Too many cooks in the kitchen


Too much wine, limited ingredients, one dull knife and too many cooks in the kitchen.

A recipe for disaster?

Think again.  It was a riotous night that led to the best vegetarian quesadillas I’ve ever had.

Of course they were the only vegetarian quesadillas I’ve ever had, but they were darn good quesadillas at that!

It was a fairly innocent housewarming party for my vegetarian friends (we’ll call them C and N).  Awesome hosts.  Beer in the fridge, wine in transit, snacks on the table.  Good snacks too.  Bruschetta, veg and dip, cheese and crackers, artichoke and Asiago cheese dip, and baked brie.

When you have the reputation of being a bit of a foodie (I insist that I’m not) people ask you all kinds of questions.  Emergency in the kitchen.  Need your opinion.  Why did my Brie explode?

I suspect it was baked too long and at too high a temperature.  The added oil from the sun-dried tomatoes on top probably didn’t help either.

And then: Why do my crepes end up stodgy when I use egg substitutes? That’s a good one.  I suggest playing with the ratios of fake egg to milk and flour but don’t give the question a great deal of thought.  I’m a purist.  Real butter?  Hell yes.  Trim the fat?  God no!  Processed substitutes, texturized proteins, that’s crazy talk.

Questions answered (read: dodged) the party progresses, more drinks, boys talk gadgets (we all fondle C’s sweet new Macbook).  Then we break out the NES and play Tetris.  Yeah, that’s right…Tetris.  Old school.  More drinks, yadda yadda.  Roll on 1 a.m.

So one of us, we’ll call her L, gets hungry for quesadillas.  I love quesidillas.  Ever since I invented them (I took a few recipes and made it my own) and brought mad stacks of them for L’s birthday one time I’m asked to make them.  Truth is, L has taken my recipe and run with it.  Student surpasses teacher.  Well done, grasshopper.

So she drags me into the kitchen.  Reluctant at first we check the fridge.  Vegetarian fridge.  Holy cow!  Or lack thereof.  No dairy.  No meat.  Gone are my visions of succulent chicken, melty cheddar, and sour cream.  Not happening, I say to L. She persists.  C’mon it’ll be like Iron Chef.  Make do with what you have, she says.  Me an Iron Chef?  I’m down with that.

Before you know it we’re toasting canned corn in a fry pan, draining black beans.

I tear the fridge apart again and hey ho, what’s this.  Texturized soy protein veggie chicken strips.  Nice.  I’m game.  Grate a little firm soy cheese type thing, jalapeno flavoured.  Bonus.

So L and I chop some onion, tomato, and pepper.  But god, this knife is terrible.  Henkels, but one of those entry level Henkels.  No edge left on it.  It’s Antiques Roadshow dull.  In fact, it makes Antiques Roadshow look like an episode of 24 is how dull this knife is.

So L, frustrated says, C…man, this knife is a POS.  Can I chuck it? He nods.  So the back door’s open and whoosh, the knife’s gone.  OMG, L are you serious.  Did you really chuck that knife?

L just howls with laughter.  I look outside and there’s the knife, stuck stark straight in the deck.  I don’t think we’re being invited back. C just grins like a chesire cat…and sways.

So all the ingredients end up in the frying pan.  Not my usual style, but hey, you just go with it.

Now I’m gonna impress some people.  Grab the frying pan.  A quick flick of the wrist and I toss-flip the goods like the chefs do (except they don’t tend to carpet bomb the kitchen floor with toasted corn and black beans).

L and I drop the tortillas in another fry pan, load up on the mixins, drop another tortilla.  Ho hum…lah de dah, and over ya go.  The ol plate on the top manouvre.  Waiting, melting, crisping.  Yeah, they’re ready.

High walled pan…it aint coming out.  I slam dunk it on their hardwood chopping board.  Real thick one.  Nice hardware guys.

Hack em into wedges.  Repeat.  Fan them out on a platter, salsa in a bowl and hey presto.

I hit the fridge one more time.  No cilantro for garnish.  A last attempt to find sour cream.  Nope.  But what’s this?  Silken tofu…that’ll work.   L stops me just short of cracking the seal and dousing everything with banana flavoured dessert tofu.  Phew.  Thanks L.  Then again…naaah.

Dishes in the sink.  Platter’s on the table. Chow time.  2 a.m.

N raves about how good they are.  Wait till she sees the kitchen.

Thanks C & N…sorry bout the mess.  My place next time…bring your tofu!

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