Grilled Eggplant and Red Bell Pepper Quesadilla with Fresh Mozzarella, Olives and Basil

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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The top video there is trailer for my novel.  The second is me reading from it a while back – at Vroman’s.

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Quesadillas.  Who doesn’t love them?  You can put any old thing in there to suit your tastes or empty your fridge of perishables on the verge of perishing.  That is what I did here.  I had some sad eggplants & a sad red bell pepper.  So – I grilled those bad boys up & – if I’d had guests – nobody would have been the wiser.

I like to use these uncooked tortillas.  Not sure why.  They come out the same in the end & I am not one to add work for the sake of work – but these please me.  Use regular ones if you feel like it but definitely try this quesadilla!  I was surprised at how substantial & delicious it was.  Grilled eggplant is so delightful – I think even eggplant haters might enjoy these guys.

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Grilled Eggplant and Red Bell Pepper Quesadilla with Fresh Mozzarella, Olives and Basil

INGREDIENTS

Tortillas

Fresh mozzarella (or vegan alternative)

Basil

Sliced black olives

Eggplant

Red bell pepper

Italian salad dressing (or just some olive oil)

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I dredge my vegges in Newman’s Own Oil & Vinegar & grill them up.  This can be done on a grill or in a grill pan.  You might even pull it off directly on the burners but it might get messy.  Chop the grill eggplant & red pepper.

If using uncooked tortillas, cook two of them on one side only.  Then Flip one over & stack the contents upon it.  Top it with the other tortilla – cooked side down & top with the lid of a pan.

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Using a spatula, flip the quesadilla & cook it on both sides until it is nicely browned & the cheese is melted.

Divvy it up as if you were gonna share it & then eat the whole Goddamn thing yourself!  I did!  MMMMMMM!

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Sauteed Kale & Mushroom Quesadillas with Horseradish Cream Cheese & Poached Eggs

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Sometimes I feel guilty posting something as a “recipe” when all I am really doing is suggesting a combination of ingredients.  I had:

INGREDIENTS

Tortillas

Kale – chopped into small bits (stems removed first)

Mushrooms – sliced

Cream Cheese

Horseradish

Grated cheese blend (mozzarella & cheddar)

Eggs

Olive oil

I made the thing you see here.

Poaching eggs can be quite a thing.  I have this handy little poacher:

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I boiled the water beneath that the egg cuppy thing.  A sprayed the cuppies with cooking spray.  I added the egg & turned the heat off & covered the pan.  I waited three minutes.  I had poached eggs.  HERE are some more professional suggestions about poaching eggs.

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Sauteed Kale & Mushroom Quesadillas with Horseradish Cream Cheese

DIRECTIONS

Wait to poach your eggs until the quesadilla is nearly done.

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add the kale & mushrooms & saute over med-high heat until the mushrooms & kale are tender. 5-10 minutes or so.

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Meanwhile – with a fork, mix prepared horseradish – to taste – into a chunk of cream cheese.  Set aside.

When you are ready to eat, heat a clean saute or grill pan over medium heat.  Smear the cream cheese on a tortilla & place it the pan.  Top with kale & mushrooms & grated cheese.  Top with the another tortilla.  Get the water for your poached eggs boiling.

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Press this with the lid of a pan & heat a minute or two (or until it begins to brown), give it a good press with the lid & then carefully flip it.  Press with the lid.

Now poach your eggs in the manner you selected.

When the quesadilla is ready, slice it up & stack it up & top it up with poached eggs.

Pour yourself a mimosa & get your feed on!   Then go HERE on Amazon and buy my book!

HAPPY SUNDAY!

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Fig & Gruyere Quesadilla with Balsamic Glaze & Honey or Fig, Spinach & Whipped Goat Cheese Pizza with Honey

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I can’t resist figs now when I see them at the store.  They are beautiful to look at and so delicate & versatile – I love them.  But they tend to go bad fast so, when I buy them, I end up eating fig everything.  To extend their shelf life, I put them in a Ziplock baggy & put them in a single layer on a shelf in the fridge.  That seemed to add a day or two to their lifespan.

These are not really recipes.  These are really just suggested ways to use figs.

