I just got back from San Diego, where I was paying a visit to meet my newborn niece, Sabine. Unbiased of course, she is gorgeous. Her nickname is "Bean" because that's what came out of her older sister's mouth when she was all of one year old trying to pronounce "Sabine". Ever since she started out as a 'lil bean in her mama's belly, she's been referred to as "Bean".
Bean has that baby smell that I quickly got addicted to. Every early morning, 6 a.m. to be precise, I would wake up and head to the kitchen: to find her, hold her, press my nose against her head and then inhale her baby scent. If you are wondering why the kitchen, it's because my brother-in-law has started his day and mine (bless his heart) with a whole other scent, the coffee drop—Japanese style drip. He has his tools in order: grinder, scale, and drip filter,
This is how my mornings played out until I got over my jet lag: rise and shine at 6 a.m. soon became rise and snooze til 9 a.m. Although I still had Bean's baby scent to look forward to, gone was the aroma of the other bean —the coffee bean. My brother-in-law was long gone and off to work.
Besides sniffing Bean's head and drinking coffee from the drip, I did eat a lot of Mexican food. Afterall, San Diego is just next door. I thought I knew it all from my days milling about at Mexican family soccer games in some Brooklyn park, where I could eat freshly made tortillas and salsa off their portable, makeshift grills right out of the backs and trunks of their cars, and buy Tecate beers straight from their coolers, all for two dollars. Apparently not.
I discovered an ingredient called hominy that I'll have to search for in Paris. Once I find it, I'm keen on making a fish based or vegetarian based pozole which I'll share with you in the future. As for now, I have French Provençale ratatouille leftovers that I've converted into a Mexican quesadilla dish. Olé!
• 1 x 400 gram tin of red kidney beans or other bean of preference
• 1 shallot, chopped
• 1 tablespoon cumin
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 150 grams of emmental cheese
• 2 cups ratatouille or any vegetable filling
• 1/2 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro)
• 2 large flour tortillas
• Dallop of sour cream or crème fraîche
Add some cooking oil in a pan and cook the shallots over medium heat until they have softened.
Add the tin of beans and stir.
Throw in your spices: cumin, chili powder. Stir it up a bit.
Then transfer it to a small mixing bowl and mash it up with a fork or a masher.
Since I had ratatouille left over, you can choose any combination of vegetables; just cook it beforehand. My kids love this with spinach, so I simply steam the spinach.
Lay out your tortilla and spread half of it with the bean mash, and the other half with your vegetable filling of choice. Be careful not to add too much filling otherwise it will fall out. Try to keep it thinly spread. Sprinkle some coriander over the cheese.
Grab two to three handfuls of cheese and spread over the beans.
Place it on a large cooking pan over medium heat and cook until the bottom of the tortilla warms up and starts to speckle up golden brown.
Using a spatula, fold the quesadilla in half. Press down on the quesadilla with the back side of the spatula and cook until the whole side is golden brown and then flip and repeat.
Transfer to a cutting board and cut them into wedges.
Serve along witha dallop of sour cream or crème fraîche (depending on which country you live in) and garnish with coriandre.