Tag Archives: sautee

Quesadillas Six Ways

So as it turns out, it’s your week to host game night at your place. That one house last Tuesday had pizza and the other apartment ordered a thousand wings to feed the masses. Now what? Should you do the same? Make your usual signature green bean casserole? Sure, you could go that route. Nothing wrong with that at all.

But here’s another suggestion that may take the fuss out of feeding a large, diverse crowd: Take a few staple ingredients then prep and separate them into their own serving bowls. Serve these with a choice of whole wheat, flour, and/or spinach tortillas and the possibilities are endless. Almost.

p.s. This is by no means a Mexican recipe; I just borrowed the concept, ya hear!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 lb ground beef, cooked and sauteed with garlic and onions

1 package polksa keilbasa, sliced and cooked until browned

5 cups arugula

1 bunch cilantro

5 tomatoes, diced

4 cups sauteed mushrooms, green peppers, onions

gruyere cheese

cheddar cheese

2 packages of flour tortillas

sour cream

salsa

serves: 4-5

The pairings below are some of my favorites, but feel free to mix it up on your own and use whatever you have on hand.

Pairing 1: Ground beef, Cilantro, Tomatoes, Gruyere and Cheddar

I love cilantro..and I get a little heavy handed with this guy whenever I make my quesadillas. Yumm. A friend of mine, who can’t stand the stuff, likens the taste to soap. Tragic! I say. ‘Tis a wonderful flavor to be likening it to dove.

Pairing 2: Ground beef, Arugula, Tomatoes, Gruyere and Cheddar

Growing up, I didn’t like Arugula. I tried it for the first time when I was 10 years old at a fancy wedding, eating salad comprised of leaves that could have been pulled from my backyard. My suspicions were confirmed when the menu read, Dandelion Salad.

I admit, this first experience deterred me a bit from foraying into different salad greens aside from my beloved hearts of romaine, iceberg and butter lettuce. But I gradually developed a penchant for Arugula’s peppery, spicy taste after having incorporated it into a number of non-salad adventures. That’s another story.

Pairing 3: Polska Keilbasa, Sauteed Mushroom, Green Pepper and Onion, Arugula, Gruyere and Cheddar

Enjoying food is also about enjoying the texture. And I love a bit of crunch in my quesadilla. The green peppers do for me, what pickles do to my sandwich. You see what I just did there?

Use red, green, or yellow peppers. Use turkey sausage or brats. Whatever floats your boat, whatever makes your mouth water…

Pairing 4: Polska Keilbasa, Cilantro, Tomatoes, Gruyere and Cheddar

Here, I like tomatoes because of their acidity. For me, it helps to balance out the smokey, rich flavors of the cheeses and sausage. The cilantro.. we’ve been through this before. We’re in a long-term relationship.

Pairing 5: Polska Keilbasa, Sauteed Mushroom and Green Peppers, Ground Beef, Tomatoes, Gruyere, and Cheddar

See a trend here yet? Pick what you like, assemble, and you’re one step closer to a quesadilla catered to your taste. This could easily be vegetarian friendly if you added a few more ingredients to your options: roasted squash and eggplants, avocado, etc. Slurp.

Pairing 6: Tomatoes, Sauteed Mushrooms and Green Peppers, Ground Beef, Gruyere, and Cheddar

You know what else you can make out of these? Omelets. Yes. I just breakfasted this idea. Seems like I’m always finding ways to make more breakfast food. Including words that don’t exist. Like breakfasted.

Once you’ve made your way down the assembly line, the next step is to arrange your pickins on your tortilla of choice. Use a frying pan large enough to fit the tortilla with extra room to flip.

Keep the heat on medium to medium-low. It will be hot enough to melt the cheese, without burning the tortilla. Depending on how stuffed you make yours, cook time could vary from 3-4 minutes on each side. All ingredients here were cooked beforehand, so browning the tortilla and melting the cheese into stringy goodness is all that is left to achieve.