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Fig & Gruyere Quesadilla with Balsamic Glaze & Honey

INGREDIENTS

Flour tortilla

Gruyere cheese – sliced

Figs – sliced

Honey

Balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS

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Bring some balsamic vinegar to a boil & then reduce to a simmer.  In 20 minutes – my 1/4 cup of balsamic reduced to only one or two teaspoons of glaze – so boil down an appropriate quantity.

Layer the cheese & figs on a tortilla, fold it over & grill it on both sides until the cheese melts & the tortilla browns.

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Slice it up & drizzle with honey & the balsamic glaze.  MMMMM!

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Fig, Spinach & Whipped Goat Cheese Pizza with Honey

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough (mine is HERE)

Spinach

Figs – sliced

Mozzarella – grated

Goat Cheese

Cream cheese

Olive oil

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DIRECTIONS

To get whipped goat cheese – simple blend goat cheese with some cream cheese at approximately a 2 to 1 ratio, like – 4 ounces goat cheese to 2 ounces cream cheese.  Go heavier with the goat cheese if you want that flavor to be stronger.

Now just roll out your dough, put it on a greased baking sheet and smear some whipped goat cheese on it.  Layer some spinach & drizzle with olive oil.  Add figs & then some grated mozzarella & bake at about 450-500 (be sure the oven is at full temperature before putting pizza in there) for about 12 minutes or until the cheese melts & the crust browns.  Drizzle with honey!

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Brie Quesadilla with Smashed Balsamic Blueberries

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This beauty is a three ingredient gem.  Of course, one of the ingredients is my Smashed Balsamic Blueberry Sauce but that is easy to make!  See?

Smashed Balsamic Blueberry Sauce

INGREDIENTS

6 oz fresh blueberries

1 shallot – minced

1/2 TBS olive oil

2 oz balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp fresh rosemary – minced

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the olive oil in a small stock pot & saute the shallot until it softens.

Add the other ingredients & bring to a boil.

Lower heat & simmer about 5 minutes.  I used a potato masher & smashed about half the blueberries.  The edge of a wooden spoon would work, too.  Just be careful because this is a sticky, molten lava.

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See?  And the only other things you need are tortillas & brie.

I heated a tortilla in a dry pan, slathered it with blueberry sauce & some brie.  I folded it & compressed it with a pot lid, waited two minutes & repeated that on the other side.

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It was sweet & savory melty goodness.  I ate it standing up.  There are no calories that way.

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Kale, Mushroom & Ricotta Open-Faced Quesadilla Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes & Feta

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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These pizzas or open-faced quesadillas are the easiest thing ever & they cook up really fast – so it leaves time to get fancy with your toppings.  Not that roasting tomatoes or sauteing kale are complicated adventures but they are extra steps beyond a simple sauce & cheese (for pizza) or solomente cheese – in the case of quesadillas.   The quantity of the ingredients for these gets difficult to define as everyone likes a different level of cheese & ratio of vegetables etc.  What I can say is that a head of kale wilts down to a quantity likely to be sufficient for 3-4 of these medium-sized tortillas.  I can’t be sure because I kept eating it out of the pan while I waited for the tomatoes to roast.  I roasted a few grape tomatoes & one Roma – for no other reason than those were the ones that needed cooking most urgently.  At any rate, with pizza and quesadillas, there is really no proper recipe, but rather a suggestion of toppings & fillings.

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Kale, Mushroom & Ricotta Open-Faced Quesadilla Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes & Feta

INGREDIENTS

Tomatoes – cut into a large dice (cherry & grape tomatoes – halved)

Kale – ribs removed & chopped

Mushrooms (I used about 10-15 to a single head of kale) – sliced

Garlic (I used 3 cloves) – chopped

Crushed red pepper (I used about 1 tsp)

Olive oil

Ricotta cheese

Feta cheese

Tortillas

S&P to taste

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the tomatoes in a little olive oil & some S&P.  Roast them on a parchment paper-lined cooking sheet for about 20 minutes or until they go from A to B – as shown below.

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Set the tomatoes aside.

Remove the ribs from the kale & chop it.

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Heat about 1-2 TBS olive oil in a large pan.

Add the chopped garlic & saute about 30 seconds & then add the mushrooms and crushed red pepper.  Saute over med-high heat, stirring often, until they they begin to brown.  Add the kale & saute until it wilts – only a few minutes.

