Today, I got off work early because my LT really didn’t have any tasks for me. Partially because I don’t have a CAC card (meaning my ID does not log me into their computer system), to which Senior Chief told me, “Good Job!” with a wink and a thumbs up. I actually spent the morning reading a book about investing and playing deal or no deal on my iphone after I made exactly 3 phone calls and had a short conversation with the Master Chief about the book I had just finished reading. It’s a tough life getting paid to hang out doing nothing all day :). I arrived home at lunch time and my mom bombarded me with lunch options since she was apparently starving. She seemed to favor the quesadilla option (since it would use up some fresh vegetables) so I offered to cook for her. We’ve had fresh thyme sitting the fridge from the Chicken Couscous recipe a few days ago so my mom suggested that I throw that in. My experience with quesadillas did not involve thyme but like I said before, they’re a great blank canvas for any flavor combination. On the tv show The Next Food Network Star, I have seen contestants bite into random ingredients that they’ve not cooked with before so they know what flavor they’re dealing with. That example led me to munch on some fresh thyme leaves, to my dismay… they tastes like leaves. Yup, I literally felt like I was just eating part of a bush from the backyard. Online research seemed like the next logical step, from which I discovered that thyme is often overlooked because it does not have a strong “centerstage” flavor profile. Thyme cannot compete with the distinctive smell/taste of tarragon, basil and sage, however it is the perfect herb to blend into recipes and enhance the other flavors. With this knowledge, I realized that I needed another flavor for the thyme to enhance. Rather than researching anymore, I went to the spice cabinet, read through the labels and essentially just picked one at random… cardamom. Sounds good, smells good, why not? Clearly I’m on the path to culinary genius. I sauteed Red onions and green peppers in a skillet with olive oil, salt, pepper, a dash of cardamom and a handful of fresh thyme leaves. Then I assembled my mom’s quesadilla with mexican blend cheese, chopped tomatoes, the herbed onion and green peppers and a slice of cheddar cheese (the extra cheese was her request). I wasn’t hungry enough for the tortilla so I served myself a plate of steaming hot vegetables topped with shredded cheese and a dab (yes that’s a legitimate measurement) of mango salsa. The food was really good, I don’t know if the flavors were the best compliments for each other but it definitely worked. If you’re feeling adventurous try it out and let me know what you think.
PS. When I remembered to take pictures my mom had almost completely polished off the quesadilla so you may see some teeth marks in there.