Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tools of the Trade Tuesday: Good knives make good quesadillas

I will cut you!

Not really though. It was a joke.

Not so long ago, I came home from work one day to discover a package on my doorstep. I didn't order anything. I had no idea what it was. It was from cooking.com. Ooooohhh....something my mom must have ordered for me. Yippee! I love presents, especially when they are unexpected and super especially if they are for my kitchen. I ripped open the box and low and behold, it was a new set of knives.

Was this a joke? Or a hint?

Back story...I used to live with someone who once forbid me to cut things. Not for some domineering "you can't cut things" reason, but for my own safety. I haven't always been so good with the knives. Its a process and I'm still learning. But at one point in my culinary adolescence I was really, really bad with knives.

Not so much anymore. I'm actually getting faster with my chopping and cutting, especially when I use my new super awesome knives my mom gave me. The set she sent was a trio of Rachael Ray Furi knives. I had always wanted some of these knives, but don't think I ever told mom that. And I don't think my mom actually knew how crappy my knives were. I think she just ran across the item and thought I could use them.

Oh, could I!

These are incredibly awesome knives. Seriously. Incredible! The shape of the handle, rubber grip, and blade all work so well together. In fact, they have increased my cutting ability by 40% probably! Okay, so I'm just making that up, but they really do help me cut, chop, slice and dice better. I can even manage onions with these knives since I am able to cut them faster than with an ordinary, dull blade!

Maybe that's saying something about my knife collection though. I think they all need to be sharpened, with the exception of my new Rachael Ray knives. I don't know how to do that though.

I never thought investing in high-end cutlery was a big deal until I actually owned a nice set of knives. But if you do a lot of cooking, like myself, having a good quality knife set is important.

These knives are great. I recommend them to you. That's why they are on my blog. I will also share a recipe that I made last night with the help of these great knives.

Shrimp Quesadillas

1 bell pepper, thinly sliced (with awesome Rachael Ray knives)
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1 cup (or so) of medium peeled shrimp (I buy frozen from the grocery. You just thaw and pull off the tails.)
1 tbsp butter or margarine
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. each of Ground cumin & Chili powder(Or fajita or taco seasoning)
shredded Monterey Jack
flour tortilla shells (burrito size)

Directions: Thinly slice the bell pepper and onion in strips. Add to skillet and heat on medium high with olive oil. Cook until tender (about 4-5 minutes). Add shrimp and butter to skillet. Season with desired amount of cumin and chili powder (or taco/fajita seasoning if that's what you have). Cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, but be careful to not overcook/burn the vegetables.

Lay tortilla on plate and cover with desired amount of cheese. (I use a lot!) Add shrimp and vegetable mixture on top. Fold tortilla in half, and return to skillet. Cook on medium high for about 3 minutes. Flip tortilla to other side and cook for an additional 3 minutes or so. (Just until the cheese is melted.)

Top with guacamole, sour cream, pica de gallo, salsa, etc. Serve with rice and beans or chips and salsa. Makes about 2 servings.

Thank you Rachael Ray, and whoever really designed those knives, for helping me be a better cook!

Happy cooking!

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