Tag Archives: Cheese

Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini

7 Oct

One thing I don’t really understand about restaurant patrons is this: why do you always try to order from someone who is not your waiter? Maybe you don’t pay much attention so you can’t remember which one of us is your server? But…I’m a girl. The busboy is a boy. So you could at least differentiate between us. I know you’re probably super psyched about that tiramisu. But I just brought you the dessert menu, and I promise I will be back within a couple minutes to see what you want. In fact, right now I’m standing right behind him, about to ask you what you want. So maybe you could wait 2 seconds for him to clear your plate and I’ll get that order from you?

Pro-tip: At least at my restaurant, only your server can access your order in the system. Another server can’t enter whatever you ordered for me. So when you tell someone else you want a refill of wine, they have to first find me, tell me, remember what you asked for and what table you’re at. By the time they do, I probably would have already come over and gotten the order from you personally.

But I do love waitressing. Especially when you’re just at that right amount of busy that you never really stop moving but you are still able to get to every table as often as you need too.  And since I love food, I especially enjoy when people ask for recommendations. I have some strong feelings about some of those dishes.  People veer away from things named Hunkar Begendi, and they just need someone to assure them that it will be the best decision they’ve made all week, even if they can’t pronounce it.

Also the nachos are great when you’re drinking margaritas. No really, we’re a Turkish restaurant, I swear.

I’d also like to admit right now that I am REALLY bad at carrying martini glasses. I didn’t know it was possible to so consistently spill things on myself. Why did we design a glass that is shaped with what seems like the sole purpose of spilling alcohol?

So yes. In case you were wondering, I did just spill some of your Cosmo down my arm. My bad.

One side effect of waitressing, though, is that I’m really not cooking as much as I was before. Two nights a week I eat at the restaurant after my shift, and a lot of week nights I’m throwing together something easy. So, I’ll try to post something up here whenever I make something worthwhile, but it’s likely going to be less frequent than I would like. My mom has been hassling me to post this recipe, since she saw a photo of the finished product but I didn’t get this post together until WEEKS later. Sorry, mom! (Also you might be saying “your recipe calls for shallots, but I see onions in that picture.” True. I used onions, but after eating it, I think shallots would have tasted much better, so I highly suggest going that route.)

Stuffed Zucchini
Serves 3
3 medium zucchinis
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs olive oil
2 ears sweet corn, cut off the cob
1 large tomato, diced
2 shallots, diced
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice zucchinis in half longways. Use a spoon to scrape the seeds out, creating a small hollow area in each zucchini, like little zucchini canoes. But don’t take out too much, you still want to taste the zucchini. Set aside on a baking sheet lined with foil.
Add quinoa, water and salt in a small pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy and semi-transparent. While quinoa cooks, heat olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sweet corn and cook for 5 minutes. Set aside.
When quinoa is finished cooking, taste and add additional salt if needed. Add shallot and corn mixture to quinoa. Add tomatoes and mozzarella and stir to thoroughly combine.
Divide quinoa mixture among hollowed out zucchinis. Top with a little extra shredded mozzarella.
Cook stuffed zucchinis for 15 minutes or until cheese on top is bubbly.

Black Bean Quesadilla

25 Apr

True story: I eat a lot of quesadillas. Usually I just make a simple cheese ‘dilla for lunch. But yesterday I decided to go for something more substantial.

The reason I needed more substance was this: I got a job. It’s just a job, not a job job.  I’m still looking for a job job, but for now, I’m making money working as a hostess at a Mediterranean restaurant in my neighborhood. Since I work over the dinner hour, I have to eat a big mid-afternoon meal before my shift or else I’m starving by 11pm.  This quesadilla definitely kept me full all evening (and then my manager ended up giving me some lamb quesadilla at the end of my shift, so I kind of ate an absurd amount of quesadilla yesterday).

Being a hostess has been great so far, it’s not too complicated, and I get half-off meals after my shift, which is awesome. Even once I get a job job, I’m going to keep a few shifts a week at the restaurant just to give me a little extra cushion in my bank account (especially after five months of being unemployed).

If there was ever a picture that fully described me as a person it is this one:

The one thing I always have in my fridge is a huge block of colby jack cheese. So good.

And I’m probably a little heavy-handed with my cheese application. Feel free to be healthier than I am and use less.

I’m going to share my super secret guac recipe with you:

Just kidding. I didn’t have time before work to make guac, so I just used a packaged mix. I added some extra red onion…and at least it’s organic? Not as good as the real thing, but still pretty darn tasty.

Black Bean Quesadillas
Serves 2

Print this recipe!

4 small flour tortillas (or 2 large flour tortillas)
3/4 cup shredded Colby jack cheese
½ medium red onion, diced
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
¼ cup black beans, drained and rinsed (more or less depending on your personal love of black beans)
Guacamole, salsa, sour cream or whatever else you like to put on your quesadillas

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add diced onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Turn heat down to medium low, and put one of the tortillas in the same skillet. Top with half the cheese, half the onions, and half the black beans. Cover with another tortilla and turn the heat back up to medium. Cook until brown, flip, and cook until other side is brown. If the tortillas are browning to quickly, lower the heat.

Remove from heat, slice into quarters or sixths, top with guac, and burn the roof of your mouth on the cheese because you refuse to wait a few extra seconds to let it cool. At least that’s what I did.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Red Wine Onions

13 Apr

I just got back to the District after a nice week at home in Illinois. I spent a lot of time hanging out with my parents, did some shopping with my mom, helped my dad take apart the back deck so they can replace the pool liner, consumed the messiest burger known to mankind, tried to go to a roller derby but it got postponed, ate saffron risotto and beef nachos (weird combination, I know) at our favorite tapas place, got iced chai from my favorite coffeeshop, ate a chicken caesar salad sandwich at my favorite cafe, got a mani/pedi while my mom got her hair done, went on some nice walks around the neighborhood in the evenings after dinner, went to a spin class with my friend, jogged with my mom, watched the Cards games with my dad on his huge tv, got to hang out with this guy:

He was mostly interested in eating, but I think he was at least a little happy to see me.

I also went to a cookout at my friend’s apartment. She lives in this fantastic old house with a huge front porch. I threw together Pioneer Woman’s Blackberry Cobbler and some of these tasty little stuffed mushrooms.

And you’ll notice how much fancier the kitchen I’m in is. My mom recently remodeled hers and it is fantastic. I also got to use my parents’ camera, which you can probably tell from the pictures is way nicer than what I normally use. It made me very excited for when I can afford to throw down some money on a DSLR.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Red Wine Onions
Makes 30 stuffed mushrooms

30 baby bella mushrooms, washed or wiped off, stems removed
2 medium onions, halved and sliced thin
2 tbsp butter
¼ cup red wine
½ tsp tarragon
½ tsp salt
1 cup grated swiss cheese

In a large skillet, melt 1 tbsp of butter over medium heat, add onions, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once soft, add wine and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Season with tarragon and set aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In the same skillet, melt the remaining 1 tbsp butter over medium heat and add mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and let cook for about 2 minutes. Remove and place stem side up in a large Pyrex dish.

Stuff each mushroom cap with onions and then top each with grated swiss cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, and then turn on your broiler for a few minutes to brown the cheese. Pop one in your mouth to check the levels of deliciousness. Pop another one in just to be sure. Try to save a few for your friends.