Greetings from Sonoma County, California! I’m here for about a month on Winter Break, and during my time here I plan on showcasing the best of what this food (and wine!)-loving area has to offer. One of the many things I love about coming home and having a break from school is all the free time I have to really focus on cooking and being creative with recipes – even more than I already do otherwise. Plus…well, it’s SoCo, it’s HOME! All of my favorite restaurants, my dogs, wine tasting, seeing the vineyards in their gorgeous Fall colors, catching up with friends and family, cooking and dining with family, etc. It’s pure bliss.
I didn’t really cook something characteristically Sonoma County tonight, but I was short on time and never made a trip to the grocery store today. However, the Mexican food here is outstanding, so a quesadilla is somewhat fitting. I tweeted recently about anything with black beans and corn in it being pretty much good as gold in my opinion. It’s true. It gives anything that “Southwestern” fresh, clean, bold feeling. Here’s a light yet filling and flavorful recipe that highlights that.
Corn and Black Bean Quesadilla
- 2 whole wheat tortillas
- 1/4 cup reduced fat cheese (cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a Mexican cheese blend would be best)
- 1/4 cup black beans
- 1/3 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1/4 cup shredded cooked chicken (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- Salsa, light sour cream, and/or hot sauce on the side
Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray and put it on medium heat. Prepare the filling while the pan heats up: thaw the frozen corn kernels in the microwave for 45 seconds. In a small bowl, combine the cheese, black beans, corn, chicken, and chili powder. Obviously, you can omit the chicken and easily make this vegetarian. Place one of the tortillas on the pan, and spread the filling around on top of it. Place the second tortilla on top. To get the cheese to melt and sort of “glue” the two tortillas together, do the tea kettle trick that I blogged about before. Once the bottom tortilla is browned and crispy, carefully flip the quesadilla over with a large spatula and brown the other side. Turn it out onto a cutting board to slice it – a pizza cutter works great for this.
Fact: I like to dip stuff in things. That definitely includes quesadillas. I dipped mine in salsa tonight, but I also like to dip them in light sour cream, taco sauce, hot sauce, or a little bit of each. Feel free to get creative with your dippin’s.
Although I love winter, preparing this dish would be a good way to remind you of summer. Summer and Mexican/Southwestern food just go together. It uses ingredients that aren’t necessarily seasonal – black beans can be bought canned or dried, and corn can be bought frozen – so you can make it any time of year. Either that, or you travel down to the Southern Hemisphere. The former is much more practical…and yummy.