Thursday, March 24, 2011

Making Quesadillas...

Or, how I found a dose of creativity in the kitchen.

I am not a creative person. I am very left-brained. Even my musical studies were approached in a very left-brained manner. I was never any good at improvisation - I needed structure (notes on a page).

My approach to cooking is very similar. I need a recipe. Directions to follow. Rules. Given a recipe, I can usually follow it and obtain enough success to consider the result edible, enjoyable even. But I have never been one to see ingredients in my kitchen and conceptualize a dish, or throw spices on something and have it turn out wonderfully.

I've always worried about this inadequacy in the kitchen - mostly for how it would affect my future children. My mom has always been what I'm not in the kitchen - she's a creative, thoughtful, inspired cook. We never hurted for yummy family dinners when I was growing up. But somehow that gene skipped a generation, which always made me wonder what kind of a gastronomic experience my children would have and remember. I know not every mom has to be a whiz in the kitchen - but mine was, and I felt like I owed it to my offspring to at least try.

Well, last night proved that I have at least a thread of that, somewhere in my DNA. I can't begin to tell you how proud I was of what I did in the kitchen last night. And here's the thing - it wasn't very difficult. It's going to sound silly when I admit how easy it was - but the fact that I did this, that I came up with it on my own, without a recipe, and executed it (fairly well, I might add) without consulting a single resource except my own brain - well, that was an accomplishment for me.

So what did I do that has me spewing congratulatory back-pats? I made quesadillas. Not only that, but I made them to use up something we already had in the house - cubed pepperjack cheese leftover from Ben's birthday party.

In addition to the cheese, I boiled and cubed a couple of chicken breasts and sauteed a bell pepper and an onion. (I sauteed!) Then I spread it all out between two burrito-sized flour tortillas (I'm nothing if not generous with my portion sizes). We had enough ingredients to make three large quesadillas. I cooked them one at a time in a pre-heated skillet with a dash of olive oil. Other than the first one, which I burned a little (turns out the heat should be set fairly low, to allow the ingredients to cook without crisping the tortilla), it was a very successful dinner! My husband and son both agreed.

So even though this seems like a fairly simple meal (served only with sour cream and salsa to garnish), it was a big accomplishment for me. Maybe I'm not so bad off in the kitchen. Too bad we can't live on quesadillas every day...


Jen said...

That's so great! I love to cook and my go-to site is I like it because they have reviews on all of the recipes and you can see how others may or may not have modified it. (Plus you can see pics on how it's supposed to look). So far the best I've found on there is Catherine's Spicy Chicken Soup. It makes enough to freeze for other meals and is sooo good! I do shortcuts like buying a bag of frozen, chopped onions and keeping a little container of chopped garlic in the fridge. Good luck on your newest cooking adventures!

Anonymous said...

I think you do have cooking DNA in you. You only have to try. Congratulations on trying! I love you, daughter.

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