Sunday, May 06, 2007

Strawberries and Chocolate: Quesadilla-style

Spring is good here. Real fruit actually haunts the aisles of our little store. Strawberries with real strawberry taste have been making their debut here in the village and the cartons disappear faster than ice in a heatwave.

Begging and wheedling are a part of my lifestyle at the village store. Sometimes some extra goodies lurk in the back room. I've never been brave enough, like some, to just walk in the back and take what I want, so I must resort to begging and wheedling to get the goodies. I've gotten things like radishes, Ribena and, yesterday, strawberries in such a way.

Yesterday there were only three cartons left in the back to go on the shelf: mine, the ones I saved for a favourite village elder, P., and one that was whisked away in the space of one minute while I was searching to give the saved, desired box to said P. I swear to you, that those strawberries didn't last two minutes on the refrigerated shelves before they were all swept away. Money is no object for fresh fruit in this village once spring rolls around.

While I could have eaten them all straight up, I did actually have a plan for those beauties that would hopefully turn out to be everything I could hope for in a dessert: fruit, chocolate and bread. Thus the strawberry and chocolate quesadilla was created for yesterday's dessert. I wish I could claim it as my own inspiration but I came across it in my newish cook book: Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates by the Moosewood Collective. There are many recipes I've enjoyed from Moosewood books and this one turned out to be a new favourite and potential inspiration, too.

Strawberry Chocolate Quesadillas

3 cups thinly sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
6 flour tortillas (8 inches across)
vegetable oil
3/4 cup chocolate chips [I used milk chocolate chips]

Combine the strawberries, cinnamon and 3 tbsp of the confectioners' sugar in a bowl. Leaving a 1/2-inch border at the edges, spread half a cup of the strawberry mix on one half of each of the tortillas.

Brush two large heavy skillets with oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Place one tortilla in each skillet and put 2 tbsp of the chocolate chips on the plain half of the tortilla, leaving a border of about 1 1/2-inch at the edges. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the chocolate [starts to] melts. Fold the tortilla in half and press the edges together with a spatula. Remove the quesadillas from the skillet and repeat the procedure with the remaining two pairs.

Serve immediately, dusted with the remaining confectioners' sugar and sliced in half.

Notes: An unbelievably easy and fast dessert. The strawberries could even be prepped ahead of time to sit a moment in the sugar and cinnamon. Really be careful of the heat as I burned the first tortilla, even on a lower heat, the moment I took my eyes off to say something to my guest. But the rest were an amazingly quick process with few ingredients but still looked good enough for my last-night guests to elicit gasps of admiration.

I've been dreaming of making a pear version in the "Belle-Helene" style now. I'm sure it would be good too. Yum! :9