Who invented electric can openers? Did someone really think it was straining to use a handle-held, man powered one?
In my eyes, electric can openers are one of the worst kitchen inventions ever. Maybe it’s because I can never seem to work one properly. My luck with electric can openers is dismal and I am able to open about 2 out of every 10 cans I attempt to open. In Gram’s kitchen, I always dread having to open up a can of something. If I can’t get the can opener to latch onto the rim of the can, frustration and impatience overtakes me and I end up pulling a Bobby Flay on it and taking a heavy knife to its tin top. It’s not effective at all but it sure beats the hell out of tirelessly trying to get the can opener to catch to that can rim. Stupid can opener.
I try to plan ahead of time when we’re going to have quesadillas, that way Gram can open the black beans for me.
This is another fall-back recipe for me; super simple and satisfying. My grandparents couldn’t agree more and become hasty and agitated after a week and a half that passes without quesadillas. We’ve been barely scraping by lately; completely deprived of quesadillas (it’s been nearly a month since we’ve had them). Gram asked for only a half the first time I made them and she says that she’ll never make that mistake again. Always go for a whole! They’re surprisingly light but filling. Spread with a huge dollop of guacamole, these quesadillas are the perfect weekday lunch or dinner. They make me feel almost Mexican.
makes 1 full quesadilla (enough for 1 person but 2 if you’re a pansy)
Also feel free to play around with the filling of this recipe. It’s a great way to use up some leftover meats and vegetables. In the picture shown I had added a nice handful of sauteed collard greens that I’d made in the evenings prior. Have fun with this recipe; there are so many different ways you can take it. (I’ve made quesadilla ranging from apple and cheddar to banana and Nutella.) You can hardly go wrong, so let it all out. Don’t be afraid.
1 T canola oil
1/3 c red onion, sliced into 1/8-inch half-moons
1/4 c bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small clove of garlic, minced
salt and pepper
pinch of chili powder
1/3 c refried black beans
pinch of cumin
2 flour tortillas (I always use the Whole Grain Tortillas with rolled oats and flax seeds from Trader Joe’s)
1/3 c shredded pepper jack cheese, divided
crushed red pepper flake (optional)
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
Add the oil to a small, non-stick skillet and turn stove to medium heat. Toss in onions, bell pepper, and garlic; cook until vegetables begin to soften. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and chili powder, then increase cooking temperature to high. Cook until beginning to caramelize and brown; remove from heat and set aside. (This part can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for optimum quesadilla-making speed.)
Next open a can of refried black beans and season with cumin. Have the flour tortillas, cheese, cilantro, and crushed red pepper (if using) near the stove and ready for assembly.
Now you’re ready to assemble a quesadilla. Heat a flat griddle over medium-high heat and place one tortilla on the pan; wait until warmed through or about a minute before flipping. Now cover the entire torilla with 3/4 of the cheese and crushed red pepper (if using). Top with caramelized onions, bell pepper, cilantro, and remainder of the cheese; wait until the cheese has completely melted. Check the underside of the tortilla to make sure that it doesn’t burn before the cheese melts; you may need to decrease your cooking temperature to medium or even medium-low.
With the other tortilla, spread evenly with the seasoned beans and place it, bean-side down, onto the tortilla on the griddle. Use a pancake spatula and flip. Cook on this side until the tortilla becomes golden brown and crispy for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cut into wedges, and serve with guacamole.