Guess which pairing I chose to use here…

Obviously, you’ll place the top half of the other tortilla on top, but for picture’s sake, I decided to leave it off. I’m all about color.

I make my quesadillas in halves because it makes flipping that much easier and less prone to stuffing spillage. Again, your preference. I’m no expert at quesadilla flipping, so these are tricks that make it work for me.

What’s great about this concept is that aside from the cooking and prep work, all these steps can be achieved by your hungry guests. They get an opportunity to be creative and make something unique for themselves while you make sure your green bean casserole will live up to its known standards.

Clearly, it’s a win-win situation.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Cooking

Mussels in White Wine

As a young girl, I spent much of my childhood by the shore. There were many warm days spent on the sand and summer nights on the pier, a place of wonder and adventures. It was where my sister and I eagerly hoisted up our nets to see if the chicken we had laced up lured in a few crabs. They’re quick on their feet, those little critters. In between catching fish on the pier, dad showed us how to catch those critters before our hard work scampered back into the water. We learned quick.

It was a place where I gingerly avoided certain spots of squeaky, creaky boards, a place my sister and I would dare each other to run through. A place where the smell of salty air was refreshing, even though it turned my curls this way and that. The best part of course, was taking home our catch and savoring the freshness and magic of it all. I had no part in the magic. That was all dad’s doing in the kitchen.

This is one of my favorite seafood recipes because it looks incredibly fancy yet super easy to make. I got these fresh cultured mussels at the nearby Whole Foods at $8.00 for 2 pounds. Holy moly, that’s like at least 20 mussels. Definitely enough for date night at home. Cleaning and prepping mussels is the most important thing. You want to make sure these guys are squeaky clean, so here’s the how-to.

Step 1.Put the mussels in a large bowl with 2 quarts of water and 1/3 cup flour. Allow to soak for 30 minutes. What’s up with the flour you ask? I’ve read that it helps to dislodge any sand that may be trapped inside and the mussels eat up the flour, making them more succulent and juicy.

Step 2. Throw away any mussels that float to the top. After 30 minutes, drain and rinse thoroughly. Remove the “beard” from the outer edges if present. Take a brush to scrub the outer shells under running water if they are really dirty. Throw away any mussels whose shells aren’t tightly shut. Place in a separate bowl and set aside.

*I usually cook the pasta while the mussels soak. Follow instructions on the box, then set aside.

For the rest of the dish, you’ll need:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons good olive oil

3 large shallots

5-6 cloves garlic

½ cup Trader Giotto’s Bruchetta (so much better than canned tomatoes)

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1 cup good white wine

salt & pepper

*1 box of whole wheat fettuccine (optional)

*a loaf of crusty bread (also optional)

*recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Mussels in White Wine, Barefoot in Paris via FoodNetwork.

Step 1. Chop the shallots, garlic, thyme and parsley. Uncork your wine, measure out a cup, then pour yourself a glass. Drink.

Step 2. Add the olive oil to the pan and heat on medium. When oil is hot, add the butter. Let it melt then add the shallots. Gotta give the shallots a head start then add the garlic about 1 minute in. Sautee the garlic 2-3 minutes but don’t burn.

Step 3. Add the bruchetta, wine, saffron, parsley, thyme, salt (just a touch) and pepper. Then feel your mouth start to water. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Step 4. When boiling, add the mussels, stir well, bring the heat down to medium, then cover the pan. Allow to cook for 10 minutes, until mussels open (Yea, that’s it !). Throw away any mussels that are not open. Stir them in the sauce one more time, and taste the sauce. Add more salt if needed. Turn off the heat, transfer to a large bowl and enjoy!

If you’re using pasta, you’ve got one more step to go:

Step 5. Turn the heat to low and slowly add the cooked fettuccine into the sauce and combine until evenly mixed. Bravo! Turn off the heat and serve. Enjoy with the rest of the bottle of white wine…if you haven’t finished it already *burp*

Why the Bruchetta? Traditionally, this recipe calls for canned tomatoes, but I find that using the bruchetta makes it a bit more special. I just love the richness of the sauce you can’t get from canned tomatoes. I use Trader Joe’s bruchetta called “Trader Giotto’s”. YUM on a piece of toasted french bread and especially in this sauce.

