How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sweet Potato Quesadillas

I thought of using a clever title that refers to this being an Old Faithful recipe on our Nueva Receta blog, but I chose a simple title in hopes that people can find this, one of our very favorite recipes. It is healthy, high-fiber, vegetarian, and easily made vegan. It comes -- as so many good things do -- from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day, which visitors to our home know simply as "Mini Moosewood."

I have prepared this so often that I cannot even be sure how far it may have departed from the original in its details. I can tell you that it requires an indispensable cast-iron skillet and a cast-iron griddle or large pan.

It works like this, in two stages.

First, peel and then shred some sweet potatoes (or yams; please tell me if you honestly know the difference) as you heat up some oil in the pan. A serious shredder such as the one I mention in my "Gratin" article will pay for itself with this dish. Quantity? Whatever makes sense, plus a bit. I usually do one fairly large one for the two of us. Add to the hot oil and then add a diced onion. Add minced garlic if you are not forgetful (as I was this evening, but accidentally compensated with a garlic salsa). Add cayenne, chili powder, and cumin in abundance (all three, that is). Mini Moosewood says to cook it in one flat layer and scrape/flip it only once to avoid absorbing too much oil, but with a good olive oil, I don't see the point.

Second, assemble this with on the best tortillas (one big one each, or a couple of small ones) as you heat a small amount of oil on a griddle or in a large skillet. Having rinsed and dried the shredder (or using another face of it), shred a generous helping of cheese. I use the sharpest cheddar at hand (usually from Cabot cooperative in Vermont) and sometimes a bit of Monterrey Jack (also usually from Cabot). This evening we used aged Lite Sharp Celtic Cheddar and Monterrey Jack, both from Trader Joe's, to very good effect. With the sweet potato mixture on one half of each tortilla and the cheese on top of that, fold each one over and put on the hot griddle, flipping when browned. Top with a good salsa (we used Green Mountain Gringo garlic this evening, but any good salsa will do) and either sour cream or plain yogurt.

As if this were not enough, tonight we added a third step, which was Pam's brilliance: sangria. I once scoffed at sangria as too sweet, but in the right circumstances, it is amazing -- and thrifty! Tonight it was Madria Sangria ("Tradicional/Fresh Citrus") with a chopped apple and a bit of Triple Sec. It was a good excuse to bring out our sangria pitcher and matching mugs (from Nantucket's best thrift shop) and the first outdoor dining of the season at Casa Hayes-Boh.
Yes, our sangria kit matches our cookie jar.

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