Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Quesadillas with Homemade (or not) Corn Tortillas

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
After a weekend of pain from an abscessed tooth and then a soft foods diet the following weekend (because of stiches from a surgical root canal), I’ve finally been able to enjoy eating again. Real food, not mush. Oh, the simple pleasures in life we take for granted!

Ever since I bought my tortilla press last fall, I’ve been wanting to incorporate homemade corn tortillas into a blog post. Looking through the archives, I found more taco recipes than I realized, so that led me in the quesadilla direction instead.

The homemade tortillas are extremely easy and bring a fresh aspect that I’ve never experienced in a corn tortilla before. But by no means do you need to make homemade tortillas to enjoy this recipe. Good quality, fresh store-bought tortillas will work just fine, as will fresh flour tortillas.

Corn tortillas are made with masa harina, which looks similar to corn meal, but is not the same thing. Do not substitute corn meal or regular corn flour—they’re produced from different types of corn and are processed differently and won’t produce the same results.

I’ve seen masa harina in the international section and the baking aisle of large supermarkets in 8 pound bags. Knowing it would probably take me years to use that much, I ordered a 24-oz. bag of Bob’s Red Mill organic masa harina from Amazon. With organic, you can be assured it’s made from non-GMO corn.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
For a time-saving convenience, I used a pre-shredded bag of slaw (Trader Joe’s organic), but if you have the time, by all means, shred your own. The slaw can be mixed up the day before (I think it tastes even better after a day in the fridge) and the caramelized onions and the mushroom mixture can all be made a day or two ahead of time as well. With all the bold flavors in this recipe, if you choose to go vegan by omitting the cheese, you’ll still have a delicious meal. Enjoy!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Quesadillas with Homemade (or not) Corn Tortillas

Slaw:
One 9 oz. bag pre-shredded coleslaw (green cabbage, red cabbage, carrot), or shred your own

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon celery seed

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon orange juice, preferably fresh-squeezed

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Whisk together vinegar, mustard, maple syrup and orange juice. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, while whisking, until fully incorporated.

Place coleslaw mixture, scallions, and celery seed in a large bowl and toss to combine. Pour some of the dressing over and mix. Add more dressing as desired (you probably won’t use all of it). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill while you make the filling and tortillas, or overnight for even better flavor.

Tortillas:
1 cup masa harina (see my babbling above for more info on masa harina)

Pinch of salt

¾ cup hot, but not boiling water

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the masa harina and salt. Stir in the hot water until combined. Knead with your hands for about a minute. It should feel smooth, but not sticky, and easily form a ball. If dough feels dry and crumbly, add a tablespoon of water. If too sticky, add a tablespoon more masa harina.

Cover the bowl and set aside for about a half hour while you make the filling (recipe below). After the dough has rested and your quesadilla fillings are made, divide dough into 8 pieces and roll each into a ball (they will each be about the size of a ping pong ball).

Cut the sides open of a quart sized zip-lock bag. Open your tortilla press and lay open bag on press. Place a ball of dough in the center of press and fold the other side of the bag over the dough. Close the top of the press over the dough and push down the handle to flatten the ball.

Heat a dry cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, lift the top half of the bag off the flattened dough and peel the dough off the other layer of plastic and place in the hot pan. Cook a minute or two and flip, cooking another minute or two more. Transfer to a clean tea towel and fold up to close.

Repeat with remaining dough, keeping cooked tortillas wrapped in the tea towel.

Filling:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 large onion, thinly sliced

½ tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

8 oz. cremini (baby portabella) mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ jalapeño pepper, minced (use as many of the seeds you’d like to get desired amount of heat)

Shredded cheese of choice, I used a Swiss/gruyere mixture, or omit cheese for a vegan version

Heat one tablespoon oil in a cast iron or other heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Stir in brown sugar and cook another minute or two. Add balsamic and cook for another 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Transfer onions to a plate and set aside.

Wipe out pan and place over medium heat and add second tablespoon of olive oil. When hot, add mushrooms and cook for several minutes, until they start releasing a little moisture. Stir in garlic and cook a few more minutes. Add minced jalapeño and cook another couple of minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

To assemble quesadillas, heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium heat, brush with a little olive oil. Top one tortilla with some of the onion mixture, followed by mushroom mixture, and then cheese, if using. Place in pan and cook several minutes (I cover the pan to help the cheese melt). Once cheese is melted and bottom of tortilla is getting a little crisp, place another tortilla on top and press down. Carefully flip quesadilla and cook other side for another several minutes.

