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Corn and Cheese Quesadillas

 
Quesadillas, quesa meaning “cheese” in Spanish, are south-of-the-border grilled cheese sandwiches. Any cheese will do as long as it’s a good melting cheese and not a hard, aged cheese. You can add whatever fillings you like as long as you cook them first. Top your quesadilla with a spoonful of sour cream, salsa, or Pica de Gallo (see below).

What You’ll Need: Serves 1

1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted
1 green onion
1/2 cup grated cheese: jack or pepper-jack, Muenster, mild cheddar, smoked gouda, Chihuahua (a Mexican melting cheese)
2 corn tortillas or 1 flour tortilla
2 teaspoons oil

What You’ll Do:

1. Chop the green onion into thin circles, grate cheese, and set them next to the stove, along with the defrosted corn. (Frozen corn is already cooked.)  Heat the oil over medium heat in the non-stick skillet. Tilt the skillet so the oil spreads evenly.

2. When the oil is hot, lay a tortilla or two, if they fit, in the skillet. Sprinkle cheese on one-half of the tortilla. Next, sprinkle the corn and green onions over the cheese. Fold the empty tortilla half over the other half, press down.

3. When the bottom of the tortilla has just started to brown, flip it over with a pancake turner to brown on the other side. Don’t let the tortilla get too brown or it will get hard – quesadillas should be flexible. Cut the quesadilla in half and serve.

Other ideas: Possible fillings are chopped, frozen spinach (defrosted with the water squeezed out), sautéed mushrooms and red onion, broccoli bits, diced sweet peppers or zucchini, shredded chicken or ham
 
Pica de Gallo     
 
           

What You’ll Need: Serves 2-4  

Also called salsa fria (cold sauce) or salsa fresca (fresh sauce), you may have had this chunky relish at a Mexican restaurant. Prepare this easy salsa no longer than an hour before you make the quesadillas. If you don’t want to fool around with hot peppers, add a few drops of hot sauce instead.

2 medium tomatoes
1/2 medium red or yellow onion
1/2 teaspoon, or more, of minced jalapeno pepper
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons each: olive oil, lime juice
Dash of sugar, salt to taste

What You’ll Do:

1. Using a serrated knife, cut out the core and slice the tomatoes into quarter-inch slices.  Cut each slice into a quarter-inch dice. Do the same to the onion. Put into a medium mixing bowl.

2. Using a chef’s knife, cut the hot pepper in half and mince. Chop the cilantro leaves. Add to the bowl along with the olive oil, lime juice, sugar, and salt. Winter tomatoes won’t have much flavor so you may need more salt. Stir and serve over the quesadillas.  

Tools:

Large non-stick skillet
Pancake turner
Cutting board
Serrated knife
Chefs knife
Measuring cups and spoons
Medium mixing bowl

-Anne Vassal 

BY GL ON 2/14/2009 7:00:00 AM

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