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Add S&P to taste.

Now – I added a step here where I baked the tortillas first before I topped them.  I had seen another recipe that suggested this so I tried it.  I am not really sure what it achieves.  They do puff & brown nicely – but then they get a little brittle for handling & the edges get too cooked after the final round of baking.  So – if you want to try it – simply poke them all over with a fork & put them on a greased cooking sheet in the 400 degree oven for about 6 minutes or until they come out like below.  Or – you can just start topping the tortilla raw & bake it up.

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Then simply slather a little ricotta on there.

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Add some of the kale-mushroom mix & the feta & the roasted tomatoes.

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Then – simply cook them up in a 400 degree oven for about 6 minutes or until it looks like mine below.  Divvy that shit up or eat it all yourself.  I ain’t judging.  🙂

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Grilled Zucchini & Fresh Mozzarella Whole Wheat Quesadilla with Poached Egg

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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You thought I was fucking around when I said I’d gone bonkers for quesadillas.  I wasn’t.  They are just so endlessly customizable – you can find one to suit any meal or any mood.   This one works really well for breakfast.  The only tricky thing is the egg poaching – a skill I have yet to master.  HERE are a few tutorials on doing it right.  Review a few to get an idea of the techniques & the results they provide.

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Grilled Zucchini & Fresh Mozzarella Whole Wheat Quesadilla with Poached Egg

INGREDIENTS

Whole wheat tortilla

Fresh mozzarella

Grilled zucchini

1 egg

DIRECTIONS

Slice & grill your zucchini (I dip mine in Italian dressing first).  Put a tortilla in a dry pan over med-high heat.  Layer the cheese & zucchini & fold over.  I use a pot lid to apply pressure & retain heat.

Meanwhile – poach an egg.

Flip your quesadilla.  It should take 2-3 minutes on each side for the cheese to melt & the tortilla to brown up a bit.

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Top with the poached egg & plenty of fresh ground pepper.  Eat it up!

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Grilled Zucchini & Chipotle Cheddar Quesadilla with Coca Cola Caramelized Onions

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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You will soon realize that I am on a quesadilla spree that isn’t even close to over.  I made this bad boy last night & I was very pleased with myself!

The onions were a tad charred but I actually enjoyed the flavor it gave them.  They were, however, very hard to photograph!

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They kinda look like fat, dark worms but they were both savory & sweet & they complimented the cheese very nicely.  If you do not care for – or cannot find – Chipotle cheddar, any other cheese you might prefer in a quesadilla is certainly an option.

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Grilled Zucchini & Chipotle Cheddar Quesadilla with Coca Cola Caramelized Onions

INGREDIENTS

Zucchini – sliced thin & grilled (I dipped mine in Italian dressing first)

Tortillas

Chipotle cheddar (or other cheese) – sliced thinly

1 large red onion – sliced thinly

1/2 can Coca Cola

1 TBS brown sugar

2 tsp olive oil

1 TBS butter

Guacamole or parsley or cilantro or jalapeno as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Grill the zucchini.

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Heat the oil & HALF of the butter & the brown sugar.  Add the onions & saute over medium heat for a good ten minutes – not stirring often so that they can brown.  Add the remaining butter & stir occasionally for ten additional minutes.  Once all the oil & butter are absorbed or evaporated – pour a little Coke in to deglaze the pan.  As it gets absorbed, add the rest of the Coke.  When the onions are completely soft & browned, set aside.

Then – simply assemble the quesadilla the normal way.  Heat a dry pan.  Place a tortilla in it.  Layer the cheese, zucchini & some of the onions & fold the tortilla.  I use a put lid to apply pressure & trap the heat.  After a minute or two – flip the quesadilla.  Garnish as you will & devour!

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Brie Quesadilla with Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey-Soaked Cherries

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey cherry idea was my boyfriend’s.  He loves my Jack Daniels Whiskey & Honey Glazed Carrots – a lot.  When I ran a few of my quesadilla ingredients by him (one using Coca Cola & another using balsamic vinegar) – he suggested something with this whiskey.  So – essentially – I made the exact recipe but with fresh cherries instead of carrots.  It is outrageous!  I used it in this quesadilla but it would be incredible on anything from salmon to chicken to ice cream.   Crazy yummy!  Maybe just pour it over a wedge of brie & serve it with a crusty bread.  Ymmmmm!

