Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A "Whole" New Quesadilla!

Recently, I have been trying to eat healthier when I'm cooking for myself. I've found that cooking veggie and lean protein-based meals not only makes me feel less sluggish, but since I often eat meals for several days after I make them, the veggies last longer than meat. Of course when I go out with friends, or stop at my parents house; Chili Cheese Dip, sugar-laden cocktails, and Columbus' Famous Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream are all definitely on the menu!
However, eating healthy the days that I'm just staying home at least gives me the illusion of having a healthy lifestyle...

Back off my tangent, last night I wanted to get crazy and save the rest of my delicious soba noodle salad for lunch at work today, so I thought I'd get a little experimental and I'm soo glad I did!!!

A while back I was surfing the internet for recipe ideas, as I spend a good percent of my waking hours doing, and I came across a recipe on for a flatbread topped with goat cheese crumbles, sauted onions, and basil.

It was beautiful and  those are three of my favorite ingredients, but goat cheese crumbles? I have a serious relationship with cheese and love a relatively high cheese to bread ratio, obviously crumbles just would not do. I thought maybe I could do a mini "flatbread" with a tortilla as the base and a spreadable goat cheese on the tortilla...ok now we're getting somewhere...and that somewhere is Cheeseland.

So off I went to Whole Foods. I found some whole wheat tortillas, which I had never tried before, and one of my favorite spreadable goat cheeses with garlic and herbs-yes! I thought basil would be too stong an indivdual flavor for what I was going for, so I picked up some fresh baby spinach...but looking back arugala would have been an amazing choice. I do so loove my spicy greens!

A slight rant, most people here would say substituting frozen spinach for the fresh is appropriate here. I am not a food snob and I will sub velveeta, yes, velveeta if I'm too hungry and can't wait for real cheese to melt in a dish. However, there are very few times that I will use frozen spinach rather than fresh and this is definitely not a time for thawing the green!

Ok, I apologize for the lecture-now back to the task at hand. When I started cooking last night, I was making a mini flatbread. Midway thru, I decided to put a second tortilla on top, making a kind of quesadilla-sammich-just to add a little more substance to the meal. The result.was.incredible. When I was finished, I had created...

The QuesadillaWich Chevre  1 serving

     1 med onion, sliced into rings
     1 Tbsp Olive Oil (or any cooking oil)
     1 Tbsp Brown sugar (can use white, or sugar substitute)
     1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
     1 Handful Baby Spinach
     2.5oz Spreadable Goat Cheese (aka Chevre)
     2  8" Whole Wheat Tortillas (you can use regular)

     Heat olive oil in a medium or large frying pan over just-warmer-than medium heat. Add onions and stir, when onions are coated with oil, add brown sugar. Cook onions until they are soft and begin to brown, about 4-5 min. Add Balsamic Vinegar and allow to simmer about 1min, so the onions are coated and have absorbed the vinegar. Pour onions into bowl and set aside.

     Without changing the heat setting, add spinach leaves to pan. I didn't add extra oil because the pan was not completely dry and I wanted the spinach to soak up the rest of the oil. Saute spinach until they warm and begin to wilt, about 1.5min. Add spinach to onions and set aside.

     Spread the goat cheese on one side of both tortillas, like you're making a sandwich.

     Over med heat, place bottom tortilla, cheese-side-up, in the frying pan and place onion-spinach mixture over cheese side of the tortilla. Make sure to spread the mixture out evenly, but not too close to the edges, so the filling doesn't spill out. Top with second tortilla, cheese-side-down.

     Cook quesadilla-wich until one side is lightly toasted, about 1-2 min, then carefully flip and toast the other side for about same length of time. You just want both sides to be lightly browned and stiff to the touch, and the cheese to be warmed.

I sliced pizza-style and ate without utensils. The tangy acid and touch of sweetness from the brown sugar work spectacularly with the onions, and the fresh spinach flavor definitely held it's own.

*Mushrooms would also be delicious in here, maybe baby bellas? I would only use a handful of sliced mushrooms and add them to the brown sugar and onions after they become translucent, about 1 min of cook-time.