Archives for January 2012

Elastic breakfast quesadillas

Do you remember the first cooking show you ever watched on TV? I’ve got a hazy memory as a young boy first watching The Frugal Gourmet with my dad. I tracked cartoons like a heat-seeking missile back then so I barely paid attention to the show, but my dad eagerly watched as Jeff Smith used fun ways to cook with eggs in his studio kitchen. The Food Network didn’t exist back then, so PBS was the source for a nation of foodies in the ’80s. They had (and still have) plenty of shows with a diverse collection of cuisines and hosts. Back then you could watch Martin Yan demonstrating expert level cleaver skills on Yan Can Cook at four-thirty, then see Julia Child cook whole chickens using a French method at five.

Now we’ve got a whole cable network dedicated to food with bona-fide celebrity hosts, as well as a rapidly growing list of youtube shows with hosts who run the gamut from hilarious and amateur to serious and professional. They keep popping up to entertain, teach, and inspire. There are even cookware manufacturers who team up with cooking celebrities to produce little recipe clips that make use of their products. To be honest, these type of channels barely show up as a blip on my radar considering the sheer volume of neat cooking things I eagerly consume on the internet.

Yet, the inspiration for my crispy egg-filled quesadillas you see above came to me after watching this Youtube video where George Duran cooks up a cool version of huevos rancheros using a non-stick pan by Umusa. Thanks George! I copy parts of his method in my elastic recipe so the eggs cook through in the same way. The additional convection heat from using a lid is the key. This recipe should produce a crisp tortilla surrounding two eggs, gooey melted cheese and a mix of your favorite chosen ingredients. It’s delicious, easy to make, costs as little or as much as you want, and requires only a small degree of technique before you get to eat quesadillas for breakfast.

If he were still around I think Jeff Smith of The Frugal Gourmet would dig it.

(note: Try to use tortillas that are roughly the same size as the pan you’ll be using. The recipe should work fine as long as there is less than an inch or two difference between tortilla size and pan size. My 11″ pan worked perfectly with some standard 9″ whole wheat tortillas.)

Elastic Breakfast Quesadillas

  • 1/2 Tbs salted butter
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tortilla (flour, corn, or whole wheat)
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese (monterey jack, cheddar, swiss, parmesan)
  • optional: 1-2 Tbs cooked breakfast meats (bacon, sausage crumbles, ham)
  • optional: 1-2 Tbs sauteed or fresh vegetables (onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, green onions, mushrooms)
  • optional: 1 tsp fresh or dried herbs (dill, basil, oregano, parsley, chives)
  • salt and pepper to taste


In this version I decided to include some leftover poached salmon, Monterey jack cheese, dried dill, and Old Bay for seasoning. Use whatever you’ve got on hand. It’s a great way to use up leftovers.


Add the herbs and seasonings to your eggs then beat to combine.


On medium heat, swirl the butter around your pan as it melts to completely cover the surface. Add the tortilla to the pan, then swirl it around so the underside evenly coats with the melted butter. Cook for one minute. Pour the egg mixture over the tortilla while shaking the pan so it evenly distributes to all the edges.


Cover and cook for another minute, then add your fillings in an even layer. Cover again, and cook until the eggs have visibly firmed up and the cheese has melted (two to three minutes).


Turn off the heat and use a spatula to fold the quesadilla in half, pressing down to flatten. Some of the cheese may squeeze out. Some of it may hit the pan, sizzle, then crisp up into golden edges of joy. You will thank me for those edges. Let this finish cooking for another two minutes.

Slice into wedges or just wrap the whole thing in a paper towel and you’ve got a delicious mobile breakfast.

Here are some more excellent filling combinations you might want to try:

  • sauteed onions, bacon, green onions and Monterey jack
  • diced ham and green peppers with American cheese
  • mushrooms sauteed in butter and a splash of brandy with Swiss cheese
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