I'm a big fan of not following the rules of food all the time. There are reasons why ingredients for recipes typically come from the same style or genre, but that shouldn't prevent you from crossing borders and experimenting...that's how some of the best and most innovative recipes are born.
If you decide to get brave and turn your kitchen into a laboratory, just be prepared for the reality that not all of your culinary experiments will likely be featured on the Food Network right away. (Trust me, I have created many disasters as I have attempted to broaden my range.) In fact, I am feeling quite generous tonight and will pass along 2 VERY valuable things I learned so as to prevent you from making similar mistakes:
- When cooking for people, you cannot cover up burned food by calling it "Cajun" unless you ACTUALLY know how to cook Cajun.
- Bananas have no place in Chinese cooking.
Carmelized Red Onion & Fennel Quesadillas:
- 1 - Medium red onion, sliced thinly
- 1 - Bulb of fennel, sliced thinly (Check out my blog on how to slice fennel if you're not familiar.)
- 1/2 - Bottle of your favorite beer
- 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp. Butter
- 1 Tsp. Sugar
- 1# (16 oz) of either Montery Jack or Colby Jack shredded cheese (I highly recommend shredding your own - the quesadilla will be much creamier, but you most certainly can use a bagged version.)
- 1 Package Tortillas - Burrito size
How To Make:
- Slice the fennel and onion and set aside. Heat the butter and oil in a medium saute' pan over medium heat until butter begins to melt. Add your fennel and red onions and allow them to cook about 8 minutes until they begin to soften. Add your sugar and stir mixture, continuing to cook 2-3 minutes. Finally add your beer and cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes until it reduces. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. (This mix can also be made up to 2 days ahead of time and refrigerated.).
- If you're shredding your cheese yourself, shred it now and place in a bowl.
- Heat a large pan on your stovetop over medium heat. Place your tortilla down flat in the pan and spoon some of the cheese over 1/2 of it followed by some of the onion/fennel mix. (My technique then is to immediately pull the blank half of the tortilla over the un-melted filling and then turn it over in the pan. This way, the cheese will then melt down into the ingredients on the inside. Neat huh?)
- Allow this to cook about 3-5 minutes so the tortilla crisps in the pan. Check occasionally - when you see it beginning to darken/toast just a little, flip back to the first side and repeat until that side is toasted. Remove to a cutting board, slice, and serve.