Monday, July 12, 2010

Mushroom & spinach quesadillas

The spell has been lifted!  After a much-needed weekend rainstorm, the temperatures have returned to a much more tolerable mid-80s range.  Thank goodness, because I've been slowly dying inside without any items to bake.  Please permit me (and most likely the rest of the northeast) a brief moment to complain.  Last week the weather was hot.  I'm talking wicked hot.  So hot that I totally skipped my normal 3-mile walks at lunch.  So hot that my little flowers needed to be watered not once, but twice, a day.  And, finally, so freakin' scorching that I didn't dream of turning on my oven.  In fact, I can't remember the last time it was on... oh wait, it was when I made these.  (Confession -- I actually made the enchiladas on Saturday and saved the post until then.  Hey, they are delicious either way, right?  Right.)

It was too hot to trek to a local restaurant because I'm pretty sure immense sweating isn't appropriate for dining in public.  I didn't want cereal again for dinner, though I'm not ashamed to admit that at least once a week it is, in fact, what I serve myself when it's either too hot or I'm too impatient to wait to feed my growling stomach after the gym and need some immediate reprieve.  A quick survey of my supplies -- I had some mushrooms left from the pizzeria chicken, of course there was spinach on hand, so I figured I'd whip up some quesadillas.

Total time over heat -- about 7 minutes, but no oven, so whew.  And, what do you know, there is sour cream left for dipping!  Though it wasn't a meal of epic proportions, it was fantastically satisfying.  Something about extreme heat just zaps my appetite for what passes as normal dinner food and sends me in the direction of popsicles.  A small meal with vegetables?  That is a total success in my book when compared to an orange, grape, or cherry frozen novelty.

A quick note -- I'm not fancy enough to have a panini press or anything that is specifically meant for grilling and smashing things at the same time.  However, I've found that, after folding the quesadilla over in half, a heavy bowl placed on top of the tortilla does just fine.  After a few minutes, carefully flip it over and repeat with glass bowl.  Ta da!

Mushroom & Spinach Quesadillas
-makes 2

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced button mushrooms
2 cups baby spinach
1/3 cup diced red onion
Ground black pepper
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1/2 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese (cheddar and pepper jack would work, too)
Sour cream, for serving

In a large nonstick skillet, wilt spinach in oil slightly over medium heat until volume has reduced by half, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add mushrooms and onions to just warm for another two minutes.  Remove to a bowl, and wipe out skillet with a paper towel.

Return pan to heat and place one tortilla in center, top whole (or half if using one tortilla) with a sprinkling of cheese, half of the vegetable mixture, and more cheese.  Lightly season with salt and pepper.  Top vegetables with second tortilla and press slightly, then place large bowl on top and allow to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until you can see that cheese has melted.  Carefully flip and cook on other side in similar fashion.  Repeat for second quesadilla.

Cut each into quarters and serve with sour cream (or salsa or guacamole, if you prefer) for dipping.  And thank your lucky stars that your oven wasn't turned on for even a second :)

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