Saturday, November 29, 2008

Recipe: Quesadillas

In a small town in central Mexico, Rosarita, an old woman who is descended from a long line of expert tortilla makers, grinds tortilla corn on her matate early in the morning, as her family sleeps. By the time the rooster has finally crowed, she has made 7,200 tortillas--all hand-formed, organic, fair-trade, and effusive of the culture of Mexico.

Unfortunately, I've never met this woman. I buy my Monterey Jack cheese at King Soopers, and my white corn tortillas at Costco.

But anyway, this one has become a staple of lunch (and even breakfast) in our busy house. If you have kids, this is (damn near) a sure thing.

  • White corn tortillas
  • Cheese of your choosing
Heat cast iron skillet or cast iron griddle on medium heat until hot. Surface should not be smoking. Lightly oil the surface, and then put down as many tortillas as you are cooking. Cook on one side for 1-2 minutes (until some bubbling occurs), and then flip and add cheese to one half of the second side. Fold tortilla over to enclose the cheese, and continue cooking on alternate sides until golden brown and filled with melted cheese.

These are pretty hard to screw up.

Add any number of extra goodies, including (combinations of):
  • Avocado
  • Tomato
  • Sliced scallions
  • Black olives
  • Meat
  • Fried rice
  • Pinto beans
  • Black beans

Recipe: Sauteed Greens

When it comes to tender greens, my preference is to saute them with garlic rather than simply boil them. Why?

They taste better.

This goes for young/baby spinach, bok choi, chard, and mustard greens. For your hardier greens such as kale, collards, or mature spinach, boiling is often preferred to allow time to soften the greens and in some cases remove some of the bitterness. Of course, you can always boil, drain, and then saute the hardier stuff.

  • A bunch of greens, washed and prepared (if necessary)
  • Some thinly sliced onions (if desired)
  • A few cloves of fresh garlic, pressed
  • Oil
  • Dry white wine
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Heat cast iron skillet or dutch oven (depending on the amount of greens) on medium high heat until just smoking. Add a tablespoon or two of oil (can be canola, or you can add flavor with oils such as olive, sesame, chili, etc.). Toss in the onions and greens, and cover.

Cook on medium high heat, turning and flipping every 15-20 seconds to avoid burning the stuff on the bottom. Once the greens are almost done (pretty well wilted, but with some life left), add salt & pepper (to taste), and the garlic. Cook the garlic for 1-2 minutes, and then add a splash of white wine (such as Chardonnay). Mix it all around for another minute to meld flavors, and serve immediately.