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Brie Quesadilla with Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey-Soaked Cherries

INGREDIENTS

Tortillas

Brie – sliced thin

1 cup fresh cherries – pitted

2 TBS butter

1 TBS brown sugar

3 sprigs of thyme – leaves only

1/4 cup Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey

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DIRECTIONS

Melt one of the tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan over high heat.  Add cherries and thyme & stir – sauteing them for 2-3 min.  Remove the cherries to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

Add the whiskey & let it saute for 30-45 seconds.  Reduce heat & melt the remaining tablespoon of butter.  Add the brown sugar & stir to combine.  Once a glaze begins to form – a minute or two – add the cherries back to the pan & stir to get them coated in glaze.  Cook another minute or two & set aside.

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Then – simply assemble the quesadilla the normal way.  Heat a dry pan.  Place a tortilla in it.  Layer the brie & some of the cherries & fold the tortilla.  I use a put lid to apply pressure & trap the heat.  After a minute or two – flip the quesadilla.  When golden on both sides – unceremoniously shove it in your face and commence to making another!

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Breakfast Quesadilla with Hominy & Roasted Jalapenos on a Kale Tortilla

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This is less of a recipe & more just an idea.  You can make your breakfast quesadilla with anything you like inside.  This one was made using my freshly made kale tortillas.  I also roasted a few red & green jalapenos.  This is done on your stove top.  Char the outside of the jalapenos until they blacken.  You can do this directly on the burners or by broiling in the oven.  Once blackened, seal them in Tupperware or wrap them in foil for about 15 minutes.  This will sweat the skin off.  Then, under cool running water, roll the blackened skin away & squeeze off the tops & remove the seeds.  Then – chop the jalapenos finely.

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I also used hominy – the food I am currently having an overt affair with.  Shhh!  Don’t tell cauliflower about that!

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I used one egg, some egg whites, diced tomato, cilantro & grated cheddar cheese with the hominy & roasted jalapenos.  It was really delicious!  I whisked some cheese and S&P in the eggs & scrambled them.  Then I heated the tortilla in a dry pan over medium heat, layered the ingredients & folded the tortilla in half.  After a few minutes, I flipped it & once the cheese was melted, I friggin’ ate it!  🙂Image

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Chipotle Sweet Potato & Caramelized Onion Quesadilla with Goat Cheese on Homemade Flour Tortillas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012


Well – now that I know how easy it is to make homemade tortillas – I’ve kinda gotten lazy & have been living on an all-quesadilla-all-the-time diet.  Once you invest in the 5 lb bag of cheese from Smart & Final and the 10 lb bag of flour – all you really need is a bunch of creative details, other ingredients – most of which can be overlapped from one quesadilla adventure to the next.

I will post two more random choices from my quesadilla marathon: a sweet potato & onion one & a simple mozzarella & green chile version.  They are both delicious!  The sweet potato one is stuffed pretty thick & is rather substantial.  Here is the sweet potato one but made with spinach tortillas (which were beginning to stale & get too crumbly):

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PRINT THIS TORTILLA RECIPE

 

FLOUR TORTILLAS

INGREDIENTS

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1-2 tsp salt

5 TBS olive oil

1 – 1 1/2 cups water

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DIRECTIONS

In your food processor, pulse the flour, baking powder & salt until blended.  Add the olive oil & pulse until it is incorporated.  Add water in a slow stream & pulse until it is completely incorporated and the dough has formed a tacky ball & is traveling around the bowl.  You might not need all the water – you might need a bit extra.  If it is too sticky – just add a bit more flour & pulse it around.

Put the dough on a lightly floured surface & roll it around to eliminate any tackiness that remains.  Dived the dough into four balls & then divide each of those four balls into three more balls.  Each ball should be about the size of a golf ball.  Let the dough rest 10 minutes or so.

Roll out each ball as flat & thin as you can – or until they are about 8 inches across.  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Do not use any oil or cooking spray.   Leave the pan dry.  Cook each tortilla on each side about 20 seconds or until brown spots begin to appear.  Over cooking will make them crispy so err on the side of under-cooking.

Store under a clean kitchen towel as you cook all 12 tortillas.

