Monday: Oh Why The Hell Not (aka the “Back for More $5 Sandwich Love from Food Exchange” Post)

A friend of mine who saw my Tweet about trying Food Exchange on Friday asked me over the weekend, “Well, how was it?”

photo-7“Oh it was sooo good,” I said. “The special runs through Wednesday. I might just have to try three more.” I was teasing, sort of. But as it turns out, not really, because here I was, perusing the online sandwich menu for Food Exchange at 11:35 am on Monday morning. More than a little deja vous.

The only thing deja vous, however, about the “100% all natural beef” steak & cheese sandwich from the “Hot Pressini Melts” section (quite different from the “Cutting Edge Sandwiches” section) was … the serious deliciousness.

Another winning sandwich: It arrived via delivery perfectly warm, the cheese melty, tender slices of beef, flecked with bits of sauteed mushroom and red pepper, garlic aioli, all pressed between a crusty rosemary focaccia bread. My one (minor) critique would be I’d love to have the beef a little more rare, but that’s virtually impossible, particularly in a warm sandwich.

Alright, Food Exchange, you’re 2-for-2, so far…

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Sunday: How To Make a Perfectly Crispy Quesadilla (the Secret’s in the Water)

Damn, it’s been a long since I bought a package of tortillas. Way, way too long — because I made a seriously good quesadilla.

photo-6It’s a matter of market demand: The average grocery store here (in Manhattan, at least) is more likely to stock great, locally-made pita or lavash bread than tortillas, and not to be a snob about it, but I haven’t touched Mission brand tortillas in years.

So I was intrigued to discover these La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious Tortillas at a health food store in my neighborhood. Sure, I’d take a large, white, almost-devoid-of-nutritional-value, giant burrito-sized tortilla over this low-carb, high fiber, whole wheat option, given the choice, but at least these tortillas are from a smallish company based in California. Read: Potential.

photo-5This is going to sound counter-intuitive, but the secret to a lovely, golden-crisped quesadilla, I was taught years and years ago, is to run the tortilla under a light stream of water just for a few seconds on each side, so the tortilla is damp. I don’t know the science of why this works, but it works.

photo-4A quesadilla can really be a kitchen sink dish — leftover chicken, spinach, fresh vegetables, etc. You can really throw in anything so long as its diced small enough and there’s enough cheese to bind it all together. In addition to cheese, I added some diced onion and tomato, a light smear of beans and wilted spinach. On top, I finished it off with a dollop of plain yogurt (sour cream alternative that was already in the fridge) and an excess of simple guacamole, which goes something like this:

Simple Guacamole

Ripe avocado, check.
Lemon juice squeeze, check.
Salt and pepper shake, check.

Mash, mash, mash.