Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My favorite quesadilla!

Three years ago, during my first summer as an intern at the San Diego Zoo, my friend Ben and I had dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Hillcrest called Baja Betty's. After perusing the menu it turned out that one of my vegetarian options was a mushroom quesadilla. Sounds simple, right? It changed my life. A simple combination of cheese and mushrooms, topped with a little bit of sour cream and guacamole, I ate the whole thing and could hardly walk home afterwards.  It was fantastic. Before that night, I had a “meh” relationship with mushrooms—they weren’t something I ate very often, or very much of. After that night they became one of my kitchen cornerstones!  One of my favorite super simple things to eat is a piece of whole wheat toast topped with mushrooms that have been sautéed with garlic and crushed red pepper with mozzarella cheese melted on top. I love the meaty flavor that mushrooms provide, and add them to stir fries, pasta, almost anything!
So today I’m reminiscing with a mushroom quesadilla.

It's incredibly easy. Unless I'm feeling lazy, I saute the mushrooms ahead of time. This enhances their meaty flavor and shrinks them down, so you can fit more mushrooms in the quesadilla! Then I tossed a tortilla in my frying pan, sprinkled grated monterey jack cheese on top, and let it melt. When the cheese had melted a little bit I lay the mushrooms on, put the topper tortilla on, and give everything a good squish together. I then flip it over and let the tortilla crisp up. Microwave quesadilla have nothing on the ones you make on the stove! I love the crispness the tortillas get when you cook them in a frying pan.

And there you have it. When the cheese is well melted and the tortillas nice and crispy on the outside, slide the completed little masterpiece onto a place and cut up. I added some mashed avocado and salsa to my plate, then took lunch out to the patio where I immediately scarfed it down. I'm thinking this lunch may see an encore presentation tomorrow.

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