Applied Quesadilla Theory
June 20, 2008
I have definitely laid this down in print somewhere else.
David’s Kitchen Axiom No. 5: With a little imagination, anything can be a quesadilla.
And I mean it. Given tortillas, grease, and heat, anything in your kitchen can be made into a delightful quesadilla! But wait, you say. David, doesn’t quesadilla just mean ‘little cheesy thing’ in Spanish? Don’t you need cheese?
Oh, America. How little you know!
… Well, okay. You are right, technically. But I am more right, because anything in your kitchen can be successfully encased between two tortillas and cooked with some olive oil in a skillet, and rather than calling that a “pan-fried tortilla sandwich”, I propose the more familiar title. You can call it what you want, America.
But really. When in doubt, a sandwich is almost always your best option, especially when you’re trying to clean out the fridge. I kid you not, this can be done with anything: I made a quesadilla once with leftover tilapia and tarragon cream sauce, and it was delicious. Give it a try. What’s in your fridge right now, for example?
Say you’ve got some leftover barbecued chicken and some steamed broccoli (this is what is in my fridge at present, among other things). In fact let’s see what happens, here! Let’s do this, America!
Okay. Leftover blackened cajun chicken that Mama barbecued from the evening previous. We got some of that, we got some broccoli, we got… oh! Oh hell yeah! We have some jalapeño pepper that I chopped up about four days ago. Ooooh this is gonna be good.
Okay, I like to make my quesadillas primarily about the vegetables. You may have noticed that I am now eating poultry. Well. Yes. Red meat is a no, often enough, with rare exceptions (well. medium rare exceptions) But I’m trying to get the entire family to scale back on eating meat, and I think we can all have a little animal protein, so long as we have less of it overall. So we have lots of vegetation to counteract it.
So note the proportion: three or four parts vegetable to one part animal. I think that’s probably going to be my general rule of law from now on. We have, looking like a weather-worn Italian flag (or a brand new and spunky Irish flag), orange bell pepper, onion, and broccoli, with that little sidebar of garlic and jalapeño.
A quesadilla is one of those foods that can just sort of fit around anything in the fridge, like I said; you can clean out the refrigerator with it, you can stretch a single barbecued chicken breast into a meal, it gets lipstick stains off your collar, it’s new, it’s improved, it’s old-fashioned, it never needs winding, never needs winding, never needs winding (apologies to Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan).
So a little olive oil and a skillet and I am in business, here. And I’m not picky; I put it all together in the one pan.
A little cheese, a few tortillas, and you’ve got yourself a sandwich. I like to squeeze lime juice over it. Not a lot – just a lil’ spritz.
Fabulous. It all works out really nice, and tastes lovely. At least, with savory things.
Behold the fabulous train wreck that was the frutaycremadilla, a concoction J. and I came up with a few weeks ago.
That was my idea. We had a lot of fruit at the time. And some whipped cream.
Look, I’ll say right now that this was maybe a dumb idea. But it was a fantastic dumb idea. (Those are the best kind.)
Yeah, don’t do this.
Sure, it seems like a great idea. The warm fruit, the crispy tortilla, the soft, cool whipped cream… … the soft, cool whipped cream. … Damn it, I should have thought that through.
David’s Kitchen Axiom No. 5: Think it through.
So J. and I tried to make a quesadilla with fruit and whipped cream (and J. decided that it should be a cremayfrutadilla; nomenclature to, y’know, fit the contents), and everything was going swimmingly until that first incision. I think those are J’s hands, not mine, because A) of the way he’s holding the knife and B) the fact that the backs of my palms are hairier. Yeah. Sorry.
J. made the cut, and…
There was splattage. There was leakage.
The whole thing was a gorram disaster. I will not post the image of J. attempting to eat said disaster, because it got all over him and it’s embarrassing for both of us, okay? I don’t even have those pictures. He does. … Because I took them with his camera.