Q for … I can’t think of an Indian dish starting with Q – so today, Q is for Quesadillas.
Quesadillas all Weekend
Quesadillas are a versatile dish that can incorporate the flavors of your favorite cuisine.
I have been reading a lot lately about how to save money. One of the constants in life is eating-no matter the economic climate. I read with fascination people who are able to shop for a week for a family of 4 for $60. I go to the store and buy barely enough for 2 meals and have spent close to that amount. Then I think that those people live in Podunk City, Nowhere. Then I get annoyed and carry on living the way that I do buying expensive grocery items and not keeping tabs on how much I am spending. But in the back of my mind I always fantasize to be one of those budget keeping people.
I am apartment sitting for a friend for the weekend and got to her place on Saturday afternoon. I took the subway in and so brought no groceries with me. That evening I went down to get some stuff. I wasn’t sure what I was going to get or where. She lives in a neighborhood with plenty of choices. I walked past the Key Food and the Damascus Bakery. A brand new Trader Joe’s opened around the corner and I thought I would go in there but shied away from the huge crowds that I saw milling about. I thought I’d just buy some pre-made stuff and not worry about it. A movie was about to start on HBO in half and hour. I reprimanded my self and kept walking on. I came to Perelandra. This is a natural/organic food store that I have only encountered in Brooklyn. I knew I needed to get toothpaste and milk for my morning coffee. I put those 2 things in my basket and started to cruise the aisles. It is a very small store and so I must have gone around twice before I knew what I was going to get. The milk in my cart was calling out for some cereal that I would have for breakfast. I have talked about my partaking of breakfast every morning in my previous posts. I stood in front of all the boxes for quite some time and finally settled on Raisin Bran.
What am I going to have for dinner tonight? Something bread related since I felt too lazy to boil pasta at this late hour. I picked up tortillas since a loaf bread seemed too breakfasty- and I already had the cereal. Tortillas only meant one thing for dinner-Quesadillas. I went to the meat freezer and got sausages-there is not much of a choice of meats here. Now for some cheese. Pre-grated while convenient is a rip off. I got the jalapeno pepper jack cheese. Now some creamy thing. Since I was in such a health-oriented store I was feeling noble. Why not some yogurt instead of sour cream? Okay Greek yogurt. The larger container gave me sticker shock- almost 6 bucks – so I got the small one for less that 2 bucks. Right now I am thinking that this stuff is going to cost me an arm and a leg in this earthy crunchy store and I am just a couple of blocks from Trader Joe’s and Key Food where my bill would have been easily 1/2 less of what is was going to be here. It was getting later and later -never go food shopping hungry and without a shopping list. Quesadillas need some sort of salsa – something I could make easily but not now. I went to the salsa aisle and still with a virtuous ring over my head got some bean dip. Without even calculating how much all this would add up – I was feeling poor and wasn’t going to buy any vegetables.
Its not easy trying to be healthful and eat organic food and non antibiotic injected animals etc. I totally understand why people who are economically challenged buy inferior quality food and convenience food-because it is soooo much cheaper. Not just a few cents here and there-almost 50 percent less.
I am at the checkout and the girl is very polite and making small talk-something that doesn’t happen at the supermarket where I live. She puts the 8 things I bought in a bag and tells me $36.44. I put on my poker face like I do this everyday and that I have enough money to warrant this shopping and hand her 2 twenties.
I realize that one can have 1 takeout meal for $20 and I wasn’t going to eat all of this in one sitting – but it still seemed like a lot of money for the amount of things I bought. Essentially 2 meals and dribs and drabs of others and toothpaste that I would use for over 1 month. It is still a lot of money-there is no denying that.
I walked home thinking of the people who are running a household of 4 and who have to feed their families everyday and don’t make huge salaries and don’t have a lot of time.
I am not those people and so I set about making my dinner for 1.
Slice 2 sausages and cook with a quarter of sliced onion. Dice a quarter of an onion (scallions will do nicely here). Slice or grate your favorite cheese (preferably something that melts and strong enough to stand up to strong flavors-like pepper jack or sharp cheddar). A few leaves of cilantro.
Assemble the quesadilla by spreading a table spoon of the black bean salsa on the tortilla. Place the cheese in a single layer on half of the tortilla. Add half the sausage onion mix and sprinkle some of the diced raw onion and a few leaves of cilantro. Fold over the tortilla and create a half moon. Put it to side and make the second tortilla.
Now heat a pan that will fit the quesadilla comfortably and add a tsp. of olive oil (or any neutral tasting oil like canola). Gently place the half moon like tortilla in the pan and let it cook on one side on medium high heat. You should let the cheese melt and resist the urge to move or turn the quesadilla for about a minute. Now flip it with a spatula taking care not to drop any of the ingredients from the quesadilla. Cook another minute or so until the outside of the tortilla looks golden brown and slightly crispy.
Place the quesadilla on a cutting board and cut into 4 pieces.
Now put on a plate, top with yogurt or sourcream and the salsa. Garnish with cilantro.
Enjoy Quesadillas hot and don’t fret the tough economic down turn while you eat.
Do what I say and not necessarily what I do:
Yogurt is not an entirely satisfactory substitute for Sour Cream.
Don’t put too much of the Black Bean Dip on the tortilla.
The Organic 7-grain tortilla wraps may be good for me but they don’t crisp up like the overly processed flour tortillas.
Grate the cheese as opposed to slice it (my friend didn’t seem to have a box grater).
Some sort of tomato-ey thing is important…a salsa or something.
What are your favorite fillings for quesadillas?
Until I eat again!