Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Living out of boxes doesn't mean you're stuck with takeout

Hi  there! Ouch!

I moved in with my girlfriend Kari this past Sunday and, due to a combination of a) Sweet Jesus we have a lot of stuff! and b) being too effing sore and tired to unpack stuff, one would think that we'd be living off of pizza and McDonald's. Like heck! With a little bit of work and determination, you can make a pretty spiffy meal with a few tools and minimal space.

I consider this post a kind of throwback to the good ol' "Dude, Cook" days when the purpose of the blog was to demonstrate how to make a good meal with minimal tools, space and knowhow.

So, there I was on Monday, day after the move, wallowing in aches and fatigue and with zero clue as to what I could make for dinner (I had the day off but Kari had to work, so I was obviously in charge of cooking that night!). Luckily, I broke out my cookbook collection and found a book on Southwestern cooking I'd picked up from the discount rack at Chapters.

In it I found a simple quesadilla recipe that I was able to bash out fairly easily with a few twists. In case you've been living under a culinary rock, a quesadilla is basically when you take a flour tortilla, top it with cheese and other goodness, top that with another tortilla, and fry it or bake it until the cheese melts and the tortillas are crispy. It's almost a kind of Mexican grilled cheese.

But chances are you've had them a gazillion times in some pub environment.

Also, in case you're still under the rock, chorizo is a kind of Spanish sausage. It's super tasty. It can usually be found in hot or mild.

Anyhoo, here it is, the first meal made in my new apartment, using four implements (spoon, spatula, kitchen knife and frying pan) and a couple of plates.

Chorizo and Cheddar Quesadillas

Makes 3 large quesadillas (6 appetizer sized servings or 3 meal-sized)


- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 red pepper, finely diced
- 1/2 tomato, finely diced
- 150 g chorizo sausage, sliced in half, then chopped (I prefer to use hot. Makes the jalapeno unnecessary)
- 1 cup grated extra-old cheddar, refrigerated (this helps with the mixing)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp minced jalapeno (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6 flour tortillas (I prefer whole wheat)
- 3 tbsp vegetable or olive oil


- In a large bowl, mix green onion, red pepper, tomato, chorizo, cheddar, garlic, jalapeno (if using) and salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in large frying pan on medium heat. Swirl to coat bottom of pan with oil.
- Once oil is hot, gently lay one tortilla flat in the pan. Spoon 1/3 of the filling and spread across tortilla with back of spoon or spatula.
- Cover with another tortilla and press down using spatula (here's where the comparison with grilled cheese comes in)
- Flip with spatula once bottom of quesadilla is golden brown and crispy. Press down again with spatula, frying until golden brown.
- Cut quesadilla into quarters and place in warmed oven.
- Repeat steps with 4 remaining tortillas.
- Serve quesadillas with sour cream, salsa and/or favourite hot sauce. And cold, cold beer!

See, easy enough, delicious, and minimal clean-up!


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