Quesadillas

Quesadillas

In college, I had about three staples that I rotated through my weekly meals: boneless, skinless chicken breasts on the George Foreman, spaghetti and a can of Prego spiced up with sauted garlic and green peppers, and cheese quesadillas. As with the the first two, I later realized that there was a better way to make quesdillas.

My cousin and her then-boyfriend (now finance, soon-to-be husband) Sergio visited me in Chicago. After a long day of eating and drinking, we wound up back at my apartment with a case of beer and no snacks. Sergio volunteered to make quesadillas. That was great except that I didn’t have any of the ingredients. Well, do you have any meat? Only bacon. Perfect. What about vegetables? Just mushrooms. Cool. What about cheese? No cheddar, only monterey jack. And you have tortillas? Yeah. Well then, you have everything you need. I didn’t believe that you could make quesadillas without cheddar and I was very skeptical about the bacon. Those quesadillas are still the best I’ve ever had (and I don’t think it’s just because they were such a great drunk snack).

Here’s what I think is important:

  1. Have the right cheese. Any mexican grocery will have “quesadilla cheese” and it’s the best. It’s somewhere between a monterey jack and a mozarella.
  2. Precook the filling. Just like an omelet, everything you put into a quesadilla should be ready to eat.
  3. Don’t overstuff. A little bit of cheese oozing out the sides is good, but a half inch thick quesadilla just gets rubbery.
  4. Really fry the tortillas. I like to use bacon grease, but no matter what kind of fat you’re using get it nice and hot and fry the tortilla until it browns.
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Black Bean Burgers

Black Bean Burgers

“Has it been unseasonably hot in New York?” I asked Glenn the other day. For the last two weeks every article I’ve seen and every broadcast I’ve heard has used the New York heat as an excuse not to cook. I said, “In North Carolina, we can’t not cook because it’s too hot. We’d eat out for four months!” I would rather have eaten my words than made the excessively complicated from-scratch meal we made last night.

Black bean burgers, corn chips, pico de gallo, and corn on the cob. We cooked the black beans. We made the breadcrumbs. We fried the burgers. We made the tortillas. We fried the chips. We chopped the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and cilantro. We boiled a gallon of water. It was way, way too much work for a 90 degree day. When we were finished, I wasn’t even hungry. I am sure the leftovers will taste twice as good.

The recipe is from Gourmet. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Buy a can of black beans and a bag of Tostitos.