Easy, easy, easy quesadillas. Belatedly Posted.

Yes, it was Cinco de Mayo and yes, that was sort of why I did it, but honestly? I love quesadillas. It's practically the only thing I order at any Mexican resturant, it's why I sometimes go to Qdoba, it's just delicious. Crisp tortilla, melty cheese, delicious fillings...oh, man, I want one right now just thinking about it. To be sure, part of the reason I order it so much is the ease of dealing with my allergies and the fact that so many different things can go in it. I recently had one that had shrimp, mushrooms, and green peppers. MELT.

So, bored and thrilled with how beautiful the day was and appreciative of the fact that a busy few days was about to kick off, I wandered off and gathered up some ingredients and then, somewhere around ten at night, got to cooking. No sooner did a tasty 'dilla come of the pan was it eaten, happily, with the guacomole I made (with help, sort of, as I got one of my roommates to smash up the avocado and mix in the tomato and onion, so I will give some props) and some sour cream. No photos! I will later post photos of hanging out and eating cake or something - so you can get the idea of fun, happy, delicious times.

The fun part of picking flour tortillas is a) there are less options, so I have to obsess over the ingredients less and b) the store sometimes has locally made ones so I can hunt for them! I'm so partial to Chicago produced things.

Clearly, you can do whatever you want to a quesadilla. I recommend getting the actual delicious quesadilla cheese, but I was pressed for time and ended up just getting the packet of cheese at Jewel that said "Mexican Cheese! Four-cheese-style!" (as opposed to the various other kinds. at least I tried.). More on cheese I like to get at the tienda later though. Another post later, not later on here. Sorry! Hopes dashed!

My cleverly prepared counter contained...

- tomato, chopped
- onion, diced
- garlic, minced
- orange bell pepper, sliced and then chopped
- chicken, cut into smallish pieces
- mushrooms, chopped
- butter, knob of
- oil
- dill, salt, pepper

- flour tortillas
- avocado, turned guacamole by being mashed with some more chopped tomato and some diced onion. then one or two dashes of salt.
- sour cream
- the aforementioned cheese

Now. Ordinarily, I would cook up the meat and veg and everything and then set about making the food. However. I have picky roommates. One is a vegetarian (which is cool) and one doesn't eat mushrooms (or courgettes, actually) and so since I like all these things (and so does the third roommate), I just opted to cook everything seperately and put them in their own dishes. So in the end, it was sort of a quesadilla bar.

At any rate, some garlic and onion and chicken go in with some oil and a bit of butter, seasoned happily and when pretty much still deliciously tender put in dish. Salt, pepper, dill. I then cooked up the yellow peppers with a little onion and garlic and pepper, salt. Follow with mushrooms! More butter, more pepper and salt, the last bit of the onion and garlic. (I just divided what I would want in the whole thing, so as to not have overpowering things. not that there is "too much" garlic)

Now, in a now-clean pan, I drop a tortilla and sprinkle cheese. Then I sprinkle some more cheese! Add whichever fillings that particular person wants, put in more cheese. This is a quesadilla, people! Cheese is key! And after topping it with another tortilla (my flour tortillas are smallish) and pressing for a second to help it stick, carefully flip it over. Continue waiting and flipping until satisfied with melty-state and crispy-state.

Serve with sour cream and guac, rejoice in deliciousness. Accept praise and presents, as surely one must follow the other?

I really, really, really love quesadillas.


A Gorgeous Day Calls for...

Potato Salad!

At least, it doesn't hurt to have potato salad involved in nice days and Saturday was, in fact, a cook-out-style
nice day. That said, we here in the halfway house of ill-repute did not have a cookout. We stayed in and ate pasta and potato salad and maybe they don't match up, but they were still delicious. And we were still happy.

This potato salad has been requested numerous times by people and these people? Are very specific in their memory of it. I learned it from one of my very close friends and while I do it a little different (I think. sometimes, anyway.), it's still a huge hit. I've watched this stuff be inhaled at a pig roast, vanish in a backyard soiree, and not linger on in an apartment. Oddly, I don't make it very much until the warm weather starts to hit and people remember this potato salad.

I'd like to learn other picnic/cook-out side dishes and stuff, but until I do - this is a stand-by that I, myself, happily eat myself to fat on.

