Posted by: Ernest Barteldes | November 15, 2012

Partying at Home: Black Bean Quesadillas


Early in our relationship, Renata and I used to invite friends (and not so close friends) to our Staten Island apartment for dinner parties or get-togethers. It was something that we often added to what turned into our ‘traditional’ Sunday dinners that I have written about in recent posts.

I recall the first Thanksgiving party we hosted at our Staten Island apartment back in 2005. We invited people like us, who had nowhere to go that day because they had no relatives in the country (my younger sister did live in New York at the time, but as far as I can remember she had plans elsewhere), and instead of turkey and fixings, I made an assortment of international dishes that included pierogis (Poland), samosas (India), black bean quesadillas (Tex-Mex) and other things I can’t really recall. It was a nice celebration, and for the next couple of years we hosted birthdays, Christmas celebrations or for no reason at all but to enjoy the company of friends.

In recent times, we have reduced the frequency of such get-togethers. Nowadays we take advantage of the four days of Thanksgiving to travel somewhere warm and thaw or bones from the cold. Most Sundays we just want to be with each other and enjoy some quality time together, and after last year’s disastrous Christmas in which a friend cancelled at the eleventh hour and some last-minute guests pretty much ruined things, we have decided to no longer have anyone over for that Holiday.

Also, there is the fact that as time passed, many of those friendships are not what they used to be – many of the folks we used to have over paired off with people we don’t exactly get along with, while others have been leading complicated lives where they cannot (or are unwilling to) find a few hours to spend with us. Then there are the ones who have left New York for greener pastures.

However, when we do have people over, we try our best to make it worthwhile. It is always a pleasure to go into the kitchen to prepare foods that are a bit out of the box (Israeli couscous, anyone?), have a few glasses of wine and partake on some great conversation – so I look forward when I have the chance to do so.

 

Black bean quesadilla

From Eating Well: 

4 servings

Ingredients

  • · 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • · 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, preferably pepper Jack
  • · 1/2 cup prepared fresh salsa (see Tip), divided
  • · 4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
  • · 2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • · 1 ripe avocado, diced

Preparation

  1. Combine beans, cheese and 1/4 cup salsa in a medium bowl. Place tortillas on a work surface. Spread 1/2 cup filling on half of each tortilla. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 quesadillas and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and quesadillas. Serve the quesadillas with avocado and the remaining salsa.

Ingredients

  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, preferably pepper Jack
  • 1/2 cup prepared fresh salsa (see Tip), divided
  • 4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced

Preparation

  1. Combine beans, cheese and 1/4 cup salsa in a medium bowl. Place tortillas on a work surface. Spread 1/2 cup filling on half of each tortilla. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 quesadillas and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and quesadillas. Serve the quesadillas with avocado and the remaining salsa.
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Responses

  1. It’s a great tradition you guys had and I like the one you have now. I am sorry to hear you had such a negative experience while hosting your last holiday party; sounds like it left a bad taste in your mouth.
    This ‘friendship’ thing is a very delicate subject for me as well; I have seen a number of my relationships dwindle away. I started asking myself why this is happening and am now writing my master’s thesis related to this topic. What I found is that as we grow older a number of things happen, including finding a life partner, having children, having a demanding job, etc, and, sadly, friendships aren’t as important to people as they were in when they were in their 20s, lets say. Other priorities take over. According to Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam, this is a natural progression for a lot of people, but also, in general Americans have been continuously decreasing their participation in social activities. Bummer.
    Having said this, a friend recently sent me an article about the things people regret most when on their death beds. It’s based on a book written by a woman who spent 20 years working at a hospice. One of their five biggest regrets was: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. Seeing these words made me look at my friendships and fight for the people that mean the most to me. In my eyes, this means focusing on the people that are there for me, being honest with people that have hurt me by not being there for me, being objective and more critical of my own behavior towards others and where I’ve let people down, and working to forgive certain ‘friendship trespasses’ for the sake of relationships that are hard to find.

    • Very true… I happened to come across yet another article on the Times that deals with this very topic… But back to your comment, I find it very frustrating when people hold off invites just because there might be something better around the corner… I just cannot consider these people friends, really. As for forgiving peoples’ trespasses, I am not sure I can do it after the same trespass repeats itself three or four times.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/fashion/the-challenge-of-making-friends-as-an-adult.html?pagewanted=all

      • Yes, I agree with you. Such people are emotionally unavailable and hurt us more than help us. And I also agree that it’s pointless to spend time on repeat offenders. Thanks for the article.

  2. Agreed… Some people say I have no patience, but the fact is that if you stretch one’s wit you end up hearing what you dont want. I recently had an event here that began at 8. One couple showed up at 11 when we were ready to wrap up.

  3. Incidentally, “bad taste” doesnt begin to describe it. The worse is that those involved think it was all fine…


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