Wrap the ones you do not use in a zip-lock bag or tightly in plastic wrap & store on your counter for up as long as they last (3 days or so) before getting stale.

PRINT THIS TORTILLA RECIPE

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PRINT THIS QUESADILLA RECIPE

 

Chipotle Sweet Potato & Caramelized Onion Quesadilla with Goat Cheese on Homemade Flour Tortillas

INGREDIENTS

1 baked sweet potato (pierced with a fork & baked for 45 min at 400 degrees)

2 TBS Adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers (or to taste)

1 inch cube of goat cheese (or to taste)

1 small onion – sliced thick & sauted on olive oil til soft & browning

Grated cheese (cheddar, jack, pepper jack or mozzarella – or a blend)

sliced fresh jalapeno (optional)

1 small can green chiles (optional)

Fresh cilantro

Tortillas

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DIRECTIONS

Mash the baked sweet potato into a creamy texture.  Add adobo sauce to taste.

Saute your onions til they begin to caramelize.  Remove from heat.

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Heat a tortilla in a dry pan over med-high heat.  Layer with sweet potato, goat cheese, grated cheese, sauted onions and jalapeno and/or green chiles (if using) – and maybe some chopped cilantro.  Fold over & place a soup pot or other heavy, heat tolerant item on top your quesadilla.  OR – you can just top the flat tortilla with a second tortilla & continue.  After a minute or so, flip it, put the pan on top of it & cook until your cheese is sufficiently melty.

Cut into slices.  Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.  Serve!

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PRINT THIS QUESADILLA RECIPE

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And just because I have the photos – here is a lighter, easier one.

Cheese Quesadilla with Green Chiles & Cilantro

INGREDIENTS

Tortillas

Cheese

Green Chiles

Cilantro

DIRECTIONS

I think pictures get it all across:

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Serve with pico de gallo!  YUM!

Spinach Pesto Quesadilla with Homemade Spinach Tortillas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

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Hey!  Have you heard?  I wrote a really funny & dirty novel!  www.BathingBook.com.   Check out the reviews on Amazon!  Why not buy a copy?

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I posted a Margarita Pizza Quesadilla recipe with the spinach tortillas earlier this week HERE.  I am posting the tortilla recipe again here but without the photographs.  These tortillas can be made without spinach simply by leaving the spinach out and using 3/4 cup to just over a cup of water.  DELICIOUS!  And easy.  I really recommend trying them.

Anyway – not sure if it is the holidays or the Connecticut tragedy or both plus more – but I really need comfort food these days.  And I haven’t got the energy to get elaborate with the meal.  These quesadillas are a super-fast & easy & yummy & how can you go wrong with melted cheese?

PRINT THIS RECIPE

Spinach Tortillas

INGREDIENTS

2 cups fresh spinach

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1-2 tsp salt

5 TBS olive oil

Water

DIRECTIONS

Steam the spinach in a pan in about a cup of water.  Once wilted, scoop it out with a slotted spoon & cool in in cold water.  RESERVE the hot spinach water.  Squeeze all the water out of the spinach, put the dry ball into a measuring cup & then add the hot spinach water until you have 1 1/2 cups with the ball of spinach in there. (ignore my photo showing 1 cup.  I did end up using 1.5 cups.  If there isn’t enough spinach water – just add more tap water.  Set aside.

In your food processor, pulse the flour, baking powder & salt until blended.  Add the olive oil & pulse until it is incorporated.  Add the spinach & pulse it in & then add the spinach water in a slow stream & pulse until it is completely incorporated and the dough has formed a tacky ball & is traveling around the bowl.  You might not need all the water – you might need a bit extra.  If it is too sticky – just add a bit more flour & pulse it around.

Put the dough on a lightly floured surface & roll it around to eliminate any tackiness that remains.  Dived the dough into four balls & then divide each of those four balls into three more balls.  Each ball should be about the size of a golf ball.  Let the dough rest 10 minutes or so.

Roll out each ball as flat & thin as you can – or until they are about 8 inches across.  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Do not use any oil or cooking spray.   Leave the pan dry.  Cook each tortilla on each side about 20 seconds or until brown spots begin to appear.  Over cooking will make them crispy so err on the side of under-cooking.

Store under a clean kitchen towel as you cook all 12 tortillas.

