Kids in the Kitchen: Potato Quesadillas

Glancing through vegetarian blogs this week, I spotted a recipe for potato quesadillas with homemade whole wheat tortillas.  I honestly didn’t follow this recipe, because the idea appealed to me, and I just went with it.  We enjoy mashed potato taquitos and a special Hispanic dish called molotes, which are a homemade corn tortillas dough, wrapped around mashed potatoes and queso fresco and deep fried.  We also love thinly sliced potatoes with rosemary, sea salt and olive oil on pizza and potato strudel made with puff pastry.  All these dishes have in common a very special way the potatoes melt into the dough, creating a unique texture which is very delicious.  This recipe would have been better with uncooked flour tortillas, but I just bought whole wheat flour tortillas and made the quesadillas with them as a quick lunch time treat.  This was an excellent dish for Max to help with.  I baked the potatoes in the microwave for about 10 minutes, and then peeled them with a knife.  Then he grated the potatoes.  This wasn’t his first experience with a grater, but it still takes real concentration to avoid grating his fingers.

Then we filled half of each tortilla with grated potato, and topped with grated cheese.  I got a great deal on some pre-grated cheese this week, and so we used a “Hispanic blend.”  Max was a little timid with the cheese.  Next time, I will make sure there is more cheese on each quesadilla.

Fold the tortillas in half.  Many quesadilla recipes stack two tortillas on top of each other, but they are easier to flip if they are made from a single tortilla.

While assembling the quesadillas, heat a griddle over medium high heat.  Generously butter the skillet, and lay the tortillas on the hot butter, pressing down with a spatula to help them cook evenly and melt the cheese.  Flip after about 3 minutes to grill other side.

Cut in half to serve.

To make 7 quesadillas:

8 small potatoes, scrubbed and poked with a fork

7 whole wheat tortillas

1 1/2 cups grated cheese (I used an Hispanic blend with asadero and cotija)

butter for the skillet

Bake potatoes in the microwave until just soft.  Peel (or not, if your potato skins look fine.  Mine were ugly.) Grated on the large holes of a box grater.  On one half of each tortilla, layer potato and grated cheese.  Fold in half and cook on griddle over medium high heat with plenty of butter.  Serve with salsa and pot beans (if you have them.)

Do you have a special potato dish that is your family’s favorite?  Leave me a recipe or a link in your comments!

Chilaquiles Verdes — Comfort food for a long day

Chilaquiles are an interesting Mexican comfort food first introduced to me from Rick Bayless’ wonderful Mexican cookbooks.  Later, I have tried these in homes of Hispanic friends and in restaurants.  I have eaten them for breakfast, lunch and dinner and they are wonderful.  They are one of those last minute, easy recipes that taste great, are filling and best of all CHEAP!  There are two different styles, red and green.  Red chilaquiles are usually made with what an American would call an enchilada sauce made from dried chiles pasillas or chiles negros.  But  we often turn to the green chilaquiles at our house because we roast and freeze lots of tomatillos in the fall from my mother’s garden.

 

Chilaquiles Verde

Serves 6

 

Chilaquile sauce

Ingredients

12 large tomatillos

1 jalepeno or to taste

2 – 3 cloves garlic

½ bunch cilantro

1 small onion, chopped

2 Tblsp. Olive oil or lard

Salt

 

To serve

12 corn tortillas

Up to 12 eggs

Sour cream

Queso Fresco

Hot sauce of your choice

 

Begin by washing the tomatillos and stripping off their papery husks.  Place on a broiler pan with the jalepeno, stem removed, and broil under high heat until they begin to turn brown, blister and burst on the pan.  Remove to a blender with the garlic, cilantro, and enough water to allow it to blend smoothly.

 

When the tomatillos are smooth, heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the onions and sauté until the onions are soft.  Turn the heat up to medium high, and just before the oil begins to smoke, grab the lid of the pan, dump in the tomatillo sauce and quickly cover.  Then allow this sauce to fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add 4 cups water and salt to taste.  Turn the heat to low and allow to simmer while you fry tortillas and eggs.  The sauce can be made and frozen or refrigerated, then reheated while you make the rest of this dish.

 

To serve:

Cut approximately 12 corn tortillas in quarters and fry in vegetable oil to make crispy tortilla chips.  Store bought tostadas can be substituted in a pinch, but will begin soggy much more quickly, affecting the texture of the finished dish.

Fry an egg or two for each dish.  If you have the free range, organic kind, the beautiful orange yolk is going to look wonderful on your green sauce!

 

When the tortillas are fried, put them in the large skillet with the sauce and stir to coat.  Serve onto a plate.  Top with the fried egg, some sour cream, and a little queso fresco and hot salsa if you enjoy it.

 

ENJOY!