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Monday, August 23, 2010

goat cheese and basil quesadilla with tomato basil salsa

i tend to make a lot of quesadillas in the summer. one reason is that when the weather finally turns nice in seattle, i want a super-quick preparation so we can have porch time, or take a walk, or hit a happy hour before dinner. another reason is that i can't get enough of summer salsas, relishes, and chutneys-- anything fresh and raw with minimal fuss is my favorite way to experience warm weather produce.

this quesadilla is one i've been making for years from bobby flay's bold american food. (really-- years! i didn't even realize how long this has been in the rotation until i just noticed a quote from rick bayless on the back cover calling the cookbook "perfect for the '90s table." man, i'm feeling behind the times... but, que sera. it's still good!)

goat cheese, basil, and a tomato salsa with basil and balsamic vinegar set this quesadilla apart from its more tex-mexy cousins. baked rather than fried in butter, this is a light, flavorful, and fast summer dinner. 

goat cheese and basil quesadilla
makes 1 full-size quesadilla

2 large flour tortillas (we've been using a package of whole wheat tortillas as the calorie count is notably lower-- we might be doing our waistlines a favor, but i certainly prefer the taste and texture of the full-fat varieties!)
4 oz or so shredded monterey jack cheese
2 oz or so crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped 

preheat oven to 450 degrees. place one tortilla on baking sheet and top with shredded monterey jack, crumbled goat cheese, and basil. top with remaining tortilla and bake 8-10 minutes or until crispy and golden and the cheese has melted. serve with tomato basil salsa.

tomato basil salsa
1 medium ripe tomato (or a couple of smaller ones), coarsely chopped 
1 Tbsp chopped red or sweet onion
1 1/2 tsp seeded and minced jalapeno 
2 Tbsp balsamic vonegar
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

combine all ingredients, and season to taste with salt and pepper. refrigerate at least one hour if you can, and let it come to room temp before serving.

fresh goat cheese from port madison goat farm and dairy
jalapeno and onions from alvarez farm
tomatoes and basil from our garden

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