Black bean quesadillas with cherry tomatoes and cilantro salad
It’s always interesting to see what other food bloggers write about. I have looked around on the internet and it seems the trend at the moment is to reflect about the change of season. It’s very tempting to talk about the change in weather and how one is emerging from winter hibernation. Some are still writing about making soups and curling up on the sofa with a cashmere blanket and a good (cook)book, others are well into spring, cooking with asparagus and artichokes. Each blogger has her style but I find that there is a common theme revolving around seasonality in and out of the kitchen. There are many engaging writers and a lot of talent out there in bloggersphere (see some of my favourites here). One interesting observation I made is that the more personal the writing, the more engaged are the readers. Readers seem to connect if reveal of yourself. Some blogging advisors say that if you want to stay anonymous fine, but perhaps blogging then is not for you. What do you think?
In my own kitchen at the moment I cook whatever I feel like. Spring is not yet evident in our produce section so no asparagus and artichokes for us. The only touch of spring in my kitchen is the series of potted herbs that I planted recently to kick start the season indoors. It’s still rather grey outside but getting warmer. Our gardener Linda came this morning with her team of of three to do spring cleanup and begin to wake up our rooftop perennials from their winter slumber. Lavender, hydrangeas, lilacs, wisteria. The annuals will come a little later.
We are just settling in after an extended stay in the Yucatan penninsula of Mexico. It was a fun adventure, culinary and otherwise, and I am still a little “under the influence” of Mexican cuisine. While there, I cooked quite often with black beans. The beans in Mexico are completely different than here (50th parallel). They cook in no time and apparently do not even require soaking (I soak them anyway, old habits die hard). I brought back a bag of black beans and finally put it to use in these quesadillas.
Quesadillas are easy to make. I use flour tortillas, spread some filling on one half tortilla, fold the other half over and quick sauté both sides in a skillet brushed with oil. It is nice to serve this with a side salad and I usually make a pico de gallo of some sort to go with it, although I have made it with a Mexican style slaw and that was a good match as well. You can make this dish vegan (mine) or with cheese and sour cream (my husband’s) and either way it is good.
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small red pepper, diced
4 cups cooked black beans
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup prepared tomato salsa
4 small flour tortillas
Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1/3 cup feta, crumbled
A small handful cilantro
Sour creamCcherry tomato salad: see below
Heat oil in a large skillet, add onion and cook until softened but not browned.
Add garlic and red pepper and cook until; pepper is softened.
Add the beans, cumin, taco seasoning and tomato salsa and bring to a simmer.
Lower heat and let cook for a few minutes stirring frequently.
When the beans are heated through mash some of them with a potato masher, leaving some beans intact.
Taste and correct the seasoning.
Lay each tortilla on the work surface.
Spoon some of the beans mixture over half of the tortilla.
Top with the two cheeses and cilantro.
Fold the other half over and press gently with your palm being careful not to let the filling ooze out.
Brush a medium skillet with oil and heat it up.
Add the tortillas, two at a time and cook on each side until it is golden.
Remove to a plate and continue with the remaining tortillas.
Place each cooked quesadilla on the cutting board and cut each in half.
Serve 2-3 pieces per person together with the cherry tomato salad and sour cream if you wish.
Cherry tomato salad:
1 basket cherry tomatoes, each cut in half
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
2/3 cup cilantro, chopped
Combine all the ingredients, add salt and mix well.