Transfer cooked quesadilla to a plate and cut into wedges. Serve topped with chilled coleslaw. Makes 4 quesadillas.

Advertisements

Sweet Potato Chickpea Patties with Tangy Coleslaw

Sweet Potato Chickpea Patties with Tangy ColeslawTwo new-to-me recipes came together last night in a flavor combination that was a total winner. All they needed was a little spicy barbeque sauce and we had a dinner to rave about. By the way, I’m currently obsessed with Trader Joe’s Organic Sriracha and Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce—smoky and seriously spicy, and extraordinarily delicious! I may just have to work on a homemade version.

I’ve wanted to share the coleslaw recipe since Father’s Day when I made it for the first time. It’s adapted from Minnesota’s Bounty: The Farmers Market Cookbook by Beth Dooley, which is getting a lot of use in my kitchen now that the farmers markets around here are in full swing (and soon so will our garden!).

I love this cookbook and if you garden or frequent farmers markets you will too. It’s divided into sections for fruit, vegetables, cheeses, grains and meat & fish, along with recipes for some essentials like mayonnaise, vinaigrettes, pastry crust and a spiked whipped cream. There are wonderful recipes for all the amazing goods found at the markets in the upper Midwest and if you enjoy seasonal cooking, you need this book! It’s a resource and guide that will give you new ideas for beautiful, healthy dishes with the freshest foods possible.

The coleslaw is great by itself, as the crowning touch on the Barbequed Pulled “Pork” I shared recently, or on these hearty and filling Sweet Potato Chickpea Patties—it’s pretty and extra tangy with the addition of Greek yogurt.
ColeslawDoing some mindless food Googling the other day, I came across the Sweet Potato Chickpea Patties. Included with the original recipe was a simple guacamole of chopped avocado, red onion, lime juice and salt, and I topped the patties with that the first time I made them. DeeeeLish! But after my Sunday farmers market trip, I had red & green cabbage and carrots on hand. Sadly, we don’t have avocados at the Minnesota farmers markets and we have to rely on the supermarket variety, which can’t possibly be as good as fresh off the tree.

Bonus—any patty & coleslaw leftovers make a great lunch for work tomorrow—as I can attest. Pack little barbeque sauce too. Enjoy!
Sweet Potato Chickpea Patties

Sweet Potato Chickpea Patties with Tangy Coleslaw

Coleslaw:
Adapted from Minnesota’s Bounty: The Farmers Market Cookbook by Beth Dooley

4 cups shredded (or thinly sliced) green cabbage

4 cups shredded (or thinly sliced) red cabbage

1 ½ cups shredded carrot

1 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons organic sugar

¼ cup white wine vinegar

½ cup mayonnaise (I used Vegan Earth Balance Mindful Mayo—soooo good!)

¼ cup 2% Greek yogurt

½ teaspoon celery seed, or more if you’d like

Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, toss cabbages and carrot until combined. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, sugar, vinegar, mayo, yogurt and celery seed. Pour over cabbage/carrot mixture and toss until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper. Serve cold; best made a day or two ahead of serving. Serves 6.

Sweet Potato Chickpea Patties:
Adapted from this Cooking Light recipe

2 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

½ cup chopped yellow or sweet onion

½ cup chopped red bell pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeño, minced, seeds removed if you don’t want the heat

1 ¾ cup grated, uncooked sweet potato (about 8 ounces)

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cup panko bread crumbs (or rolled oats for a gluten-free version)

1 ½ tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 large egg

Bottled or homemade barbeque sauce, for serving.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeño and sauté for several minutes. Stir in the sweet potato, salt and pepper and cook for several more minutes.

Place the sweet potato mixture, panko, lime juice, smoked paprika, chickpeas and egg in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the chickpeas are coarsely ground.

Form the mixture into 4 patties. Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the patties (you may have to do this in two batches to avoid over-crowding) to the pan and cook 3 minutes. Flip and cook 3 minutes more.

Transfer cooked patties to prepared baking pan. Bake 20-25 minutes. Serve with barbeque sauce and top with coleslaw. Makes four patties.