Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Recipe: Artichoke, Asiago & Prosciutto Quesadillas

I find that quesadillas are a great way to “clean out the fridge” by using up leftover cooked meats, bits of cheese, sauces and chutneys.  Am I the only one with about 30 different condiments on the inside of my fridge door!?  David often asks me (in a less than friendly manner) just how many different red pepper jellies does one really need?  Ok, I’ll come clean, I paraphrased what he usually says…

Quesdillas can be simple (think beans, chicken, salsa), comforting (anything with lots of cheese and/or bacon) and even gourmet.  The following recipe for artichoke, asiago & prosciutto quesadillas is a delicious appetizer that’s fancy enough to serve company – preferably with a glass of sparkling wine.

Here are some other inspirational ideas for making quesadillas:

·         caprese-style (tomatoes, mozzeralla, fresh basil, provolone)
·         californian (chicken, avocado, goat cheese, mango, cranberries)
·         philly cheesesteak style (sliced flank steak or roast beef, provolone, sautéed onions and bell peppers)
·         blt (bacon, spinach, roasted tomatoes, mozzerella)
·         “pizzadilla” (tomato sauce, cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives)
·         smoked salmon, capers, cream cheese and dill
·         shrimp, zucchini, corn, basil, scallions and fontina
·         “nyc deli” – corned beef or pastrami, mustard, sauerkraut and swiss cheese
·         “thanksgiving-style” – sliced turkey breast, cranberry cream cheese, mozzarella and roasted butternut squash

I could go on and on… once you start making quesadillas it’s easy to get creative as the options are endless.

Artichoke, Asiago & Prosciutto Quesadillas
(makes one quesadilla – recipe easily doubles)


·         2 (two) flour tortillas
·         1/3 (one-third) cup asiago cheese, grated
·         ¼ (one-quarter) cup mozzerella cheese, grated
·         1/3 (one-third) cup artichokes, drained and chopped/sliced
·         2 (two) slices proscuitto


1.      Grate asiago and mozzerella cheeses.  Drain and chop artichokes
2.      Lay one tortilla on a clean work surface.  Sprinkle with asiago and mozzerlla, top with chopped artichokes and 2 slices of proscuitto.  Top with another tortilla, press to flatten.
3.      Heat flat top grill to medium high and lightly brush grill with canola or other vegetable oil.  Grill each side until golden, about 1 – 1½ (one to one-and-a-half) minutes per side.  Alternatively, grill in well-oiled frying pan.  Note:  Watch closely as quesadilla’s can burn easily.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

recipe: "Pineapple Delight" Ambrosia

On David’s mother’s birthday in November, I like to prepare for him one of the dishes he most often associates with her.  Usually, it’s crepes with crispy bacon, syrup and cinnamon… sometimes it’s a dessert.

He always appreciates the effort which makes me want to continue the tradition every year.  Although they’ll never meet her in this life, (she’s been deceased for twenty-five years), I’m hoping that our sons John and Michael will be able to somehow connect with their paternal grandmother through these dishes. 

Next week, pineapple delight ambrosia will be making an appearance in our home.  This is an easy, no-bake, recipe that serves a crowd – you can halve the recipe (use an 8 inch by 8 inch pyrex dish instead) without difficulty.  It’s a nice recipe to make in the dead of winter, when local fruits aren’t available.

“Pineapple Delight” Ambrosia
(recipe is for a 9 inch x 13 inch pyrex / glass dish)

ingredients for base crust
·         4 – 5 (four to five) tablespoons butter, melted
·         2 (two) cups graham crumbs
·         4 (four) tablespoons granulated sugar

ingredients for butter layer
·         1 (one) cup butter, should be soft, at room temperature
·         1 (one) teaspoon pure vanilla extract
·         2 (two) large eggs, at room temperature
·         2 (two) cups icing sugar

ingredients for whipped cream/pineapple layer
·         2 (two), 14 (fourteen) ounce cans crushed pineapple, drained well
·         750 (seven hundred fifty) mL whipping cream, 35%
·         2 (two) teaspoons pure vanilla extract
·         3 (three) tablespoons granulated sugar, or more if you like (to your taste)
·         2-3 (two to three) tablespoons graham crumbs, for garnish

method for base crust
1.       Stir together graham crumbs, sugar and melted butter and mix well.  Spoon crumb mixture into 9” x 13” pan and flatten to form the base crust.  This crust is somewhat crumbly, so if you like your crust firmer, add more butter.  Place pan in the refrigerator.

method for butter layer
1.       Using a hand or stand mixer, beat butter, vanilla and eggs together.  Add icing sugar a little at a time and continue beating.  Keep an eye on the icing sugar you need, it may be more or less, as it depends on your eggs.  You should have a thick, but smooth creamy mixture.  Remember the butter in this mixture will harden once refrigerated.
2.       Carefully spoon this mixture over the base crust, taking care not to disturb the graham crust.  Refrigerate again.

method for whipped cream/ pineapple layer:
1.       Add vanilla to whipping cream and beat well.  As cream begins to fluff up, slowly add sugar and finish beating.  The whipped cream should be firm, but be careful not to over beat.
2.       Gently fold well-drained pineapple into whipped cream by hand.  Spread this mixture over the butter layer evenly.  The pan will be filled to the brim.  Sprinkle graham crumbs over the whipped cream layer.  Wrap with plastic seal and refrigerate.  Chill a few hours before serving (so the butter layer can firm up).

catering, gourmet food shop, gift baskets