A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Spinach Quesadillas

There is no easier, more comforting meal for me than a quesadilla.

Ever since I learned to make microwaved tortilla-and-cheeses as a kid (open-faced -- just grated cheddar on a white flour tortilla: I would nuke it until the oil separated from the cheese and I could pour and blot it off, then microwave it some more until the degreased cheese became hard and crunchy) this has been a standard meal.

Anyway, this dinner took 5 minutes to make.

The night before, I started a batch of beans in the crockpot, adding the seasonings the next morning before work. They were steamy and soft and delicious by dinnertime.

The quesadillas consisted of:
  • whole wheat tortillas
  • chopped fresh garden tomatoes, drained in colander
  • fresh spinach, lots of it, since it cooks down so much
  • slices of queso fresco. I don't grate the cheese, because I hate washing the cheese grater, so I just cut slices and they melt just fine.
  • a sprinkling of grated Parmesan. I love cotija, too, but when I don't have it, feta or Parmesan works well.
I usually just heat up a pan on medium, put the tiniest bit of olive oil or butter in the pan, and toast the quesadilla on both sides. I'll put a lid on during the early part to help the cheese melt, but too much of that will make the tortillas too soft.

We ate the quesadillas and the beans with some fresh chiltepin and ordono chiles from the garden. Salsas are nice, but they take time, and this was supposed to be a fast dinner.

Other things I have put in quesadillas:
  • scrambled eggs
  • leftover pork, chicken, or beef
  • chorizo
  • leftover grilled fish
  • sauteed shrimp
  • black or pinto beans from a can or homemade
  • any kine cheese
  • leftover cooked collard greens
  • arugula
  • mixed lettuces
  • avocado
  • roasted green chiles or red bell peppers
  • fresh chopped bell peppers
  • a chopped chipotle, preferably mixed with beans or something to distribute the heat
  • caramelized onions
  • chives
  • cilantro
  • watercress
  • lime zest
  • Herdez salsa verde
What have I missed? Anything else I should try?


Laura said...

Hooray for quesadillas! I have little energy left for cooking after work, so I usually have them for dinner twice a week. One of my favorite filling combinations is cheese, browned diced potatoes, scallions, and black beans. No matter what I use for the filling, I top them with chopped garden tomatoes, plain greek yogurt, and Tropical Pepper Co. hot sauce.

Kris said...

I had a quesadilla last night, too. It's a perfect meal for one. Mine had two kinds of cheese including cotija, canned jalapenos, and garden cherry tomatoes.

When I was in grad school and Dad would be out of town for a week, I would live that whole time on a diet of coffee, cigarettes, orange juice, beer, quesadillas, and doughnuts. Wow, times have changed--that doesn't even sound like me.

Eva said...

Ooooh, potatoes. And I do like the use of yogurt as quesadilla topper. Thanks, Laura...so many new things to eat.

Kris said...

I forgot to mention the first time I tasted an "alternative" quesadilla. It was a salmon quesadilla at the Anchorage Saturday Market. There was a booth with a big grill and a cooler full of just-caught salmon fillets, and two guys kept busy grilling the salmon with lots of garlic and dill, breaking it up as it cooked. They folded the salmon into tortillas with jack cheese and green chiles and browned them enough to melt the cheese, then slapped them onto a paper plate and offered bottled hot sauce on the side.

There was a long line at their booth every Saturday.

Eva said...

OMG, I mentioned those salmon quesadillas at Saturday Market in my column this week. Weird. I just turned it in this morning.