July 8, 2011

summer meals, part 1

Believe it or not, we've been having some amazing stuff from the garden and kitchen lately. I hope to share a few recipes soon, like homemade fig bars and fig-gorgonzola-arugula pizza. Oh, and mayo-free pimento cheese. And the plans for the fall garden (see the squash starts above? Let's hope they make it!).

Sure, our garden is suffering mightily in the heat. . . And there's next to nothing to harvest most of the time. But we have managed to pluck delicious ripe tomatoes from the vines and have peppers, too. And with the frozen herbs I keep in my freezer, a quick summer meal is never too far away.

Lately one of our quick dinner favorites has become the "anything goes quesadilla." No two are alike! I have less of a recipe for you and more of. . . An approach.

• Keep chopped onion in the fridge at all times. This has proved supremely helpful; also, when kept in a glass airtight container, it keeps for at least two weeks. And the glass never holds on to the smell, either. Win-win. Win.

• Gather miscellany vegetables from the garden (chard, peppers, eggplant, squash, and corn have all made an appearance).

• Open a can of pinto or black beans; drain it and get it ready to throw in the pan.

• We like using multi-grain tortillas. They're flavorful and healthy. Cha-ching!

• Use a pan that can saute your veggies and also cook the quesadillas. I use a flat non-stick pan for everything. Sure, a couple of beans leap onto the stovetop, but overall it's nice to use only one dish for this.

• Saute the veggies, add seasonings, and toss in the beans to heat them up. Take your fixin's and pour them onto one of your dinner plates. Keep them in waiting while you throw a tortilla on the pan and add just about a tablespoon of shredded cheese. Let it melt a little, and then add about a half-cup of the filling. Top with another tablespoon of cheese and the next tortilla, and proceed with your quesadilla-making.

• We make three quesadillas to feed two of us (split the third one). It's perfectly filling and always delicious.

That's it! Back with more in less than a month, I promise.