Saturday, December 6, 2008

Loser Party of One

Day of the Dead maskIt's back to fending for myself here in the Bronx. That's tough after a week of kids of all ages gathered in the kitchen to offer a helping hand, or just to get a whiff of what's on the stove. Maybe I should adopt or start a supper club!

As promised - and since I'm flying solo - here is the first installation in my Loser Party of One series. We're gonna return to a theme that will become very familiar with readers over time: Mexican food. Not that it's any of your business, but I'm one-half Mexican on my mother's side. My father loved Mexican women so much, he married two, so the sights and smells of a Latin kitchen are second nature to me. Having grown up in southern California, I have a more Tex-Mex definition of what constitutes Mexican cuisine, so if I define terms contrary to what you're accustomed to, please indulge me.
 
Nothing is more dissatisfying than going to a lot of trouble in the kitchen only to sit down with just yourself as company, so I tend to lean toward quick fixes. Last night, it was chicken quesadillas. This is the second-easiest Mexican dish I know how to make, but it's still pretty damn good.
 
Chicken Quesadillas
½ lb boneless, skinless chicken pieces. I use dark meat. It's juicier.
¼ lb sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 jalapeño chilies, chopped with seeds and membranes removed
6 medium flour tortillas
Chicken marinade
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 cloves chopped fresh garlic
4 Tbsp chili powder
¼ tsp red pepper flake
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
 
Marinating chicken Grated cheddar cheese
 
Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a small bowl, toss chicken thighs to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for 20 minutes. In the meantime, grate the cheddar cheese, and heat a medium-sized skillet or grill. Allow excess marinade to drain away from chicken and grill over high heat 6-8 minutes per side. Remove chicken from grill and let rest covered with aluminum foil. While chicken rests, heat tortillas through to soften. Slice rested chicken into 2-inch pieces and pile in an even layer onto one tortilla. Sprinkle chilies and grated cheese over meat and cover with another tortilla. Heat quesadillas through on both sides until cheese has melted and the outside of the tortillas have toasted. Cut quesadillas into wedges and serve with hot sauce and sour cream on the side. If you're cooking for company, you can expand the menu with Mexican rice and a simple salad of iceberg lettuce, radishes, avocado, crumbled queso fresco, and an oil and vinegar dressing.
 
Grilling chickenAssembling the quesadilla ingredientsWarming the 2nd side of the quesadilla
 
Chicken quesadilla
 
This is just one variation on a very common Mexican snack. You can substitute grilled beef, carnitas, grilled shrimp, or just frijoles and cheese if you like. And with what does one wash down a quesadilla? Why, a frosty cold cerveza, naturally!
 
Cheers - Blog O. Food
 
 

1 comment:

Matty O. Food said...

OlĂ©!!! ¿Donde esta los Frijoles?