We are oh so grateful for all the comments we get on this blog. We absolutely love hearing from you so keep it up! We’re also going to start reaching out even more to our fellow food enthusiasts out there in the coming season, so definitely stay tuned. One fun way to start is by cooking each other’s recipes. We’ll continue to have our monthly Guest Test Kitchen and bring you fresh-out-the-oven recipes from the people closest to us–our friends and family. We thought it would be a neat idea to have a new feature where a guest writes about cooking one of our recipes. We love to share what we cook, but part of us hopes you try it out. If you do, we want to know what happened. And so it begins! We bring you Replicated Recipes. It’s an opportunity for you to tell us your thoughts about one of our dishes and also a specially designated forum for us to test the good ones we come across every day from your sites. Was the recipe easy to follow? How’d it look? Was it even good? Did everyone at the meal like it? For the most part, we’re looking forward to turning the tables and getting your dish on the Duo. A little nervewracking, but fun. We’re strong, so we can take it!
Our first Replicated Recipe feature is from our dear friend Brian. When he mentioned cooking one of our recipes at a grill-out back home, we thought, “Why not blog about it?” Not only did he make one of our recipes, he made three! He was so pleased with the outcome, he wanted to share the experience with us (and you guys!), along with an original recipe of his own—Crab and Spinach Quesadillas. Our mouths are watering too. Brian, tell us about it!
On each of my semi-annual trips to my parents’ home in suburban Chicago, my parents and their friends have come to expect me to cook a California-inspired feast for them. This time around, I brought home the Mexican flavors of mole, chile verde, carne asada, and crab meat quesadillas, as well as the Duo Dishes’ mango salsa, min-tea watermelon and cantaloupe salad, and sweet apple and bacon puffs with pomegranate glaze. By the second course, my parents’ friends had begun offering to fly me home to Chicago more frequently so I could cook for them on a regular basis.
By far, the favorite among the suburbanites was the mango salsa. I followed the Duo Dishes’ recipe faithfully, with the exception that I excluded the white tea. I prepared the fruits and vegetables of the salsa in advance the night before, and premixed the spices, oils, and juices, and combined the two mixtures just before serving. The salsa was gone before the serving dish even hit the table. Given the large number of dishes included in my Mexican BBQ, dessert proved a challenge. As I was planning the BBQ, I knew by the time dessert came around, I’d be too exhausted to cook more food, so I planned to prep the apple and bacon puffs in advance.
The night before the big day, I prepared the apple, bacon, and cheese portion of the dish. I cut the bacon strips in half like the recipe indicated, but I made the mistake of cooking the half strips of bacon before wrapping them around the apple pieces…oops! Thus, it was no surprsie when I went to wrap the bacon around the apple and cheese, it wouldn’t go all the way around. To solve this problem, I wrapped the bacon around a teaspoon or so of the gorgonzola and pinned it to the apple slices with a toothpick. When it was time to serve the desert, I simply baked the pastry, warmed the glaze from the night before, and grilled the puffs with their fruit/bacon/cheese toppings. Looking back, I definitely realized I didn’t follow the steps exactly the way the Duo originally prepared the dish. Despite that, however, and the filling meal that led up to desert, my parents and their guests easily found room for the puffs. Actually, those puffs may have bought me a few free plane tickets to Chicago.
I look forward to bringing more of the Duo Dishes’ recipes to Chicago on my next trip at Christmas. Oh, and in case you want it:
Crab and Spinach Quesadillas – Serves 6
12 flour tortillas, homemade style
8 ounces crab meat
3 ounces cotija cheese
6 ounces gorgonzola cheese
6 ounces goat cheese
6 ounces fresh spinach, sliced
Salt and pepper
Juice of 1 lime
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1. In a medium bowl, stir together crab meat, cheeses, salt and pepper, lime juice, and jalapeno pepper.
2. Evenly spread over 6 tortilla shells, and top with second shell to form quesadillas.
3. Cook on lightly-oiled hot surface until cheese is melted and both sides of quesadilla are lightly brown and crispy – about 4 minutes on each side.
Serve with your favorite salsa, guacamole, and/or sour cream.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.
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Manchego, Cotija and Chorizo Queso
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Za’atar Seasoned Saltine Crackers
An Eggscellent Way to Celebrate
Revisiting an Old Friend