In an attempt to branch out and due to menu planning on the fly at Trader Joe’s while on the phone with my mom, I decided to make chicken quesadillas for dinner one night last week. I bought:
-A packet of small corn tortillas
-A package of chicken tenders
-Guacamole (which comes in two clever little sealed packets so you don’t open a whole pound at once)
-A container of “Salsa makings” or something along those lines, containing two shallots, three roma tomatoes, one lime, one jalapeño and a couple cloves of garlic
Once I got home I made salsa using the tomatoes, too much shallot, about two-thirds the juice of the lime, a tiny tiny tiny amount of the jalapeño, and salt (we are both spicy-food wimps and I hate cilantro—not the makings of stellar salsa…). I used the cuisinart stick blender’s mini-prep attachment (which I think I may have later ruined by stupidly tossing the top part (not the stick blender, but the dome that connects the blender to the bowl) in the dishwasher, eek!) to dice up the shallots very, very fine—it worked great.
12 seconds later:
The salsa was only so-so—too much shallot and not enough lime? Also the tomatoes were as blah as you’d expect in February; I don’t know what I was thinking.
I used a bit of the chopped shallot to make a lemon vinaigrette for salad, and put the salsa and salad dressing to the side. Next I made a marinade for the chicken, trying to remember what my mom had told me over the phone. I used the rest of the lime juice, some lemon juice, a bunch of the shallot, a little brown sugar, a couple slices of the jalapeño, and a bit of oil. I cut the chicken tenders into small pieces and marinated them for about 15 minutes (as Mom warned, they will cook in the citrus, like ceviche, if you marinate too long!).
I sautéed the chicken in a nonstick pan—I drained off as much marinade as I could but I didn’t mop the chicken off or anything, and the marinade bubbled up a lot and then caramelized on the chicken, which was tasty.
I set the chicken (a little undercooked so it wouldn’t dry out) to the side and heated up our big griddle. I didn’t get quite the right heat/time balance to make the quesadillas crispy and melty but not tough. I always used to use flour tortillas, which get crunchy but not so hard if you leave them on the heat too long. The corn ones definitely require different timing.
We ate the tortillas with the salad, salsa and guacamole. I’ll try again soon, but I had forgotten that I really don’t love anything but cheese in quesadillas. Maybe I’ll do soft tacos instead?
BTW, I’m writing this post on the Acela from NYC to Boston. I’m online thanks to a tip from a co-worker—turns out you can get t-mobile to help you set up your computer to use an internet-enabled cellphone (I have a blackberry pearl) as a modem. Amazing!!!! I’m headed home after a wonderful weekend with my dear friend Bridget (who is moving to London next week—good luck, Bridge!). Friday night I got to NY at 9-something and we met at the Spotted Pig, where we only had to wait an hour and devoured the amazing burgers. Next time I don’t think I’ll bother on a weekend—the crowd was dense and not our scene as the night went on—but the burger was amazing and I’ll definitely go again on a weeknight.