Maui Girl Cooks

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” Luciano Pavarotti


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Refrigerator Confidential Day #5

Welcome to Refrigerator Confidential Day #5!  We are not running out of food yet, nor ideas for using what’s left.  I think we are doing a good job this week getting through most of the produce we bought last Saturday.

Wednesday’s Meals with Recipes:

Breakfast
Oatmeal with Granny Smith Apples
Green Tea
Freshly Pressed Ginger Kombucha

Lunch
Quesadilla with Gruyere, Green Peppers, Jalapeños & Swiss Chard

Dinner
Leftover Roasted Carrot Soup
Maui Artichokes with Lemon Aioli
Relish Plate

 

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Oatmeal with Granny Smith Apples

*1/3 cup regular oatmeal {not instant or quick cooking}
Scant 2/3 cup milk of your choice {or you can use water}
Pinch sea salt
1/2 Granny Smith apple, or other apple variety of your choice, diced small {you can leave the peel on if you wish}

Put the oatmeal, milk, salt and apple in a microwave safe bowl.  The bowl should hold 2-3 cups so that the oatmeal doesn’t boil up and over the edge in the microwave.  Cook, uncovered, on high for 1 minute, stir, cook for another minute, stir, and then cook for about 1 more minute.  Take out and let stand for a few minutes, for the oats to absorb the milk.  Top with whatever you like on your oatmeal.  I tried roasted peanuts & a small plop of peanut butter & thought it was pretty tasty.

*I use 1/3 cup oatmeal for 1 serving for me.  My husband likes a larger serving, so for him I use 1/2 cup oatmeal and a scant 1 cup milk.

quesadilla-on-plate

Find the quesadilla recipe right here.

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Steamed Artichokes

Snip any thorns off of the leaves, slice off the top third of the artichoke and trim the stem so the artichoke can stand upright, removing as little as possible from the base.  Rinse the artichokes well, pulling the leaves apart to get out any dirt or critters.  If they are large, you can cut them in half lengthwise, so they will better fit into your steamer.  Rub the cut sides with a lemon to prevent browning.

Put your lovely artichokes into the steamer basket over boiling water.  Cook for 30-40 minutes, or until a leaf pulls out easily when tugged.  Serve immediately, with melted butter, mayonnaise or Lemon Aioli.  If you want to serve the artichokes cold, drop them in an ice bath to stop the cooking, then drain on a kitchen towel in the refrigerator until until ready to serve.

Lemon Aioli

About 2/3 cup mayonnaise {homemade or store bought}
1 clove garlic, mashed into a paste with kosher salt or put through a garlic press
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste {I put more pepper than one would think prudent; it can take quite a bit.}
Fresh lemon juice to taste

Mix all ingredients & chill if not serving immediately.

Relish Plate

Put whatever you want on your relish plate!  We have green onions, pickled beets & sauerkraut.

Relish Plate

What’s gone?

  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 2 artichokes
  • 2 1/2 bunches green onions
  • Roasted Carrot Soup

Here is the refrigerator on Day #5:

Wednesday Fridge

Bon appétit!

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“Cheese – milk’s leap toward immortality.”  Clifton Fadiman

Before we get to tonight’s dinner, these quesadillas, I have some lovely flower pictures from today’s walk to share with you.


And now for the quesadillas!

quesadilla on plate

There are quesadillas, and then there are quesadillas worth eating.  If you would like a quesadilla that is more than a white flour tortilla filled with melted cheese, then keep reading.

Our quesadillas are filled with cooked spinach or Swiss chard {a lot of it}, roasted peppers & cheese.

We love quesadillas and have been tweaking our current recipe for over 5 years, and think they are now just about perfect.  There have been several versions of this recipe, each change making an improvement on an already good thing.  It is our favorite meal to cook, and one we make weekly.  This is truly a “team meal” for us.  I prep everything and my husband does the cooking.  While he is cooking, I clean everything up so that we only have 2 plates to wash when we’re finished eating.  We are a well-oiled machine when it comes to making quesadillas!

Before I get into the details of how to make these scrumptious quesadillas, I should tell you about the tortillas we use.  We eat food that is good for us {at least 95% of the time}, so it was important to find tortillas that are healthy and taste good.  Often times, breads that are healthy taste like cardboard, or if you’re lucky, hay.

Perhaps you have had the unfortunate experience of buying tortillas for a recipe, and then having them go moldy in the refrigerator.  These are the tortillas that we like & here is how we take care of them so they are ready when we want a quesadilla or a wrap.

Fresh Tortillas in Bag  These are tasty tortillas that we can feel good about eating!

blog freezing tortillas  Stagger your tortillas on a cookie sheet & freeze.  They will curl a little, but you can easily put them bag into the bag you bought them in.  They won’t stick together like they would if you just put the whole bag in the freezer.  I used to separate them with a piece of wax paper; totally unnecessary!  When you are ready to use them, put them on a plate, and flip them a few times while they thaw, so that they aren’t as curled.

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Quesadillas with Spinach {or Swiss chard} & Roasted Peppers

This is more of a guideline than a specific recipe, as far as amounts are concerned.  Feel free to adjust quantities & ingredients to your liking!

