Monthly Archives: November 2011

Quesadilla

Quesadilla is one of my favorite dishes. Quesadillas are normally corn or flour tortilla filled with veggies, meat and cheese and cooked on both sides until the cheese melts. You can use any vegetable combination you want in this dish. I like whole wheat since it is healthy. Also you can replace mozzarella cheese with any of your choice like shredded cheddar, mix of different cheese etc. Since the cooking time of tortilla is very short, vegetables must be cooked ahead before filling the quesadillas. Red onion gives a very strong flavor for this dish. Also mixing green and red/orange pepper gives a different flavor and a slight sweet taste.


Ingredients:

  • 4  (10 inch) whole wheat flour tortilla
  • ½ lb bell pepper (green + orange/red)
  • 6 oz button mushroom
  • ½ cup sliced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Method:

  • Slice bell peppers into thin strips.
  • Add oil to skillet and when hot, add peppers and onion and sauté until half cooked.
  • Add mushroom to the skillet and cook until vegetables are cooked but still crisp.
  • Divide vegetables into 2 portions.  Do the same with cheese.
  • Wipe the skillet clean with paper towel and spray a little oil
  • Add a tortilla to the skillet and sprinkle some cheese
  • Top with half of the cooked vegetables spreading evenly leaving about ½ inch at the ends.
  • Sprinkle with cheese on the top
  • Cover with the other tortilla and cook on low flame until cheese is melted
  • Turn over carefully and cook until cheese is melted on the other side
  • Place quesadilla on a cutting board and cut into wedges
  • Serve with guacamole or tomato salsa and sour cream
  • Makes 2 quesadilla

Variations: After adding filling vegetables to the tortilla you can add extra ingredients you like such as fresh chopped tomatoes, black olives, cilantro, corn etc.

Spicy Beet/Beetroot Curry

In Sri Lanka Beets are commonly called as Beetroot.  Fresh beets have an earthy flavor like no other vegetable.  They are very easy to cook and have a very distinct sweet taste.  Beets can be used in salads, as a side dish and boiled/steamed.  My mother used to make this spicy beet curry, and beet varai.  I used to run away whenever she cooked beet curry.  But I always loved the beet varai.  So last week when I bought a bunch of fresh beets, I thought of making this dish again.  It came out quite good but still I am not a fan of beet curry.  I added coconut milk which gives a distinct flavor to this dish – in combination of the earthy beet flavor.  If you are health conscious you can replace coconut milk with normal 2% milk or soy milk.  But I think you will be missing that distinct flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium beets/ ½ lb beets
  • ½ cup sliced onion
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 green chilies split lengthwise
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons chili powder (Sri Lankan Version)
  • 2 tablespoon thick coconut milk
  • Few curry leaves
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Peel and wash the beets
  • Cut them into thin cubes and set aside
  • Add oil to a covered saucepan and when hot add onion and sauté for about lightly golden
  • Add green chilies and sauté for another minutes in low flame
  • Now add beets and mix well and sauté in medium flame for about 5 minutes stirring often
  • Add water, chili powder, salt, coconut milk and bring to boil
  • Lower heat to medium and cover and cook for about 7- 8 minutes or the gravy becomes quite thick.
  • Add curry leaves and cook for another minutes.  At this point the curry should be thick and very little gravy.
  • Serve warm with rice
  • Serves about 3 as a side dish.


Bruschetta

Bruschetta is a very simple dish to make.   It just starts with slices of baguette as a base and any toppings you wish.  Normally tomatoes are parboiled and peeled before making this dish. But when boiled and peeled, tomatoes have a tendency to become mushy and soggy.  So I thought of using fresh tomatoes with some sundried tomatoes which gives a very strong flavor.  But the options are endless.  You can use any topping as you wish.  See variations below.

Ingredients:

  • 5 slices of French bread/baguette
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large tomatoes on the vine
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 sundried tomatoes in oil
  • 5 – 6 pitted black olives chopped
  • Couple of fresh basil leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Mozzarella cheese to sprinkle

Method

  • Brush olive oil to baguette and toast until lightly golden and set aside
  • Chop tomatoes into very small pieces, also chop the sun dried tomatoes into small pieces
  • In a bowl mix chopped tomato, minced garlic, sun dried tomato and salt.  Add about 2 or 3 drops of olive oil and mix thoroughly
  • Top each baguette with a spoonful of the tomato mixture and sprinkle with black olives and basil leaves
  • Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and broil at 450F for about a minute or until cheese is melted and start turning golden
  • Serve warm

Variations: Try using different herbs such as parsley.  Instead of just tomatoes try mixing white/navy beans with tomatoes as a topping or another variation can be using portabella mushrooms.  When using portabella mushroom, try sautéing with different spices such as ground coriander, cumin and paprika.

Watercress Soup

Watercress is an aquatic or semi aquatic plant belongs to family Cruciferae (mustard family).  It has a slight bitter and pungent taste.  Watercress can be added to sandwiches or to salads to add extra strong taste.  Watercress contains a significant amount of iron, calcium, folic acid, and vitamins such as A and C.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts of leeks only) + 1 green leaf of a leek
  • ½ lb potatoes (Russet is better)
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 3 ½ cups vegetable stock
  • About ¾ lb watercress (thick stem removed)
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  • Peel, wash and cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes.
  • Set aside 2 inch piece of leek and cut the rest into thin rounds.
  • Chop garlic into very small pieces
  • In a heavy saucepan heat oil and add garlic and leek and sauté for about 3 minutes
  • Add potatoes and cook about 3 – 4 minutes stirring constantly.
  • Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender
  • Add watercress and simmer for about 5 minutes
  • Cool for a couple of minutes and puree soup in a blender until smooth
  • Transfer soup back to saucepan and stir in milk and heat lightly
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Transfer soup into bowls and add lemon juice
  • Top with fried leeks
  • For Topping:  Slit the 2 inch piece leek and cut them lengthwise into thin strips.  Cut the leaf also into thin strips.  Half fill a small pan with oil and once hot (until a cube of bread crumb browns in 30 seconds) add the shredded leek and deep-fry for about a minute or until browned and crisp
  • Serves: 4