Dang Quesadilla

Sometimes in the Carruth household, particularly during pregnancies, a man has to cook. Sometimes when a man has to cook, oftentimes a woman has to sit in the kitchen too and give step by step directions. Such is the case with our Mushroom Quesadillas. There is great irony, however, when one remembers that it was Ryan in fact who first found and made this recipe. But since I tweeked it a bit I had to divulge my secrets in a real time step by step fashion.

Carruths Believe in Life and Men in the Kitchen!

Like I said, originally Ryan found this recipe for Mushroom Quesadillas on a hot summer night when the refrigerator was bare, the bank account was low and nobody wanted to cook (5 points to whoever read that in a Sam Spade voice).  It was a simple recipe calling for sauteed mushrooms and onions in a tortilla sandwich with cheese. That by itself was good, but what we made after that stupendous. And by stupendous, I mean, we added black beans and it was darned tasty.

Start Frying Tortillas

We’ve been buying 6″ corn torillas rather than the flour because we feel like we’re getting more for our money. Also, buying the actual Mexican brand, although imported, is cheaper than the American flour brand. The only prep required is to sautee mushrooms and either open a can of black beans, or cook beans ahead of time until they are mushy. So here goes: In enough oil to cover the bottom of a cast iron skillet, lay down two tortillas (if using larger tortillas you may have to just do one at a time) and let them start to brown.  Once it starts to brown, flip over both tortillas and begin assembly on one side. I smeared mashed up black beans, then sauteed mushrooms and cheese. Top with second tortilla and flip over. Cook just long enough to get the cheese melted without burning.


One quesadilla is pretty filling, I can eat one with chips and salsa and feel full. Since this was a family affair, Evangeline was knee deep in the kitchen helping. Here’s pictures of the finished delicious product and Evangeline helping

Black Bean and Mushroom Quesadilla
Helper Evie

Most Amazing Baked Potato

In a further attempt to eat well during this pregnancy, I busted out What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Because they already know what you’re thinking before you consult their Table of Contents, they told me not to freak out and immediately cut out carbohydrates in an attempt to keep weigh in control. The advice they gave, is not to give up potatoes, but rather, make sure to eat them with the skin still on. When you eat potatoes without the skin, you miss out on essential nutrients, so says What to Expect.

Yet again, Pinterest delivered me a delicious lunch. Sliced Baked Potato. Wash a yukon potato, thinly slice almost all the way through. Between each slice place a sliver of garlic, pour melted butter over the whole thing and sprinkle with salt.  Bake at 425 for 40 mins. Before eating, I knocked out each slice of garlic. It left enough flavor without being gross. Oh wow it was so good.  Each slice was crispy on the edges but soft in the middle. I cooked it for 40 mins, but the end pieces were still not quite cooked all the way though. So next time I’m going to either add more butter (I used about 1 Tbls) and\or cook it 45 mins. But that with a side of noodle soup was a perfect lunch and a guilt free carb for me!

Sliced nearly all the way through with garlic in between slices

No Such Thing as Down-Home Vegetarian

**Note to Readers** The following should be read with the best backwoods, hillbilly accent you can muster.

‘parently vegetarianism is just a fancy yankee thing. Down here we don’t have modus operandi or philosophy when it comes to food. Ya just eat, and if the meal don’t have meat…then it just don’t have meat. That’s why all vegetarian cookbooks and recipes are from yankees, or hoytee toytee types on the west coast.

Ok ok, stop with the hick voice. But I have noticed that a lot of recipes I’ve come across are re-inventing and fancing up down home cooking. Last nights (attempted) meal is a good case in point. I set out to make Cheddar Polenta Scallion Croquettes. Do you know what Cheddar Polenta Scallion Croquettes are? Cheesy grits grittle cakes! That’s all, nothing French about it. Just corn meal cooked down into a mash (polenta) left out to set, the cut into thin pieces and fried. Grittle cake! It sounds easy enough, but when I poured the polenta into a baking dish to cool and set, I didn’t use a big enough baking dish, making it much thicker than needed thus, it took forever to set and really just didn’t work. But the original idea was a good one, I think one day I’ll try it again.

To accompany our Cheddar Polenta Scallion Croquettes I made Broccoli Cheese Bites which were good, but just not worth it. And Mushroom Pasta.  The Broccoli Bites were:

2 cups chopped broccoli

1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

3 eggs

1 cup Italian breadcrumb

All ingridents are mixed together (I did the egg first, then cheese, broccoli and finally breadcrumb to make mixing easier) and formed into bite size patties. The patties are then placed on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and cooked 25 mins at 375. After 15 mins turn over.

They turned out ok–I mean, it’s cheesy broccoli! but just a little dried out. I blame that on my erratic oven more than the recipe.  I set it to 325 hoping it would settle on 375, but instead my broccoli bites cooked at 425 the whole time.  Next time, I think I’ll just stick to cheesy broccoli and rice or pasta. Which leads me to my final dish.

I was (correctly) worried that fried polenta cakes and broccoli bites would be a little dry and heavy so I tried to quickly come up with something else to balance. I first thought of soup, and I should have stuck with that thought. Instead, I made a creamy pasta and mushrooms. I used just a little more butter than needed to saute mushrooms and added it to pasta. It was creamy and tasty, but poorly paired with the polenta. We ate about 4 bites each and were full until lunch today.

This was a meal full of potential…and carbs. This has become our latest battle: to make meals without meat or processed foods that are filling and lasting. Using grains, pastas and starches are great ways to do just that, but this meal went over board. I do wish I could find a recipe book of typical Louisiana and southern fare sans meat. So many dishes, especially in Louisiana, are “poor people dishes” using mostly beans and rice. When meat is added, it’s tasty, but not always needed. Cajun cooking is a great example of a cuisine which uses spices and cooking methods to bring out a food’s natural ( and tasty ) flavor. I know it’s new fangled, but there’s no reason why there can’t be Southern Vegetarian Cookbooks.