Oh my my my.. If someone made this for me on the first date…

Excellent for crusty bread.

Say no more, be still my heart.

2 Comments

Filed under Cooking

I put pea shoots in my cous cous, cous I felt like it.

First, I have to say, the baby pea shoots absolutely make the dish. I love the crunch and freshness it adds to the savory flavors from the chicken broth and sauteed onions. I love spring, and I loove spring veggies even more. Today was a gorgeous, sunny, 65 degrees Sunday. Siiiigh. I could live in this kind of weather forever. And cook this kind of food forever.

The thing I love about this cous cous is the texture. I can’t even describe how happy it makes my mouth feel. It’s firm but not chewy and I love how it’s slightly bigger than your typical cous cous. Anyhow, It’s super easy to make so here’s what you’ll need:

1 box Trader Joe’s Israeli Cous Cous

1 1/4 cup chicken broth

1/4 large onion or 1/2 medium sized onion

red bell pepper

orange bell pepper

baby pea shoots

salt & pepper

love

I bought a few of the baby bell peppers from Trader Joe’s as well…heck, everything in this recipe is from there. I made a list. I went to town. It happens. I prefer red and orange bell pepper over green because I feel they’re a bit sweeter and milder than the green kinds. I used about 1/2 – 1 cup diced.

Step 1. In a sautee pan, heat some veggie oil on medium then get to dicing the onion and bell peppers.

Step 2. When oil is heated, sautee the onions until caramel, wilted and see-through. I always love this part.

Step 3. Keeping the heat on medium, add the cous cous and fry it with the onions for about 2-3 minutes then add the chicken stock. Crank the heat to high until it starts boiling then lower the heat back down to low. Put a lid on it and wait about 15-20 minutes until the cous cous has softened and absorbed all the flavored goodness.

Step 4. During the last 5 minutes of cous cous cooking time, add the diced peppers directly on top of the cous cous. DO NOT mix. The steam will cook these babies up fine. Replace the lid back on the pan until the 15-20 minutes cook time for the cous cous is up.

Step 5. Then, keeping the heat on low, mix the cous cous and taste. Add salt if needed. Add a bit of pepper.

Step 6. Turn off the heat and add the baby pea shoots. Here’s a pic of the kind I got. Deeelicious. I love putting these on top of my soups, in between sandwiches.. fried rice.. oh.my.goodness.good.

Step 7. Serve! Yes. It’s that simple. I had this for dinner tonight with salmon but it would taste just as heavenly with grilled chicken, a side salad, or heck, all by itself. Enjoy!

And for those who are wondering which cous cous I used:


Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking

Fiddlehead Ferns

Ever heard of these? They look like something you would find in an enchanted forest, namely Snow  White’s. At least I’d like to think so. Ever since I saw a contestant on Top Chef use them in a dish, fiddleheads have been rolling around in my head.

I’ve been wanting to get my hands on some of these for awhile and now that we’ve reached warmer climes, I might just try! I’ve read they taste like a mix of green beans and asparagus. I can just imagine the crunch!  I love the unfurled tips. I think that’s why I like them so much.

Picture source: The Kitchn

Cooking them is as simple as a sautee in butter and shallots. MmMmm I can imagine this alongside a nice piece of grilled salmon and creamy mashed ‘tatoes. But first, I need to get my hands on some. I know you can order them online, but I’ve never ordered veggies online before, have you?

I always like trying new things in the kitchen and this one is pretty high up on the list right now…except for one teensy tiny thing. Apparently, these adorable ferns come with a toxin that will wreak havoc on your tummy unless you cook it thoroughly. Uhm, ok.

Will this little caveat keep me from tryin them out?

Prolly not.

I like to live dangerously.

Especially if it involves this:

from: www.recipezaar.com

5 Comments

Filed under Cooking