Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Grilled Squash Quesadillas with Charred Tomato Salsa

I saw this recipe on Cooking Channel TV blogsite and loved the sound of it. It looked so enticing that I had to try it out. As usual I made my own variations and it turned out fantastic!! We had the quesadillas with the tomato salsa, sliced avocado and light sour cream on the sides. This combination was so good, that we wanted to eat the same dinenr 2 nights in a row which does not happen ever in our home! yum yum yum :)


Makes 8 quesadillas
1 zucchini or summer squash, sliced lengthwise 1/4-inch thick
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
1/2 onion thinly sliced
About 3 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter or a combination
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 white corn tortillas
1/4 to 1/2 cup Ancho Chile Paste, recipe follows, or store-bought
8 ounces thinly sliced or shredded Manchego cheese
2 scallions, white and green parts, very thinly sliced
Charred Tomato Salsa, recipe follows, or your favorite green or red salsa

1 avocado cubed or sliced
1/2 cup light sour cream

Ancho Chile Paste:
6 dried ancho or pasilla chiles or a mixture
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Charred Tomato Salsa:
4 ripe medium tomatoes (about 1 pound)
1 jalapeno
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 scallion, white and green parts chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Kosher salt


Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Add in the olive oil. Put in the zucchini, bell pepper and onions onto the grill pan. Add salt and pepper and saute it till charred well enough. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add about 1 tablespoon of the oil or butter. Lay a tortilla in the skillet and paint a light covering (more or less depending on your taste) of the Ancho Chile Paste over the tortilla. Scatter or lay a slice of cheese just big enough to cover half the tortilla (about 1/2 ounce). Then the sauted veggies and some scallion slices and cover with another layer of cheese. Cook until the tortilla softens, about 1 minute. Fold the tortilla over into a half moon. Flip and cook on each side until golden brown and crisp and the cheese melts, adding more oil or butter if the pan gets dry, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve with the Charred Tomato Salsa, avocado and sour cream! yum yum yum!

Ancho Chile Paste:
Stem, seed and pull the chiles in half. Toast the pieces in a dry skillet over medium heat, turning until fragrant and blistered but not charred, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl of boiling water and set aside to soften, 30 to 40 minutes.
Put the chiles in a blender with the salt (not a food processor, it won’t be fine enough) and puree until very smooth. Add some of the soaking water, about 1/2 cup, if needed to engage the blender. Strain if desired.
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the paste and fry, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Charred Tomato Salsa:
Position rack in the upper part of the oven and preheat the broiler. Line a small broiler pan with foil.
Place the tomatoes and jalapeno in the pan and broil, turning them as needed, until the skins blacken and split, 15 to 20 minutes. Wrap completely in aluminum foil and cool.
Core the tomatoes and stem the jalapeno (remove the seeds if you want to temper the heat). Puree the tomatoes, skins and all, with the jalapeno, oil, garlic and scallions and in a blender to make a smooth sauce. Pulse in the cilantro. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. (The salsa thickens a bit if prepared ahead and chilled; stir to loosen it up before serving.) Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Asparagus Soup with toasted Ciabatta bread

I made Asparagus soup yesterday for the first time. Asparagus is so healthy for you, and soups make a great way to have your veggies, no chewing and you can have it with some delicious toasted cheesy garlicy ciabatta bread.


1 bunch asparagus, roughly chopped
1 finely chopped onion
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 cup of chopped basil leaves
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon oregano
3-4 cups of water
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter

Toasted Ciabatta bread:
Ciabatta bread
clove of garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
Shredded mozarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste


In a stock pot on medium heat, add the olive oil and butter and after a minute, add in the onions and garlic. Saute it for about 5 minutes till onions are translucent. Then add in the asparagus, and the salt/pepper/oregano. Saute it for a couple of minutes and then add in the basil leaves. Add in the water and cover and let it cook for about 10 minutes till asparagus is soft.

Blend the mixture in a blender and then add it back to the stock pot. Add in the sour cream and let it cook for about 10 minutes. And the soup is ready!

For the Ciabatta toast, pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees. Slice the Ciabatta bread into half, drizzle olive oil over it. Put the bread on a baking tray and put it in the oven for about 5 minutes. Remove it and rub the garlic clove over the bread so that it gets a nice garlicy taste. You will be able to smell the garlic over the warm bread. Now add the shredded cheese on top, add salt and pepper and broil the toast for a couple of minutes till the cheese melts and is golden brown in color! Toast is ready to eat with the soup. Dip the toast in the soup, it is delicious!! :)