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November 7, 2009 / kormanmatthew

Quesadillas, because I can

Using my short amount of experience working at a Mexican restaurant at the promenade on the Ocean City Boardwalk, NJ, I have retained some minimal lessons necessary to make better, more efficient Mexican-style food. Most Americana (South-Western inspired) Mexican food (tacos, fajitas, etc.) is prepared in similar fashion usually no matter where you are. Why mess with recipes that have already proven to be successful and enjoyable just the way they are? Because – and this is always an important lesson when it comes to food – food can always be changed.

After leaving the small restaurant my alterations of the various recipes still continues. My favorite recipe that we made (and everyone else’s favorite, it seemed) was for quesadillas. Part of the benefit of working with the recipe in the restaurant was that all the ingredients were ready for use and the final product typically would take less than three minutes to complete. With that ease of access and pace, learning the recipe, methods, and ways to alter it were very simple. Attempting the same thing in one’s own kitchen? Not quite as fast.

Ingredients –

(1-2) chicken breast(s), cut into smaller pieces, raw; (1) onion, cut length-wise; (1) bell pepper, cut into small strips; (1-3) jalapeno pepper(s), diced;  red wine vinegar; olive oil; chili oil; black pepper; salt; cayenne pepper; cumin; butter; tortillas; sour cream; shredded cheese; salsa (optional)

  • Cut the raw chicken into smaller pieces, placing them in a small bowl. Add appropriate amount of red wine vinegar (about 1/10 of the bowl size), chili oil, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, cumin, and any additional spices if see fitting.
  • Cut the onion lengthwise and add it a bowl with the chopped bell pepper and diced jalapeno(s)
  • Add the marinated chicken to a medium-sized pan with butter, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook until just about finished. Place in a bowl on the side.
  • Sautee the onion and peppers in a medium-sized pan until browned. Add chicken until all are fully cooked. Place in a bowl on the side
  • In another pan of similar size (or the same pan, cleaned), add a tortilla. The tortilla should be the exact size or smaller than the used pan (warm tortillas for several seconds in a microwave or the oven until their loose). Place bowl contents in the tortilla. Add appropriate amount of shredded cheese.
  • (Tricky part) Fold the tortilla with the contents inside into a half in the pan. Cook each side until tortilla is slightly browned.
  • Cut quesadilla into half, or quarters. Serve with sour cream or salsa (optional).

Finished quesadilla

The finished product should be spicy (as most of my food is) and very satisfying. Serving with sour cream and/or salsa usually adds a better finishing touch to the recipe, but either are not necessary for a complete quesadilla.


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