Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Smoked Caprese Quesadillas

There are lots of things I love about working from home. Sitting outside on a nice day, making my own schedule, and working with the cat purring on my lap, just to name a few. But what might possibly be my #1 favorite thing about working from home is having more time to cook. I find myself trying a lot more new recipes and having a freshly cooked lunch in the middle of the day is a wonderful new experience for me. I'm not talking crazy complicated recipes, just something fresh and yummy.

The recipe I want to share with you now is what I had for lunch today... and yesterday, and let's be honest I'll probably make it again tomorrow. Just because I like to try new recipes doesn't mean I'm not going to make them more than once, especially when I find one this delicious. I'm also continuing my mission to use up an accumulation of ingredients, so on the chopping block today was the other half of that ball of smoked mozzarellasome extra basil from this recipe I made a few days agotortillas from the freezer, and the fresh tomatoes I just bought, but won't last long. All I needed to do was grab some olive oil from the pantry, slice, and assemble and in about 10 minutes (OK maybe 15) I was eating one of the best quesadillas I've ever had. 

Smoky, creamy cheese + juicy tomatoes + bright, fresh basil = a lunch that tastes just like summer! 

Smoked Caprese Quesadillas  

Print Recipe

1 whole wheat tortilla (or whatever variety you prefer)
1 small vine-ripened tomato, sliced
smoked mozzarella, approx. 8 small slices
a handful of fresh basil leaves, or to taste (I LOVE basil, so I used quite a bit)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil

Lay the tortilla on a plate. Cover half of the tortilla with 4 slices of mozzarella. Layer 3-4 slices of tomato on top of the cheese. Cover with basil. Layer with remaining cheese. Fold unfilled tortilla half over fillings

(Note: The two layers of cheese help keep the tomato from making the tortilla soggy, so I don't recommend skimping on the cheese)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Carefully place folded tortilla in heated oil. Cook 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip over and cook the other side 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from pan and slice into 3 pieces. Enjoy!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Eggplant, Tomato, and Smoked Mozzarella Tart

I've been trying to use up all the miscellaneous groceries that keep hanging around in the fridge/freezer/pantry, so a few days ago, I defrosted a ball of smoked mozzarella and was determined to find a new recipe to use it in. Enter Cooking Light's Eggplant, Tomato, and Smoked Mozzrella Tart. I made a few tweaks to the original recipe, but the essence of the original was still there.

First, I substituted dried herbs for the fresh, which I know is a big no-no, but since they were in small amounts and the filling was going to be cooked anyway, I don't think the dish really suffered that much. Second, have you ever tried to brush a tray full of eggplant slices with 1/2 teaspoon of oil? I don't think that's physically possible. I used olive oil spray to give an even coating and called it a day. This also helped better moisten the eggplant, so I skipped that weird "steam in plastic wrap" step -- yuck.

Oh, and I strayed from the "light" recipe directions and used at least double the amount of smoked mozzarella the recipe called for. What can I say, I'm my father's daughter. With a maiden name like Azzolino, I think a love of cheese is required :)

The only thing I think I would do differently next time would be to try it with a traditional pastry crust. The crust in the recipe is very bread-y, almost like a pizza crust. While clearly that's part of what made this a "light" recipe, it would definitely taste even better with a flaky, buttery crust (go figure!). Or, I might try this cornmeal crust from Ellie Krieger's Ratatouille Tart, another favorite recipe of mine.

Whatever crust you decide to use, the original recipe's instruction to sprinkle some cheese on top of the baked crust before you add the filling really helped keep the bottom of the tart from getting soggy. That is definitely a trick to remember for future reference.

Baba-gha Hummus

I recently made a Cooking Light recipe for Baba-gha Hummus. Basicially it's a dip that blends the flavors of baba ghanoush and hummus. I love anything eggplant, so I know I couldn't go too far wrong with this recipe. While this dip is never going to win any beauty contests, the flavor more than makes up for it's ho-hum appearance. It gets 5 stars in my book and I will definitely be making it again.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lemon-Cranberry Muffins

I got this recipe from an issue of Eating Well Magazine earlier this year and these little gems were so good I needed to share. I'm determined to use up the surplus frozen cranberries I have stockpiled from the fall, so I figured this recipe would be perfect. With just a touch of cornmeal inside and a sprinkling of lemon-sugar on the top, they were quite delicious. That topping might make them look messy, but it makes them taste extra yummy. Check out EatingWell.com for the recipe.