10/19/08

Quesadilla Party!

quesadillas

Yesterday was another good day. Again, we slept in, then I woke up and turned the TV on. I flipped through the channels until I came across the movie, "Ratatouille". You know, the cartoon movie starring a little rat that happens to be a chef? I love that movie! No, I don't have kids, but I don't care... this movie was so well done and for a foodie, it's so much fun to watch. Anyway, it happened to be on yesterday when I woke up, so I watched it again. As soon as the movie was over, I got this overwhelming urge to cook. I didn't even know what I wanted to cook, ...actually, I wanted to cook everything. So I opened my fridge and started scanning what I had. Some leftover bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin (recipe to be posted here soon), some fresh swiss chard from Mark's dad's garden, some bacon, a couple of eggplants that needed to be cooked soon, and lots of peppers from our garden. I wanted to use them all, but what kind of crazy dish would I cook that had all of those ingredients in it?? Then it came to me... quesadillas! They are one of the best answers to the eternal question of "what am I going to do with these leftovers?" They're also a lot of fun to make, in my opinion. Well, they are if you have a handy-dandy cast iron griddle like I have. Or even a cast iron pan big enough to at least cook one at a time.

So, I thought, I'll just cook all these different ingredients up individually to make them the best they can be on their own, then I'll decide which ones go with each other to make a few different kinds of quesadillas. I ended up coming up with three varieties: a Pork and Swiss Chard Quesadilla, an Eggplant and Bacon Quesadilla, and a Spicy Pork and Salsa Quesadilla. They were all very good in their own ways and I had a hard time picking a favorite. I actually still don't know because they were all awesome. I definitely plan to do this sometime in the future as party food. Think about it... our guests could choose their own quesadilla ingredients right there at the party and then I could just grill them off as they're ordered. It would be fun and actually really easy since everything can be prepped ahead of time. Ooh, yay! I love it when I come up with party ideas! (Sorry, my dorkiness is showing...)

So, in case you'd like to give these a try in your kitchen, here's how I made each one:


Pork and Swiss Chard Quesadilla
swiss chard and pork quesadilla

2 flour tortillas
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup onion, diced
1 strip bacon, diced
small bunch of swiss chard (about 2 cups chopped)
1/4 cup chicken stock or broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheese (I used mixture of manchego, gruyere, and smoked cheddar)
3/4 cup leftover pork tenderloin, diced
1 tsp canola oil
sour cream and salsa for garnish, if desired

Start by preparing the swiss chard. Wash and dry the leaves, then cut off the stems. Chop the the leaves into bite size pieces. In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the onions and cook for a couple minutes. Then add the chopped raw bacon and saute until cooked through. Next, add the chopped swiss chard and saute continuously until the leaves start to wilt. When I did this, the leaves were popping in the pan like popcorn! After the swiss chard has cooked for about 10 minutes, then season with black pepper and hit it with the chicken stock. Stir, then let simmer on low until all the liquid evaporates. Transfer mixture to a small bowl and set aside.

Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat and brush lightly with canola oil. If you don't have cast iron, I'd say use a non-stick skillet.

While the griddle is heating up, assemble your quesadilla. I assembled mine on a pizza peel so it would be easy to slide onto the griddle. If you don't have one of those, I would say assemble it on a flat cookie sheet that you can slide it off of easily.

To assemble the quesadilla, lay down one flour tortilla, spread the swiss chard mixture evenly onto the tortilla, then top with with the shredded cheese, then scatter the diced pork on top of the cheese. Top with the other flour tortilla and press down gently.

Slide the quesadilla onto the hot griddle and cook until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. When the first side is golden brown, carefully flip the quesadilla using a wide spatula and cook the other side until golden brown. When the quesadilla is done, transfer it to a wooden cutting board and let it rest for a few minutes.

To serve, cut the quesadilla with a pizza cutter into four pieces. Serve with a little sour cream and salsa (if desired) on the side.



Eggplant and Bacon Quesadilla
eggplant quesadilla

2 flour tortillas
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
1 medium eggplant, sliced 1/4" thick
3 strips bacon, fried until crisp
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheese (I used mixture of manchego, gruyere, and smoked cheddar)
1 tsp canola oil
sour cream and salsa for garnish, if desired

Start by grilling off the eggplant slices. Heat a grill pan or griddle over high heat (or you can do this on your outdoor grill), drizzle the eggplant slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant a few minutes on each side, making sure each side has nice dark grill marks. Transfer the grilled eggplant slices to a plate and set aside. Next, cook your bacon until it's crispy. Transfer to a paper towl-covered plate and set aside.

Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat and brush lightly with canola oil. If you don't have cast iron, I'd say use a non-stick skillet.

While the griddle is heating up, assemble your quesadilla. I assembled mine on a pizza peel so it would be easy to slide onto the griddle. If you don't have one of those, I would say assemble it on a flat cookie sheet that you can slide it off of easily.

To assemble the quesadilla, lay down one flour tortilla and cover it evenly with the shredded cheese. Next, cover the cheese layer with the eggplant slices in one even layer. Finally, lay the three bacon slices across the eggplant slices and cover with the other tortilla. Press down gently.

Slide the quesadilla onto the hot griddle and cook until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. When the first side is golden brown, carefully flip the quesadilla using a wide spatula and cook the other side until golden brown. When the quesadilla is done, transfer it to a wooden cutting board and let it rest for a few minutes.

To serve, cut the quesadilla with a pizza cutter into four pieces. Serve with a little sour cream and salsa (if desired) on the side.



Spicy Pork and Salsa Quesadilla
spicy pork and salsa quesaillas

2 flour tortillas

For the salsa:
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
5 holy mole peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled, roasted, and finely chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped with seeds
5 roma tomatoes, cut into small chunks
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

3/4 cup leftover pork tenderloin, diced
1 cup shredded cheese (I used mixture of manchego, gruyere, and smoked cheddar)
1 tsp canola oil
sour cream and salsa for garnish, if desired

Start by making the salsa. Toss the holy mole peppers and peeled garlic cloves in some olive oil, then roast under the broiler until both sides are slightly charred. Remove the peppers from the broiler and place into a closed paper bag for a few minutes to loosen the skins. Remove the garlic and chop/smash up on the cutting board. Remove the skins from the peppers, then slice open, remove the seeds, then chop the roasted peppers up.

In a food processor, combine the roasted peppers, roasted smashed garlic, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pulse the food processor until all ingredients are chopped and just combined. The salsa will be nearly pureed, but will still have tiny little chunks for texture. Transfer the salsa to a bowl and set aside.

Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat and brush lightly with canola oil. If you don't have cast iron, I'd say use a non-stick skillet.

While the griddle is heating up, assemble your quesadilla. I assembled mine on a pizza peel so it would be easy to slide onto the griddle. If you don't have one of those, I would say assemble it on a flat cookie sheet that you can slide it off of easily.

To assemble the quesadilla, lay down one flour tortilla and cover it evenly with the shredded cheese. Next, cover the cheese layer with the diced pork. Finally, spoon the salsa over the cheese and pork, enough so you'll taste salsa in each bite. Cover with the other tortilla. Press down gently.

Slide the quesadilla onto the hot griddle and cook until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. When the first side is golden brown, carefully flip the quesadilla using a wide spatula and cook the other side until golden brown. When the quesadilla is done, transfer it to a wooden cutting board and let it rest for a few minutes.

To serve, cut the quesadilla with a pizza cutter into four pieces. Serve with a little sour cream and salsa (if desired) on the side.



So now go out and have your own quesadilla party! I'll let ya know how mine turns out! Have a great rest of your weekend!

7 comments:

  1. this is actually a great idea for a gathering! mix and match :)

    thanks for your comment on my blog, I laughed out loud :) who can go wrong with PB? unless, of course, you're allergic...

    ReplyDelete
  2. That looks AMAZING. I am such a quesadilla fiend!

    Hey - I saw this, and thought that it might be right up your alley. Not sure if you know Angela Moore (Cleveland blogger) or not, but this is her deal..

    http://amonthofstuff.com/upcoming-theme/november-theme-30-days-of-food/

    ReplyDelete
  3. ttfn300 - i'd cry if i was allergic to peanut butter.

    matt - thanks for the tip! looks like fun!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Those quesadillas look huge! they look delicious also!

    ReplyDelete
  5. bacon on 2 out of 3
    good one...

    ReplyDelete
  6. We do the same thing - make creative quesadillas! With leftovers :)
    YUMMY - great pix, too!

    ReplyDelete
  7. great post, I really like it. Thanks for posting. :)

    ReplyDelete

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