Grilled Pear, Gouda & Bacon Quesadilla
What You'll Need:
-1 small (slightly under-ripe) bartlett pear, sliced thin using widest sides of pear. The slices should resemble the general shape of the pear. Once sliced, grill slices on both sides in grill pan on medium-high heat, allowing for grill marks to form.
-1-2 ounces of sliced gouda (mild, red wax), cut into smaller squares
-1-"Flat Out" flatbread or a soft whole wheat tortilla, grilled on both sides using a grill pan. Grill marks should be a light golden brown and tortilla or flatbread should still be soft.
-2 strips of Morning Star Farms (faux) bacon, cooked until crispy (you can also use real bacon if you're a carnivore but be sure to absorb excess grease from bacon with paper towel before using in quesadilla)
Spray grill pan with non-stick cooking spray and place flatbread or tortilla down. On tortilla/flatbread, place squares of gouda, covering one-half of tortilla/flatbread. Place grilled pear slices on top of gouda. Break bacon strips in half and place on top of pears, adding a few more small squares of gouda on top of bacon--for some added "glue" to keep your quesadilla together while you eat. Fold tortilla/flatbread in half and let cheese melt. You should see cheese melting out of sides when pressing with a spatula--use medium-high heat, flipping tortilla/flatbread after about 1-2 minutes on each side.
Once fully cooked, plate quesadilla. Using a pizza cutter, cut into vertical slices. Fan out slices on plate and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Garnish with a pinch of sea salt and a pile of fresh blackberries (eat a blackberry or two after eating a slice of your quesadilla for full effect)...and most importantly, enjoy!!! Makes one serving. The sweetness of the pear combined with the creaminess of the gouda and salty goodness of the bacon is a match made in Pop Culture Cooking heaven. You can also serve with our Holy Mole Sauce from the first 2011 Pop Culture Cooking installment, skipping the olive oil, sea salt and blackberry garnish. Hint: Another garnish alternative may be a red-wine reduction sauce with blackberries (over medium-high heat, place 1/2 cup good red wine with some fresh ground pepper and 5 blackberries in sauce pan; let it cook down for 3-5 minutes, slightly mashing blackberries with back of spoon, or until slightly thickened--allow to cool before pouring over quesadilla) or, simply drizzle quesadilla with (good) balsamic vinegar, extra virginolive oil, sea salt--and including the fresh blackberries (!) for garnish.
Bourbon Banana Sauce
This dish is a divine sauce you can use over a bowl of fresh blackberries, low-fat vanilla yogurt or decadent vanilla bean ice cream--your choice! In 2011, Pop Culture Cooking is getting healthy, providing lots of snack-alternatives that may be used as meals so you can get your fill of pop culture pleasures without worrying about filling out your waistline, too.
What You'll Need:
-1/3 cup of good small-batch bourbon
-2 medium bananas, sliced
-1 teaspoon Neilsen-Massey Vanilla
-2 tablespoons of caramel sauce (I used William Sonoma's caramel sauce, but any will do)
In sauce pan over medium-high heat place sliced bananas, bourbon and vanilla. After about a minute, carefully use spatula to flip over banana slices. Let cook for another 30-60 seconds. Take off heat. Spoon in the 2 tablespoons of caramel sauce and use spatula, again--carefully--to incorporate. Pour over yogurt, fresh berries, your favorite ice cream, or frozen yogurt and enjoy! Makes enough for two servings.
Blackberry Pear Cocktail
What You'll Need:
-3 fresh blackberries, rinsed and dried, placed in the bottom of a martini glass
-1 pear wedge (you can use the sides of the pear sliced earlier for the quesadilla--there should be enough for two small wedges remaining)
-1 part soda water
-1 part pear-flavored vodka
-1-2 tablespoons of syrup from canned pears (to taste and if desired)
-3-4 ice cubes, depending on size
Combine liquid ingredients in martini glass (with blackberries already on the bottom. Begin with the vodka; follow with syrup and top with soda water. Garnish glass with pear wedge. Enjoy! As always, you can play with the amounts of liquid-ingredients to your preference....
Non-alcoholic version: Replace pear vodka with two parts soda water and 2-3 tablespoons of pear syrup. Garnish as desired.
Next time, we're getting Supernatural in Pop Culture Cooking with some Peruvian quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) spiced up with...cinnamon! But you'll have to wait 'til then to learn more.
Thank you for joining me for the latest segment of Pop Culture Cooking 2011! See you soon....