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Chefs on the air

Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger

Border Grill - Mandalay Bay

Border Grill Quesadilla

Serves 6

1 1/2 cups grated manchego cheese
1 cup grated panela cheese
1/2 cup grated cotija cheese
6 Flour Tortillas, see recipe below, or high-quality, store-bought flour tortillas
1/3 cup Chipotle Salsa, see recipe below (optional)
4 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and julienned*
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

In a bowl, mix together cheeses.

Lay the tortillas on a counter. Divide the cheese mix into 6 equal portions and spread over half of each tortilla. If desired, sprinkle about a tablespoon of Chipotle Salsa over each. Arrange the chile strips evenly over the cheese. Fold the tortillas over to enclose the filling and brush the tops with butter.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Place a dry griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place the tortillas buttered side down in the pan. Cook until very light golden, about 1 minute. Then brush the uncoated sides with butter and flip over. When all the quesadillas are cooked, transfer to a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the cheese begins to ooze. Serve hot, whole or cut into wedges. Serve with chipotle salsa and guacamole.

* Fresh chiles and bell peppers can be roasted over a gas flame or on a tray under the broiler. Keep turning so the skin is evenly charred, without burning and drying out the flesh. Transfer charred peppers to a plastic bag, tie the top closed and let steam until cool to the touch, about 15 minutes. (If you are rushed, you can place the bag in a bowl of iced water to speed things up.) The best way to peel is just to pull off the charred skin by hand and then dip the peppers briefly in water to remove any blackened bits. Do not peel the peppers under running water since that will wash away flavorful juices. Once peeled, cut away stems, seeds and veins.

Flour Tortillas

Makes 8 large tortillas

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
scant 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (3 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water

Place the flour, shortening, and salt in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Beat with the paddle until crumbly, 3 to 5 minutes. With the mixer running, gradually add the warm water and continue mixing until the dough is smooth, about 3 minutes.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each into a ball and place on a baking tray or board. Cover with a towel and let rest at room temperature at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Cut out eight 12-inch squares of waxed or parchment paper for stacking the tortillas. On a lightly floured board, roll each ball into a 10-inch circle, and transfer to a paper square. Stack on a baking tray or platter and refrigerate until cooking time. Uncooked tortillas can be kept in the refrigerator, well wrapped with paper squares between the layers, up to 2 days.

To cook, heat a dry griddle or 12-inch skillet (Teflon is great) over medium heat. Carefully peel off the paper and cook the tortillas, one at a time, until puffy and slightly brown, 30 to 45 seconds per side. Set aside to cool slightly on a towel-lined platter. Bring to the table wrapped in a towel for warmth, or wrap well and refrigerate or freeze for quesadillas or other dishes.

Chipotle Salsa

Makes 6 cups

4 ounces (about 25 to 30) dried chipotle chiles or 3 cups canned chipotle chiles, stemmed
8 ripe Roma tomatoes, cored
12 garlic cloves, peeled
2 quarts of water
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, about 20 minutes. The liquid should be reduced by one third and the tomato skins should be falling off. Set aside to cool.

Pour the mixture into a blender or a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Puree until smooth and then pass through a strainer. Serve chilled. Chipotle salsa can be stored in the refrigerator up to 5 days or frozen.

Copyright © 2005, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger

For more great recipes from Mary Sue and Susan, go to http://www.marysueandsusan.com

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