Mexican Food is one of our favorites when we eat out. I make it at home, but not often enough. Enchiladas, Tacos, [working up to tamales] but nothing fancy. This month Rick Bayless was our Avatar Chef – an idea of Nancy’s to do a different chef each month for our Twitter Avatars – for August. I wanted something quick and easy. And I found it.

Cheese and Mushroom Quesadillas: Quesadillas de Queso y Hongos


    * 2 tablespoons olive oil (preferably extra-virgin) or rich-tasting pork lard, plus a little more for the tortillas
    * 1 pound button mushrooms (or other flavorful mushrooms, such as shiitake, oyster, cremim, or chanterelles), cleaned and sliced 1/4-in-8h thick (about 4 cups)
    * 2 to 3 serranos or 1 to 2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
    * 2 tablespoons chopped fresh epazote leaves or 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
    * Salt
    * 8 (6-inch) fresh corn tortillas (or flour tortillas if good corn tortillas are not available)
    * 8 ounces Mexican melting cheese (quesillo, asader, or the like) or Monterey Jack or mild Cheddar, shredded (about 2 cups)
    * About 1 cup salsa, store bought or home made

The mushroom filling:
In a medium skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons oil or lard over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, chiles, and epazote (if you’re using cilantro, set it aside to add later), stir well, and cover. Continue to stir every minute or so, replacing the cover each time, until the mushrooms have released a lot of juice, 4 to 5 minutes. Uncover, and let briskly simmer until all the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1/4 teaspoon. Add the cilantro now, if that’s what you’re using.

Forming and griddle-baking the quesadillas:
Heat a well-seasoned or nonstick griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat. Turn the oven on to its lowest setting. One by one, make the quesadillas: Lightly brush 1 side of each tortilla with oil, then lay it oiled side down on the hot griddle. Spread with about 1/4 cup of the cheese, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the mushroom mixture down the center of the cheese-covered tortilla. When the cheese begins to melt (but before the tortilla begins to crisp), fold the tortilla in half along the line of the filling. Cook, flipping the quesadilla every minute or so, until the cheese is completely melted and the tortilla crisps, about 5 minutes in all. As each quesadilla is done, transfer it to a baking sheet and keep in a warm oven.>{Recipe courtesy Rick Bayless; From Mexico: One Plate at a Time, Scribner 2000.}

These were so easy and so good. I did leave out the out peppers. I like spicy, but a fan of hot.

This months chef was chosen by Jovonn. If you are on Twitter, you will see all the different avatars. I know the recipes are on their webpages. It’s a whole new Treasure Hunt!!