When she has the kitchen all to herself, Phyllis Grant of Dash and Bella cooks beautiful iterations of what solo meals were always meant to be: exactly what you want, when and where you want them.
Today: Elevate your quesadilla -- this is how.
After getting shot in the heart by a homemade bow and arrow -- while coming down with a cold. After baking a Meyer lemon raspberry cake, massaging heaps of kale, and prepping two batches of tart dough. Between the morning and afternoon rounds of laundry folding, dish washing, dog walking, and time-out dispensing.
While trying to figure out if I’m supposed to feed a cold and starve a fever or starve a cold and feed a fever or just climb into bed and give up. And before locating the blow torch and almost setting s’mores cupcakes -- and my hair -- on fire, we gleefully inhaled kale and corn quesadillas with yoghurt and Sriracha. Because we wanted to.
Coat leaves with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or garlic oil if you have it). Tenderize by squeezing the greens in your hands. Be aggressive. Do it for a few minutes -- it’s worth it.
Shuck a few ears of corn, and then slice off the raw kernels with a serrated knife. Mix with the kale.
To the kale and corn mixture, add at least one clove of grated or chopped garlic, another tablespoon of olive oil, a splash of Champagne vinegar, a pinch of salt, a finely chopped shallot, 1/3 cup chopped herbs (parsley, mint, and/or basil). Taste. Adjust seasoning. You’ll probably need a bit more salt and maybe some more vinegar.
At this point, the salad will hold up for a few days in the fridge, and it just gathers more flavor as it sits. Eat it now, if you like; toss it with sliced cabbage or pasta.
If you’re going the quesadilla route (which you should), crank up the heat under a griddle or frying pan and coat it with a thin slick of vegetable or olive oil. When the oil is smoking, turn the heat down to medium and place a tortilla in the pan. Cover the tortilla with slices of Monterey Jack cheese. Spoon kale and corn salad all over the cheese (leaving a bit of the cheese exposed so that the top tortilla sticks). Cover with another tortilla. Oh-so-carefully and quickly flip the quesadilla when the first side is crispy and brown. Remove from the heat when second side is done and place on a cutting board.
Let it sit for one minute so that the cheese doesn’t squeeze out when it’s cut. Slice with a pizza cutter or scissors. Splatter with yoghurt, crème fraîche, or sour cream. Serve with Sriracha.
Photos by Phyllis Grant