Quesadilla Week

A complete quesadilla virgin, I purchased a pack of rye tortillas (rye because they looked healthier) and set to work. My original plan was to only make quesadillas once, but then I still had the entire pack of tortillas to use up, and quesadillas are great, so I wasn’t complaining.

DSC_0023Just to get things straight, what is a quesadilla? This was gave me constant confusion when travelling in South America, trying to figure out the difference between Enchilada, Quesadilla, Burritio, Taco, Fajita, Chimichanga, Tostada etc (I’m sure there are more). Anyway, if you’re intrigued, I’m sure you can google that one. But I will explain and demonstrate what exactly is a quesadilla. Quesa means cheese in Español and the original idea of a quesadilla is that it is basically a tortilla fried with cheese on top until the cheese melts, then folded so the cheese is inside, and cut into wedges to serve. However, many “modern quesadillas” will contain ingredients as well as cheese, and maybe not even contain cheese at all (for all the vegans out there) – though that might get a different name if we’re being technical!

Anyway, they are super easy to make, can pretty much contain whatever you like – so also ideal for leftovers – and taste amazing! I will run you through each of my quesadilla inventions of the week in chronological order, enjoy!

DSC_0015(All of the following recipes serve one and one only)

Número uno:

The er “Guaca Mozza”

Ingredients: 1 avacado, 1 clove garlic, a dash of lemon juice, salt, your fave oil (I like avocado oil) 1 small red onion, 1 red chilli, knob of butter, 1 tortilla, a chopped up chuck of mozzarella

To do:

  1. Chop up your onion and chilli and fry on a low heat, whilst you make your guacamole (mash avocado, lemon juice, crushed garlic, salt and oil – or your own version, whatever goes!).
  2. Then with your largest flattest pan, heat to mid-temparature, and melt your knob of butter in there.
  3. Once the butter is all over the base of the pan, pop the tortilla in, and immediately on top of one half put the mozzarella, and your fried onions and chilli.
  4. Let the tortilla cook until the mozzarella is niice and stringy and melty, then spread your guacamole on top, and fold the tortilla in half over your toppings.
  5. Press the top half down, slide out of the pan, and chop in half, for those cute little triangles. Voila, quesadilla!

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Número dos:

Lets call this one “Sweet Halloweenie”

Ingredients: Half a sweet potato (or a really little one), some feta cheese, handful fresh coriander, knob of butter, 1 tortilla, some chorizo (or meat of choice, or no meat, if you be vegetarian), your fave seasoning bits.

To do:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Spike the potato all over with a fork or skewer and if it’s a really huge one, chop it in half as well.
  3. Pop it in the oven for 50 mins and go amuse yourself elsewhere.
  4. Scoop out the potato flesh (though my second making of this quesadilla I used the skin as well) and mash in a bowl with the chopped up coriander.
  5. Break up the feta and fold this in the mix. Then with your largest flattest pan, heat to mid-temparature, and melt your knob of butter in there.
  6. Once the butter is all over the base of the pan, pop the tortilla in, and immediately on top, spread your cheesy potato mix.
  7. Then lay over the top, or on the other side, your slices of chorizo.
  8. Let it all cook on a mid-heat until you can feel the feta is melty and the potato is hot.
  9. Then fold your tortilla in half, flatten it, and slide it out of the pan.
  10. Chop him in half and there you have it, your beaut quesadillas are ready for the eating!

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Número tres:

It rhymes with the previous one, “The Meanie Beanie”

Ingredients: 1 onion, 1 green chilli, 1 clove garlic, can of black beans, can of kidney beans, 1 corn on the kob, some ripe tomatoes, cheese of your choosing, herb of your choosing (I was of course using up my feta and coriander from the previous quesadilla), avocado, oil, salt, knob of butter, 1 tortilla.

To do:

  1. Lightly fry your onion, green chilli and finely chopped garlic.
  2. Then add into the pan some of your chopped up tomatoes and simmer on low until all nicely soft, then remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile heat your oven to 200°C, and pop the entire corn in there (no need to unwrap yet).
  4. Whilst you wait 30 minutes for your corn, rinse your beans (though keep some of the liquid) and blitz half of them in a blender with the rest of your tomatoes. Keep the rest whole.
  5. Add some of the bean purée to the onion pan, and bring back to simmer.
  6. Then when your corn is nicely cooked, add these and the beans to the onion pan, and heat on low, until the mix is a nice consistency. It needs to simmer off the liquid, to become more of a paste that we can put on top of a quesadilla.
  7. Then onto the quesadilla. Butter in the large based pan, on medium heat as ever.
  8. Then once the butter covers the base of the pan, pop the tortilla in, then as much of your beanie mix as you want, and the cheese and herbs too!
  9. Whilst that sizzles away nicely, mash your avocado, with some oil and salt, and keep this for side-serving.
  10. As usual once the tortilla and its’ fillings are satisfactorily cooked, fold the tortilla in half, press down, maybe let it all cook a little longer like this, then slide out of the pan.
  11. Chop in half, and serve with your mushed avocado!

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After so many consecutive nights of eating quesadilla, I tried a tostada, with my remaining ingredients. This is just a different way to cook the tortilla really. You smear in in oil and seasoning and put under the grill for a minute or two, then add add all your toppings, like a pizza, and pop back in the grill (on high) until the toppings are nice and hot and cheese is melty. Then eat! Best to cover as much of the tortilla as you can with toppings, as the edge bits go quite crispy after all that grilling!

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A few more tips:
Don’t heat your pan too high, because this can cause the bottom of the tortilla to burn and crisp before the filling has properly cooked. Best to cook it slowly and get the perfectly soft-on-the-inside-kinda-crispy-on-the-outside-quesadilla.
Don’t put your topping too close to the edge of the pan, because when you fold the tortilla and squash down, they will all spill out the sides.
Don’t eat quesadilla every single night, you might just get sick of them a teeensy little bit!

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