These can be stored at room temperature in a zip-lock bag on your counter for several days.  Rewarm in the oven wrapped in foil or between damp paper towels in the microwave.

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PRINT PESTO RECIPE

SPINACH PESTO

INGREDIENTS

2 packed cups fresh spinach

40 almonds, crushed & toasted for 5 minutes or so

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 cup olive oil

water for added smoothness

DIRECTIONS

Blend all in a food processor.

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SPINACH PESTO QUESADILLAS

Ingredients

Tortillas

Cheese

Spinach pesto

diced jalapeno (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Heat a dry pan.  Place a tortilla in the pan, spread pesto & sprinkle cheese.  I added diced jalapenos.  Fold & heat until cheese melts.  Devour.  ‘Nuff said.

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Margarita Pizza Quesadilla on Homemade Spinach Tortillas (Vegan)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

 

LARGE BathingandthesinglegirlOrangeV52

 

My debut novel is out!  Check it out!  I think it is HILARIOUS!  I hope you will, too!

www.BathingBook.com

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Yes – yes, I bought the 3 pound bag of spinach at Costco & now I am making a conspicuous number of things using spinach.  At least spinach is good for you.  Not so much the 5 pound bag of grated pizza cheese I bought at Smart & Final but this recipe puts both items to use so it works for me.

These tortillas are EASY to make – if you own a food processor.  I really suggest you try them at least once – because I think you will have the same sense of pride & achievement I did – making such a simple & basic item but so clean & fresh – it makes a huge difference.

Lots of tortilla recipes I looked at used lard or vegetable shortening.  Not only does that sound gross, I don’t have Crisco in my house which would have meant adding more expense to my already bloated grocery tab – so I substituted olive oil.  It worked out just fine!

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 Spinach Tortillas

INGREDIENTS

2 cups fresh spinach

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1-2 tsp salt

5 TBS olive oil

Water

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DIRECTIONS

Steam the spinach in a pan in about a cup of water.  Once wilted, scoop it out with a slotted spoon & cool in in cold water.  RESERVE the hot spinach water.  Squeeze all the water out of the spinach, put the dry ball into a measuring cup & then add the hot spinach water until you have 1 1/2 cups with the ball of spinach in there. (ignore my photo showing 1 cup.  I did end up using 1.5 cups.  If there isn’t enough spinach water – just add more tap water.  Set aside.

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In your food processor, pulse the flour, baking powder & salt until blended.  Add the olive oil & pulse until it is incorporated.  Add the spinach & pulse it in & then add the spinach water in a slow stream & pulse until it is completely incorporated and the dough has formed a tacky ball & is traveling around the bowl.  You might not need all the water – you might need a bit extra.  If it is too sticky – just add a bit more flour & pulse it around.

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Put the dough on a lightly floured surface & roll it around to eliminate any tackiness that remains.  Dived the dough into four balls & then divide each of those four balls into three more balls.  Each ball should be about the size of a golf ball.  Let the dough rest 10 minutes or so.

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Roll out each ball as flat & thin as you can – or until they are about 8 inches across.  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Do not use any oil or cooking spray.   Leave the pan dry.  Cook each tortilla on each side about 20 seconds or until brown spots begin to appear.  Over cooking will make them crispy so err on the side of under-cooking.

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Store under a clean kitchen towel as you cook all 12 tortillas.

These can be stored at room temperature in a zip-lock bag on your counter for several days.  Rewarm in the oven wrapped in foil or between damp paper towels in the microwave.

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Margarita Pizza Quesadillas

INGREDIENTS

Tortillas

tomato

grated mozzarella (or fresh buffalo mozzarella) – or vegan alternative

chopped basil

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat a dry skillet.  Put a tortilla in there & let it warm with the pan.  Add cheese, THINLY sliced tomatoes, chopped basil & heat until cheese begins to melt.  Fold the tortilla over & press.  I put a smaller pan on top to increase the heat & to compress the quesadilla – but this is not necessary.  Once your cheese is good & melted – remove the quesadilla from the pan, slice it up & serve!

