Friday, January 18, 2013

Roasted Corn & Bacon Quesadillas

Lately, I’ve been craving Mexican food, like RULL bad.  When I lived in Phoenix, it was easily accessible.  All you had to do was stick your nose in the air and take a deep breath and you’d know where to find the nearest tacos, tortas, chimichangas and menudo.  Of course I had my favorite restaurants and dishes, but they really were available anywhere and everywhere. 

Now, living in the Middle West, they are much harder to come by.  I sure miss the old days when, after a drunken night on the town, I could revel in some Carne Asada French Fries on the walk home.   I have yet to find this greasy, magnificent treat in CBUS. 

Living away from the ubiquitous taquerias of Phoenix, I now make my Mexican food at home.  Good thing Sean and our roommate Morgan love spicy meat, rice and beans wrapped in tortillas as much as I do. 

So, to jump back into Mexican food, I’m making easy Quesadillas.  When I was in college, people called these “cheese crisps” and it always turned me off.  The “crisp” part never made it to the plate.  Melted cheese in flaccid tortillas.  Ehh.  No thanks.  Then, I tasted some gourmet quesadillas.  I’ll never go back to cheese crisps.  To make a successful quesadilla, all you need are a few layers of flavor and you’re set to go!  Keep it interesting and your guests will keep coming back for more.  Here’s how I make mine:

Cooked bacon, in pieces
Corn (off of the cobb)
Onion, petalled*
Red Pepper, in small slices
Colby Jack cheese, shredded
Flour tortillas
[Add grilled chicken to make this a meal]

Cilantro and Green Onion Sour Cream (recipe follows)
More cilantro
Avocado or guacamole

*Petalled = sliced.  To me, they look more like petals than slices.

Preheat the oven to broil.  Spread your corn out on a cookie sheet (fresh is best, frozen is fine).  Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil.  Toss until it is evenly coated.  Cook in the oven until the corn starts to brown and crisp up, about 5 minutes.  Do not let the corn burn or else it will be too hard to chew. 

 Heat a medium skillet with 2 T. olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and red pepper and sauté until they are caramel-colored and sweet.  Remove from the heat and set aside. 

Lower the heat of the oven to 375.  On a separate cookie sheet, lay out your tortillas.  To each, add some bacon, roasted corn, onions and peppers and cheese.  Place another tortilla on top and press down lightly to secure it.  Once the cheese melts, the quesadilla will stay together.  Place the cookie sheet in the oven for 15 minutes or so until the tortillas are crisp and golden brown.  Remove and slice into wedges.  Garnish with Cilantro Green Onion Sour Cream, fresh avocado or guacamole and cilantro.  

Cilantro and Green Onion Sour Cream

3 T. cilantro, finely chopped
3 green onions, finely diced
1 Pint sour cream
Salt & Pepper

In a bowl, combine the cilantro, green onions and sour cream.  Season with salt and pepper and stir until thoroughly combined.  Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours for the flavors to marry.  

Bonus:  Roasted Corn Guacamole

1 Avocado, cubed
1 Tomato, diced
1/4 Red onion, diced
1/2 C. roasted corn
1 T. Cilantro, finely chopped
Squeeze of lemon juice
Salt & Pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, toss all ingredients.  Serve with tortilla chips or quesadillas.

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