Bean & Cheese Quesadillas, Broccoli Slaw, and Orange-Almond Polenta Cake

You can feel in the air that the temperature is steadily rising.  Tomorrow will be 93F (close to 33C) and I can be sure I won’t be cooking anything significant.  You’ll see me going into cooking hibernation as the Summer time approaches.  Yes, this is the downside of not having centralized AC (air-con) in the house… I guess it’s a good time to shed some pounds from the Winter, but at this age, do I really care if I look fit and slim???  I’ll never look like when I was in my 20’s nor in my early 30’s, maybe this is the weight I should be – well, folks, I’m pretty happy with the way I look, ofcourse I look at my tummy flab and lament, but oh well, que sera sera!  Before it gets really hot and unbearable, I’ll try to cover as much recipes I can! 

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Bean & Cheese Quesadilla: serves 4
1 – 16 ounce can of refried beans
8 flour tortillas (8-10 inch)
1 cup of your favorite salsa
2-1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 8 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 400F
Arrange 4 tortillas at least an inch apart on a lightly oiled baking sheet.  Spread refried beans evenly over each tortilla.  Spoon a couple of tablespoons of salsa on top of the beans and sprinkle with cheese.   Place the remaining tortillas on top and press gently.  Bake until the cheese is melted and the quesadillas are warmed through, 10-15 minutes. 
Cut each quesadillas into 6 wedges and serve while hot, with more salsa on the side. 
Note:  If you cannot find refried beans that you like, use plain pinto beans or black beans and mash them with the salsa before spreading on the tortillas.

My opinion: I got all my ingredients at the Whole Foods Market.  These ingredients aren’t expensive, even if they are organic.  Instead of using Monterey Jack, I used the combination of Mozzarella and Provolone, and it still tasted very very yummy.  I didn’t cut the tortillas into 6 wedges, but just 4.  This was a very satisfying dinner and it was super super easy!!  We all enjoyed this especially with the Broccoli slaw!

Broccoli Slaw: serves 4-6
3 cups packaged broccoli slaw mix (6ounces)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar
salt and pepper

Toss together the broccoli slaw, olive oil, and lemon juice.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve right away, or to allow the flavours to deepen, let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or more. 
Variations: Add chopped raisins, thinly sliced red onions or scallions, chopped cilantro, sliced or chopped celery, grated carrots, and/or sliced or minced red bell peppers.  For creaminess, add a tablespoon of mayonnaise. 

My opinion:  This was so easy too!!  Great tasting slaw and matched very well with the quesadillas above.  I got the broccoli slaw at Trader Joe’s (they have it for a really good price for the organic broccoli slaw mix).  I added lime juice, raisins and mayonnaise to my slaw and I looooved it!!  If you cannot find the broccoli slaw mix, just use the food processor to shred the broccoli stems, and mix in some carrots and some red cabbage!

Orange-Almond Polenta Cake: serves 8
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1/3 cup cornmeal
2/3 cup unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups almonds
3/4 cup sugar
1 orange
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Lightly oil and flour a 9 inch round cake pan.
Sift the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.  In a blender or food processor, whirl the almonds and sugar until the almonds are finely ground.  Add to the flour mixture. 
Grate the orange peel and juice the orange (about 1/3 cup).  Add the orange juice, orange zest, oil, eggs, and 1/3 cup of water to the blender or food processor and whirl for about 15 seconds.  Add the dry ingredients and blend until well mixed, using a spatula to scrape down the sides if necessary.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. 
Cool on a rack for 10 minutes; then carefully remove the cake from the pan.  When thoroughly cool, dust with confectioners’ sugar. 

My opinion: Even though the recipes says to use the food processor, you can just do it the traditional way, by your hands!  I actually baked double batch so I used my good ‘ole hands.  Here’s a little confession: I was so absorbed with grating and juicing the orange, I completely forgot about adding the cornmeal!!  However, I am happy to say that the cake still came out supreme:-)  Loved the taste of orange and almonds; and if I DID add the cornmeal, it’ll add nice crunchiness to this cake.  If I just make one batch, I can easily bake this in my toaster oven, and in that way, I don’t have to heat up the whole big oven!  A great Summer time cake!

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4 thoughts on “Bean & Cheese Quesadillas, Broccoli Slaw, and Orange-Almond Polenta Cake

  1. mecha mecha oishisou…! the quesadillas look very easy… great al fresco dish da ne! especially with the slaw.polenta cake (without polenta?!) looks absolutely yummy. just got a new Delicious magazine with lots of summer berry desserts and cakes… will try one and post up ne!

  2. honto kono dinner mecha kantan and it was delicious! the cake is a def. keeper, I baked two and I froze one! I'll be waiting for some Summer dessert recipes on your site!!

  3. I got a chance to eat this yummy Orange-Polenta cake and it was lovely. It has such wonderful complimentary flavors that are subtle and yet sublime somehow. Really enjoyed it!

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