2 large whole grain tortillas

2 quarts raw spinach or Swiss chard, washed carefully and thoroughly dried, then cut into strips {I mince the stems & sauté them with onions, jalapenos & garlic}

Peppers, cut so that they are in relatively flat pieces {bell peppers, poblanos or Anaheims are all great here}; we use 1 bell pepper, or about 3 smaller size peppers

1/2 small onion, finely diced

1 jalapeno, finely diced {add more or less depending on how much heat you like}; or you can use dried red pepper flakes, Serrano peppers, etc.

3 cloves garlic, minced & allowed to sit for 10 minutes {to achieve the health benefits}

Approximately 4 ounces of cheese, thinly sliced {we like Gruyere because it is a delicious low fat cheese that melts well}

The most time consuming part of this recipe is the prep; once everything is sliced and diced you are ready to put your quesadillas together.

Spray a large pan with pan spray, and then add a film of olive oil.  Sauté the peppers over medium heat, until they have a bit of color and are beginning to get tender.  They do not have to be completely tender.  Remove peppers to a plate lined with a paper towel, and blot to absorb any extra oil.

In the same pan, sauté the onion, jalapeno, garlic and stems over medium heat until almost tender. Add the leaves and toss everything together for about a minute, or until leaves are just wilted.  Remove from the heat.  The leaves should be glossy, dark green and gorgeous.

You are now ready to put your quesadillas together!

Place tortilla on a dinner plate.  On half the tortilla, place the cheese, top with peppers and then the greens. Spray a skillet {we use cast iron} with pan spray and then film with olive oil.  Fold the tortilla in half and put in the skillet preheated to medium to medium-low.  The objective is to crisp the tortilla, heat everything through, melding the cheese with the greens and peppers, without burning the tortilla.  Flip the quesadillas several times;  if you flip one, flip the other.  My husband, the quesadilla cook, said he flips them at least 3 or 4 times.  Adjust the heat so that they do not brown too quickly on one side.  Serve them with the cheese on top, so gravity can draw it down through the greens and peppers.

Cut into thirds or fourths & eat immediately.  I cut the quesadillas with my kitchen shears, cutting through the top tortilla first, and then cut the bottom tortilla with the filling; this ensures the filling not squishing out when you cut them.  We eat ours with Tapatio Hot Sauce {a lot of it!}, and sometimes with a little sour cream or plain yogurt {ok, I sometimes put plain yogurt on mine}.

Notes:
My husband says that a nice glass of red wine is really nice while you are cooking these, and I concur!
* We tried soft goat cheese in these, but weren’t crazy with the results.  We love goat cheese, but not here.
* Go easy on the oil-you don’t want your quesadillas to be greasy.
* Be sure your greens are thoroughly dry, so that they aren’t too wet {soggy quesadillas not great}
* Use a sturdy tortilla.  We tried brown rice tortillas, and while they were super tasty, they cracked right down the middle when we folded them.
* The first time you make these, you may want to make a thinner quesadilla, for ease in turning.  They can be a bit tricky to turn over.
* Jarred roasted peppers are fine!  Before we moved to Maui, we used the jarred piquillo peppers from Trader Joe’s.
* I LOVE a good mouth burn, and usually get one with these quesadillas.  But if you don’t, leave out the hot peppers, simple as that.
* If your quesadilla is a little spicier than you like, sour cream or plain yogurt cools it off very nicely.

Bon appetit!


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Passato of Vegetables with Chard & Croutons

If you are a vegetable lover, you must try this delicious soup.  It goes together quickly so you can have it on the table in under an hour.  It is good hot or cold.

¼ c extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red or yellow onion, finely diced
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 large waxy potato, peeled & diced {Yukon Gold, yellow, white salad and red potatoes are good choices; russets are too mealy}
1 14 ½ ounce can of diced tomatoes
1-2 bunches chard leaves, roughly chopped; ribs removed & finely diced {You can throw in some spinach or dinosaur kale in here too, but I think I would stay away from greens that are too bitter, for this soup.}
1 garlic clove, minced
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
Fresh lemon juice to taste

To finish:  1 c small bread cubes {I usually use sliced bread that I have in the freezer, including the heels.}
Extra virgin olive oil
Parmigiano-Reggiano for shaving

Warm the oil in a pot with a tight-fitting lid.  Add the vegetables, season with ¾ t salt, then cover the pot & cook over low heat for 30 minutes, during which the vegetables will produce quite a bit of delicious juice.  While they are cooking, bring 1 quart of water to a boil.

Carefully puree the cooked vegetables with the hot water, beginning with a small amount and adding more, up to 3 or 4 cups, depending on the thickness you want.  I use 3 cups.  Leave a little texture or make the soup smooth, as you wish {I like biting into a piece of potato or other vegetable, so I never puree it smooth.}. Return it to the heat, taste for salt & season with pepper.  Add lemon juice to taste to sharpen the flavors; I generally add the juice of a whole lemon.  Note: I have found that if I blend the soup until it is very smooth, it becomes quite silky in texture, which we enjoy.  So, that’s how I’m doing it these days.

Crisp the bread cubes in a little olive oil over medium-low heat {or in the oven}, until golden, about 8-10 minutes.  Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil & add the croutons.  Shave cheese over the top & serve.

Recipe adapted from:  Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen {one of my very favorite cookbooks!}