cheese is fully melted, whisk in the pureed kimchi, white pepper, kochukaru flakes, cilantro, green onions and salt.
Garnish the queso with any extra cilantro, Cotija cheese and kimchi, and serve it with your favorite tortilla chips. Serves 6 to 8.
— From "The Peached Tortilla: Modern Asian Comfort Food from Tokyo to Texas" by Eric Silverstein (Sterling Epicure, $27.95)