November 25th, 2010 — 11:15pm
No, I don't think anyone needs a recipe for a quesadilla. All you need to do is melt cheese in a tortilla. You can make them in the microwave, under the broiler or in a skillet. (My roommate last year actually had a designated quesadilla maker.) You can keep them cheese-only, fill them with extras or put all the fun stuff on top. To each his own, really.
But let me tell you about my own.
My favorite quesadilla starts with a hot cast iron pan. With a little olive oil, I cook sweet bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and diced jalapeno. Salt and pepper. I push that to the side and lay down a tortillla…ideally it is a Trader Joe's Truly Handmade tortilla. I add shredded Monterey Jack (not a ton) and put the vegetables on top to melt the cheese faster. When the cheese is gooey and the tortilla slightly crisp, I slide it on a plate, squeeze fresh lime juice all over and fill the quesadilla with cilantro before folding it in half. Depending on the day, I might also smother the whole thing with sour cream.
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So, no, you don't need a recipe for a quesadilla. But if you were looking for some inspiration, just gaze at that photo a little longer.
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May 29th, 2010 — 8:06pm
At first mention, the idea of a sauceless, cheeseless pizza doesn't seem too enticing, so if it makes you feel better, you can call these flatbreads or something else. I'm happy thinking of them as pizzas where the focus is all dough and toppings. (In case you're new here, I LOVE dough.)
These are both Smitten Kitchen recipes I made last weekend with my friend Allie. The zucchini pizza I first made last summer, but this time used ricotta instead of goat cheese. And a recent LA Times article reminded me I had never tried the potato pizza I saw on Smitten Kitchen two summers ago.
Both are great summer pizzas, in my mind. Light and fresh tasting. (I know, carbs on carbs, how is potato pizza light? But the potatoes are sliced thinly and there's not sauce and cheese to weigh it down further.) The two pizzas with a side salad make a perfect evening-on-the-porch meal.
I won't post the full recipes since I didn't make any significant changes, except as mentioned, this time I used ricotta instead
of goat cheese. For the potato pizza don't be shy with the sea salt and cracked pepper. For both, I used Trader Joe's dough, then cooked the pizzas individually in a 500-degree oven on a preheated pizza stone until the toppings were cooked and the crust turned golden brown.
Rosemary, Olive Oil, Potato Pizza
Lemony Zucchini Ricotta Pizza
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May 2nd, 2010 — 3:14pm
Los Angeles, great city that it is, has a gourmet grilled cheese truck that announces its location on Twitter each day. My coworker Aaron had been keeping tabs on it, so when it came near the office he drove me and our other coworker Allie to the parking lot where the truck had set up shop. We had to wait in line for 25 minutes, but we weren't disappointed. Aaron got a sandwich filled with mac-and-cheese, Allie had brie and pears on cranberry-walnut bread, and I had the Harvest Melt: Gruyère, roasted butternut squash, leeks and balsamic-agave syrup. Brilliant.
Yesterday Allie came over and I tried to recreate the Harvest Melt in all its glory. I'm happy to say it was a success.
The grilled cheese was so good, so satisfying, that I didn't even think about other food until dinner. A rare occurence for me. But the squash, the onions, the balsamic… the cheese… the perfectly grilled toast… Pause for a few moments of reverie.
Even better, I don't need to use Twitter or get in a car to have one.
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April 18th, 2010 — 5:29pm
My friend Mike offers us his classic gumbo recipe with okra, andouille and seafood. I wish I had gotten a chance to taste it, but the color of that roux is evidence enough that it must have been great.
This recipe was adapted from several in Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen. This gumbo is a family favorite. It isn’t too spicy, has a delicious toasty, nutty complexity from the roux, and the okra keeps it from being too thin (the darker you make a roux, the less thickening power it has). It is, however, a definite time commitment. This is a recipe where you should have everything completely prepped and lain out before you start heating the oil for the roux.
Gumbo previously: Gumbo with Chicken, Andouille and Shrimp
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April 4th, 2010 — 5:01pm
My friend Mike is back with another great recipe. Here he spatchcocks the chicken so it roasts faster and more evenly, keeping the white meat just as juicy as the dark. See Mike’s other posts here.
This is a relatively simple and wonderfully delicious way to roast chicken. The juices from the chicken baste the vegetables while they roast together, while the mustard and herbs de Provence pair very well. And it’s much quicker than many other roast chicken recipes! The recipe was inspired by Jacques Pepin’s “Fast Food My Way” TV series.
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February 14th, 2010 — 1:12pm
A “He Cooks” post from my friend Mike, who introduced himself last week with Fried Beer-Battered Pickles.
After seeing Brittany’s squash soup post, I decided to make one myself. I thought the distinctive flavor of five spice would go great with the sweetness of the squash. (Five spice is a Chinese blend of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Szechwan pepper and ground fennel seeds.) The five spice was wonderful with the squash, but the soup was a little sweet. I’ll definitely skip the roasting to cut down on the sweetness next time I make it. (The recipe below takes that into account.)
Unfortunately, I’m not much of a photographer, and was in a bit of a hurry to get this one on the table, so the picture doesn’t really do it justice. I also made some spicy shrimp to go on top, but the spoonful of crème fraiche, fresh chives, and pickled ginger I had on the leftovers complemented the flavors of the soup much better.
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