Happy Thursday! Today I am going to share one of my favorite Mexican recipes. It is so simple but the flavors are AMAZING. If you have never tried squash blossoms or fresh made tortillas, prepare to have your taste buds do a little dance! Homemade tortillas are so easy and taste a thousand times better than store bought. All you need for flour tortillas is white flour (or whole wheat), some type of fat (olive oil, butter, shortening), baking powder, salt, and water. You don't even need a tortilla press, just use a rolling pin! I have experimented with all kinds of fats to make the masa (dough) for tortillas, this time I was inspired by a recipe in Martha Stewart's Everyday Food to try olive oil. The tortillas turned out great, light and fluffy, just like flour tortillas should be! The squash blossoms imparted a beautiful delicate flavor that perfectly accentuates the slight saltiness of Mexican cheese.
These quesadillas will change the way you think of quesadillas. The typical American quesadillas stuffed with yellow cheese and oozing grease do not even compare to these. In Mexico, you don't see yellow cheese quesadillas, they always use white cheese such as Queso Oaxaca (my favorite, kind of similar to mozzarella) or Queso Fresco (slightly salty and crumbly).
Squash blossoms are just coming in to season and can be found at farmers markets and local Mexican grocery stores. If you grow squash (or pumpkins) in your garden you can pick the blossoms and use them. To prepare them, take off the spiny green outer calyxes, clean blossoms by swishing them around in a bowl of water then shake them dry. You can use the whole blossom! Some people remove the inner stamen (long yellow pointy part) I just chop it up along with the blossoms and use it as I see no difference in flavor with or without stamen. Squash blossoms do not keep long so pick them or buy them the same day you plan to use them. I served my quesadillas with a side of simple corn and black bean salad and some avocado slices. Enjoy and get ready to never buy store bought tortillas again!
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup water
Mix dry ingredients together. In a small bowl, mix oil and water, gradually add to dry ingredients, mixing with your hands.At this point the dough shouldn't be too wet (sticky) but not crumbly either. If it feels too sticky or wet, add a bit more flour. Too dry? Add a bit more water. This is a learning process, practice makes perfect!
Knead dough and allow to sit for one hour (I sometimes skip this step and they still turn out okay).
After dough has rested, seperate into about 10 small balls. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes to half an hour.
On a non-stick surface sprinkled with flour, roll out tortillas, using a floured rolling pin, to about 10 inches in diameter. If the dough is sticking to everything, sprinkle on more flour. I usually roll one ball out, cook it, then do another one. Just easier for me...
Heat up a griddle over medium high heat, add a bit of butter so the tortillas don't stick and put a tortilla on the HOT griddle, cooking about one minute on each side until it starts to puff up and you see little brown spots forming. Remove from heat and wrap in a thick towel or put in a tortilla warmer.
*Hint - if you are going to use these right away to make quesadillas I would recommend not letting them get very brown because they will continue to cook as you cook the quesadillas, make sense?
Now on to the quesadillas...
Squash Blossom Quesadillas
Adapted from Food Network recipe
Olive oil, for cooking
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
15 individual fresh squash blossoms rinsed and cut in half
1/2 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1/4 pound white Mexican cheese (queso oaxaca or queso fresco work well), grated or shredded
Heat a large saute pan with a little oil and saute the onion, and garlic for 5 minutes, until the onions have become translucent. Then, add the squash blossoms and simmer with chicken stock until flowers have wilted and stock is pretty much evaporated. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool.
To compose the quesadilla lay the 2 of the tortillas on a flat surface. Distribute the cheese equally on both tortillas. I like LOTS of cheese! Then, spread 1/2 of the squash blossom filling over the cheese. Cover with more cheese and the other tortilla, place on heated griddle on nonstick saute pan with a little oil, and cook for about 2 minutes on each side. Try not to flip until cheese has melted a bit or they tend to come apart .When nice and golden brown on each side and cheese has melted, remove and cut into quarters.
These are sooo good! With the extra tortillas I made quesedillas with sliced avocados in between and quesedillas with corn in between. Also delicious!
(Bon apetit in Spanish)