Tacos!

DSC_1393 (1600x1060)We were in the local Kroger store the other day and I spotted a newly stocked item – queso quesadilla.  It’s a white cheese that melts really well without separating into solids and oil.  My understanding is that the folded and grilled tortilla menu item called “quesadilla” gets its name from the cheese and not the other way around.  I used some on these tacos and the bits that are close to the hot, taco seasoned beef are melting quite nicely.

Quesadillas

DSC_5886 [1600x1200]We had some leftover beef from those lunch time burritos and a couple tortillas left in the package so quesadillas seemed doable.  I was hoping to make a meal of roast pork but it just wasn’t going to be ready in time.  I rigged a smoke box from a heavy foil loaf pan and filled it with wood chips to turn the new grill into a smoker – you cover the pan with more foil and poke a few holes into it, then place it next to or atop one of the burners.  It worked pretty well.DSC_3704 [1600x1200]

DSC_3706 [1600x1200]The pork shoulder spent all day in there at around 250-275, I changed the wood chips out three times.  I decided to finish it in the regular oven and it’s in there now, covered with foil, looking for 190 degrees.  Pretty happy with the rig as a smoker, knowing I can get more heat just by turning a knob.  It has enough burners to get easily past 500, I haven’t gone past that yet but a pizza project I have in mind will test the limits.  My pizza stone will fit right in there.

Mmm… quesadillas

These are simple to make, I did these on my cast iron stovetop griddle because it’s large enough to do two of these at a time.Fire up the burners and let the griddle come to heat with a tortilla on there, load it with cheeses of choice.  I had shredded cheddar that worked great.  I cooked some boneless chicken thighs in fajita seasoning in a separate skillet and added those and fresh peppers to the cheese.  Adjust the flame so the tortilla doesn’t burn up, fold it over while the cheese melts.I set them atop a cutting board and cut them into wedges for easier handling, plate them with salsa and sour cream as garnish, add a few more peppers for color and enjoy!

Do it until you get it right

I liked the idea of quesadillas but the try last night left me needing to do it again.  This time it was just the chicken, and much more cheese.  The black bean salsa was fortified with some sweet corn and some more tomatoes and onions.  Added a daub of sour cream.  It was a considerable improvement.

 

Chicken quesadillas with black bean salsa

This dish is so common that it was odd, I thought, that I had never done them before.  It amounts to nothing but a South of the border style toasted cheese sandwich.

Coat one side of a tortilla with oil and place it oil side down in a hot skillet, sprinkle some stuff on top of that, and then lay another oiled tortilla atop it, oil side up this time.  Flip it over when it browns and brown the other side.  An alternate method is to double half of a tortilla over on itself with the fillings inside.  As to fillings, there are no rules.  I would bet that 95% have cheese on them, and many of those get nothing else.  It would make a perfectly serviceable  quesadilla.  Most everyone who goes to the trouble, though, will add more stuff.  Tonight I had some diced roasted chicken, some shredded “taco” cheese, and a daub or four of regular tomato salsa.  Next time I will hold the salsa and double up on the cheese.

As is the usual thing around here, I had some cherry tomatoes that I needed to use somewhere.  Perfect night for some fresh salsa.  I opened a can of black beans and rinsed those off, chopped a bunch of the cherry tomatoes, a few jalapenos, an onion, and splashed in some lime juice.  Some salt and pepper and an hour in the fridge and it came together nicely.