Now, I have trouble giving exact amounts here or even real guidelines. This is all done to taste. I learned by being told "chop that up and throw that in" and that was that - we were both cooks, we could sort of get away with this. Well, guess what? You can get away with this too.

- red potatoes (or baking potatoes or yellow potatoes, I've used all of them.) T
his last time, I used five red potatoes of varying sizes. But none were quite small.
- apple cider vinegar
- fresh dill, chopped
- celery, about four or five stalks chopped up fine
- red onion - medium sized, diced

- mustard (dijon, though I used regular on Saturday as I completely forgot and, honestly, I think you can play with this)
- mayo
- a lemon, juiced. (I squeeze mine directly in. Watch for seeds!)
*I recall using a lime once. It was delicious! I like limes, though, so I am partial.
- salt, pepper.

- cut your potatoes into the sized chunks that you want to be eating. I like smallish ones largely, with a few outliers. boil these in some water until tender and, you know, you can eat them.
- drain the potatoes and let them cool. add in the onion and the celery.
- once they are cool, mix in the mayo and mustard. I like to do a few spoons of mayo first with a small spiral of mustard. You can decide from there how much mayo you want and mustard taste and all. Add the lemon, though check after half of the juice to see if you want more. Add a small amount of apple cider vinegar - a tablespoon or two. Mix mix mix, stir stir stir. Add the dill and salt and pepper, all to taste.

Honestly, you can add other things or take things out as you prefer, but this is what I do and people love it. It's got a light zing from the lemon juice and the whole taste sensation is fantastic. Very comforting and fresh - really nice for those days on a picnic. Or sitting around with your friends. Or even as lunch in a break room, wishing you were off work.

And a big Kitchenry thank you goes to Kelly, who taught me this over shots of tequila that summer we rocked it at the Bakery. Also, I think this is relatively cheap - the dill might be the only pricey thing, depending on what you do or do not have in your kitchen already.


Koulourakias or a cookie from my past.

Woosh, it has been insanely busy around my life lately. Getting a spare moment to myself has been nigh impossible - I traveled out of town, to Ohio, for a wedding and visited people, I moved, I wallowed in despair, I got a job, and I even worked a few days of it! But in the midst of all this, I still had time to make koulourakias - Greek butter cookies - for Pascha (Eastern Orthodox Easter).

I was raised Greek Orthodox (and Russian Orthodox, later) despite the fact that my family is neither Greek nor Russian. Depending on which church we went to, Christmas was either on, you know, Christmas or it was on Jan 7. But the one thing that both churches shared was the fact that Easter is (almost) always one week or one month after the Western Easter. This year, it was a week later.

Anyway. My godmother was from Greece - we met her when my family joined the church, I was young - somewhere around fourth grade - and while my brother had found a god-family relatively quickly, they didn't want a girl and so I was adrift. Georgia offered to be my godmother and lo! I had a godmother and a yiayia (her mother, who spoke absolutely no English at all and would pat my hand and say something to me and I would smile and say "yes, yiayia" but I have no idea what she said...). At any rate, Georgia would make koulouriakias for me each Pascha. I loved them.

I'm not religious, I haven't been for a long time, but each Pascha I get a little nostalgic. Georgia died when I was in high school, she had cancer. I'd never made these cookies and she didn't teach me how, but I am telling you that these taseted exactly how I remembered.


- one stick butter, softened
- half cup of sugar
- two eggs, beaten until light
- grated orange peel (original recipe suggested a teaspoon, but I did a little more)
- half tablespoon baking powder
- two cups flour

- combine flour and baking powder
- in a seperate bowl, cream the butter and sugar, then slowly add the beaten eggs and the orange zest. Add the flour/baking powder mixture slowly. You will get a soft dough.
- shape the cookies by taking sections and rolling them first into a ball (walnut sized) and then out into ropes that you can braid together or twist into a circle or spiral or, you know, really anything.
- I put mine on foil on a cookie sheet, then brushed the tops with some beaten egg and baked at 375 degrees for around twenty minutes - until the cookies were golden!

I did a few batches at different cook times, but was pleased with all of them. Twenty minutes gets a bit harder cookie, but you can play until you figure out what you like. This makes a fair few cookies.

And oh, how I loved them. Everyone loved them! I hope you love them too.

(yes, there are many different variations on this cookie - some have vanilla, some have sesame seeds, and I love sesame seeds! I've had them with sesame and I think they are delish. But this is how Georgia must have made them, cause this is how they tasted.)