There are quite a few things that I turn to for M for inspiration. Be less OCD? Yes. More patience? Yes. More ‘unplugged’ from phone/ipad/itouch? Yes. Cooking? Get out of my kitchen (please).
M has cooked for me just a handful of times. One involved meatloaf. Enough said. The second one I remember distinctively was Thanksgiving. Having not been dating for very long, we were in the mode of celebrating with our families separately. The plan was on the way back from my celebration my dad was to drop me at M’s condo in the city and he was going to have Thanksgiving dinner ready for me. As we pulled up there was literally dark smoke billowing out of the balcony window. My dad turned to me and said ‘are you sure you want to go in there?’ Good question. I wasn’t totally convinced that I did.
As I grew up a bit (i.e. actually had my own kitchen to work with) things naturally progressed and I took on the cooking role 100%. As we all know, cooking is way more than standing in the kitchen preparing a meal. You did need to plan, shop, cook, eat, and clean up that meal – I loved doing it all and rarely needed (ok, WANTED) any help or input.
So it’s rare that I turn to M to look for inspiration for the next new meal. And yet somehow it happened. M is absolutely obsessed with black bean and chicken quesadillas. He gets them almost weekly. One Saturday afternoon he decided to make one on his own. I was drying my hair when he walked in asking if I wanted a bite. The gut reaction came out in me, ‘um no thanks’ but then I took a look at it. It looked…good. One bite and I was hooked.
The next thing that happened was new for our household. We began talking – actually discussing what would be good to ‘up’ this recipe. M threw out grilled chille lime chicken. Darn it – good idea. What could I pull out of my sleeve…caramelized onions!! Yes, caramelized onions would be a great idea. With MANCHEGO cheese. And cilantro. BAM. You’ve got yourself one awesome quesadilla. Or as M ever so charmingly loves to say in his white trash accent ‘that them there’s one fancy ques-a-dilla.’ Big sigh.
- 1 large boneless chicken breast
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 TBS unsalted butter, plus a bit more for the saute pan
- 1 TBS olive oil, plus more for the chicken
- salt & pepper
- 1 15 ounce can of drained black beans
- 2 handfuls of shredded manchego cheese
- handful of freshly chopped cilantro
- 2 large tortillas
- Heat grill to medium heat.
- Rub olive oil and chille lime seasoning on the chicken. We had a rub (from William Sonoma) but you could create your own or use any flavors that you have handy. Grill the chicken about 5 minutes a side.
- Heat medium saute pan over low heat. Add in olive oil and butter. Season the onions with salt & pepper and saute over low heat for 20 - 25 minutes, until nice and caramelized.
- Drain black beans, shred manchego cheese, and slice up the grilled chicken. Mix all of the 'filling' ingredients together: chicken, beans, cheese, onions and cilantro.
- Divide the filling among the two tortillas, just on one side. Fold remaining side over. Put a small amount of butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Place the filled tortilla in the saute pan to warm, about 4 minutes a side. Cook until the tortilla is lightly browned and a bit crisp.
- Serve with your favorite guacamole or salsa.