So, if you’ve been following this blog for the past few weeks, you may have started to notice some trends.
- I love cheese.
- I love to cook foods that I can eat with my hands.
- I like to keep things pretty simple.
Don’t get me wrong…I love nothing more than to spend the day in the kitchen cooking up elaborate meals on special occasions, for dinner guests, or anytime I’ve got someone else to watch the kids. But, most of the time, I like to keep things simple. Just a few fresh ingredients, a little mixing and heating, and voila! A delicious meal! (We’ll just save the boeuf bourguignon for Christmas!)
I’ve been thinking a lot about this adorable little bistro we visited during our stay in Clearwater Beach. It was a small place with wine-lined walls. There was a long bar for wine tasting, a few indoor tables, and a large outdoor patio. The menu was simple but interesting; mostly salads, sandwiches, and pizzas, prepared behind the long bar. On Friday nights, they featured live music. We even walked by a doggie happy hour (a yappy hour, if you will), taking place on the patio one night. I’m pretty sure that if I ever had the good fortune to open a little place of my own, I’d want a place just like that. Simple, but elegant menu in a casual, inviting atmosphere. I’d feature fresh baked artisan breads and cheese from local farms, seasonal produce, and wines from the Finger Lakes region. I’d personally welcome each guest and offer complimentary wine tasting. And, I almost forgot… it would be spring all year long and I’d wear pretty skirts every day. Wouldn’t that be lovely??
But, I digress. Tonight’s dinner is inspired by one of the menu items at that adorable Clearwater Beach bistro. I love, love, love brie! Hands down, it’s one of my most favorite cheeses. I especially love brie when it’s paired with something fruity, like fig preserves or dried apricots. So, when I spotted the Cinnamon Apple and Brie Quesadillas on the menu, I stopped reading and just ordered. They’ve been on my mind lately, so I decided to whip up my own version. On the side, I’m serving Spring Greens with Prosciutto, Figs, and Walnuts in Balsamic. Though I was hoping to find fresh figs at my grocery store, they’re not in season until later in the summer/early fall. So, I picked up a bag of dried organic Calimyrna figs. Dried Black Mission figs would do the trick too.
Enjoy with a glass (or two) of your favorite wine!
Cinnamon Apple and Brie Quesadillas
- 8 soft taco-sized Flour Tortillas
- 1 wedge Brie, about 8 ounces
- 2 Granny Smith Apples
- 1 Tbsp Butter
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
Peel the apples, remove the core and finely dice. In a saucepan, melt butter. Add apples and cook over medium heat, for about 4-5 minutes, until apples are slightly softened. Add cinnamon, stir and cook for another minute. To compose the quesadillas, sprinkle cinnamon apples onto a flour tortilla. Top with very thin slices of brie. Cover with another tortilla. Bake in a 350 degrees oven for 5-7 minutes, until cheese is melted and tortilla is slightly crispy. Use a pizza cutter to divide the quesadilla into 4 parts. Drizzle with honey. Serves 4
Not too much to say about the salad… Chop up some prosciutto and thinly slice some figs. Toss some mixed spring greens in a little balsamic or balsamic vinaigrette. Top with the prosciutto, figs, and some walnuts. This salad is fantastic with crumbled goat cheese or gorgonzola!