I love having parties and I love cooking. When I can combine the two I am in heaven.
I have a large kitchen and every gadget I can get my hands on. I spend a lot of time in Marshall’s, TJ Maxx and Kohl’s kitchen aisles looking for things I don’t have. I also buy seconds of things I love (any kind of special tongs, lemon squeezers, Santoku Knives) and share with my mom, sister and sister-in-law. I didn’t know what a sharp knife was until a few years ago and now if I don’t have one, I’m not cooking! Everyone else in the family has at least one courtesy of me.
Jan wanted to have a BBQ party to try a few recipes. The only hitch is she has no grill (which makes the fact that she bought a grilling cookbook kind of ironic). I immediately jumped at the chance to volunteer my kitchen, my gadgets, my grill, and my hubby to do the outdoor cooking.
We decided we wanted to do the Fish Taco Party and also the shrimp quesadillas for appetizers. The quesadillas were a huge hit and a new favorite of mine (recipe below). We also planned to have a few snacks and make some sauces. Jan brought cheese. Yeah! Here’s my olive wood cheese board I brought home from Italy. What kind of cheese – soft cheese, hard cheese, do you need a cheese fork? I have every type of cheese knife known to man. We made marinades, cooked tomato salsa and Jan brought fresh avocados to make guacamole. We made enough dishes that I got to pull out a lot of gadgets. Hey, here’s my avocado gadget that removes the fruit from the peeling. Here’s my corn cutter to get the grilled corn off the cob, want the deveiner?
As Jan was chunking her avocado chunks in a bowl she asked me if I had a pastry cutter. What? Panic. I don’t think I have a pastry cutter. As I was rifling through my drawers I started sweating. Oh my GOD! I don’t have a pastry cutter. I’m digging – how about a potato masher, a mezzaluna…. Uhhh, what else could we use? My friend Karen said “use a fork.” Ahh, the voice of reason. As the night went on I continued looking for a pastry cutter. Surely I have one. They enjoyed my distress and laughed every time they saw me searching yet another drawer.
I hate not having the right gadget, even when it’s not the right gadget. A pastry cutter is for making pastry (which is Pillsbury for me) not guacamole. By the way, with all my fancy gadgets, I would just use a fork the next time I make guacamole. Just like I use a knife and cutting board instead of my mezzaluna to chop fresh herbs, my garlic press to mash up my garlic, or my expensive mandolin for those perfect slices of whatever I’m slicing. So – I’m on the search for a pastry cutter. And I’m sure I’ll never use it. Just don’t want to get caught not having one.
Grilled Quesadillas with Sweet Corn, Grilled Shrimp and Pesto.*3 ears corn, husked (and we believe grilled may have been left off here) 12 (6 inch) flour tortillas 2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese 1 cup grated white Cheddar cheese 1 sweet onion thinly sliced into rounds (we used Vidalia) 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus extra for garnish Salt and freshly ground black pepper Olive oil 16 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
- Heat your grill to medium.
- To remove the kernels from the corncobs, stand the corn on end in a large bowl and cut downward with a small, sharp knife. Discard the cobs (we grilled the corn first then used my handy dandy Pampered Chef corn cutter).
- Place 8 of the tortillas on a flat work surface. Divide the cheeses, corn, onion, and thyme among the tortillas and season with salt and pepper.
- Make 4 quesadillas by stacking the filled tortillas by twos, then placing one of the remaining plain tortillas on top. Brush the tops of the quesadillas with olive oil.
- Brush the shrimp with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill and grill just until pink and lightly charred, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside. Leave the grill on.
- Carefully place the quesadillas oiled side down on the grill and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Carefully turn the quesadillas over with a large metal spatula, close the grill cover, and continue cooking for 2 minutes more, until the cheese has melted and the tortillas are crisp.
- Remove the quesadillas from the grill and cut into quarters for serving. Top each quarter with a tablespoon of pesto (he included a recipe for this but we bought it already made) and a grilled shrimp. Garnish with thyme leaves and serve immediately. YUM!
*Flay, Bobby, Boy Meets Grill