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Fiesta Martin Mexican Grill in Inglewood, Ca

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

I hate the airport.  Going to the airport in LA – for me (and likely you, too) – means that I am about to face too many hours hours in a too-small seat with too little to do, read, eat & drink and that I am likely to do these things to the dulcet tones of screaming babies.  Or – it means (half the time) that I am dropping someone off – someone I am sad to see going.  Today – it was the latter.  Today – I dropped off my boyfriend at the end of his Thanksgiving visit so he could head home to Little Rock.  😦

One thing that has made the airport run business more fun, though, has been seeking out little restaurant gems down in that neighborhood – areas I typically only ever drive through (over) on the freeway.  It was an airport run that helped me discover the INCREDIBLE soul food dished up at  The Serving Spoon and the awesomeness that is Pepy’s Galley (A diner AND a bowling alley?  Hey, what the…?).  Today resulted in another incredible find.

Let me introduce you to Fiesta Martin!!!  Mexican food, really good Mexican food, is abundant in Los Angeles.  I can’t believe I let myself squander decades pacified by adequate-at-best Mexican joynts like El Coyote, Mexico City & Mexicali – places that left me saying, “Ooof, OK.  Fine,” with disappointment and some irritation any time anyone insisted we go Mexican for dinner.

Tacos Delta in Silverlake always stood out as the best of what I’d experienced but lately – it seems amazing taco stands & trucks & shacks are popping up everywhere & dishing out incredibly fresh & clean Mexican fare.

Fiesta Martin is a full-blown restaurant with a decent selection of beer & margarita’s – one served with a mini bottle of Corona upended in it like this (images pilfered from Yelp):

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I’m not sure what a margarita tastes like with a mini-beer poured into it & I was unable to sample one today – but they sure look cool.  And check out the festive interior there:

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It would appear they do a $1 Taco Tuesdays thing – which it seems everyone is doing lately.  These never work for me because I do not eat meat or chicken & these $1 taco days always exclude the fish & vegetarian tacos.  But full price tacos are $2 – so what the fuck?  I can swing that.

Today I ordered both the shrimp & fish tacos (soft tacos) and a crunchy potato taco.  Miles, my boyfriend, ordered a chicken quesadilla.  I’d love to show you a picture of him enjoying his traditional Bud Lite & his massive quesadilla – but he isn’t one to be happily photographed.  So – I will just show you how he looked as we waited outside the vet for my pug, Memphis’, nail trimming appointment.

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Aren’t they a cute pair?  Miles looks distinctly suspicious & Memphis looks a bit concerned – but everything, I am happy to report, turned out delightfully there.

While we waited for our food, a huge basket of hot corn chips was delivered along with a salsa that was spiced to perfection.  Then the food came.  Miles’ quesadilla – huge and THICK with cheese & chicken:

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And my three tacos:

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also HUGE (on full-size corn tortillas) and outrageously good.  The two seafood tacos had battered & deep fried seafood in them & were doused with pico de gallo, Mexican crema & thinly shredded cabbage.  The potato taco was simpler with a crunchy taco casing & simply tomato, cabbage & shredded cheese on top with what seemed to be steamed, sliced potato inside.  I am a huge fan of the potato tacos at Senor Fish and the potato taco here was no match for those but, in fairness, it was no match for the two incredible fish tacos that I tried before it, either.  I’m not sure I’d be so impressed with the Senor Fish potato tacos either – if I tried them right after a few bites of a Fiesta Martin shrimp taco.

The other impressive thing about Fiesta Martin is the pricing.  Miles’ quesadilla was $5.99, my tacos were about $2 each and beers were $2.99.  Our bill came to $25 with three beers & a diet Coke on the tab.  Ridiculous!  Just awesome!

While there – I checked in on FourSquare & noticed that someone had mentioned giving the art by the front door a close inspection.  From where I sat in the back, they looked like standard sorta fantasy portraits of old men.  Up close – they are much more.  Take a peek:

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At any rate – our experience here was pure pleasure.  Some folks on Yelp mentioned this place used to have bad service – but that is no longer the case.  Cheerful ladies tended to us very carefully.  The place is lively with all its traditional decoration & music & everything looks very clean.  Yelpers complained the taco bar on Tuesdays can get crazy – but I cannot comment on that.  What I can say is that this place is CHEAP and delicious & I wish it was MUCH closer to my house because I would eat there on a weekly basis.  I recommend it VERY highly as a stop for anyone on the way to drop off a traveler at LAX – especially if that traveler prefers to travel well-fed & content.