Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Stacked quesadillas and orange and poppyseed cupcakes

So far this year, we have had my Mum's, brother's, and Dad's birthdays. Now it's time for Mr Bite's family to step in, with his Mum and sister celebrating their birthdays this month. (And then it is his birthday in April!) We went to a Thai restaurant for the main family celebration for Mr Bite's mother, but also had her to our place for dinner last week.

When considering what to make, I was inspired by the memory of a stacked vegetarian quesadilla dish that I made for the first time last year. Mr Bite greatly enjoyed it, but sadly for him he rarely has it - it is difficult to make the dish for only one, and I don't like the cheese or avocado components (my avocado tastes are still limited to dessert form...). We need to have at least one dinner guest to make the dish worthwhile, and last week seemed a good opportunity.

Quesadillas are usually made as two tortillas sandwiched together, grilled or fried to make something that is almost akin to a toasted sandwich. This version has several layers and I heat it in the oven after compiling it, which makes things slightly easier if other dishes are being prepared and you want to put it aside and forget about it (the photos posted here are from before it went in the oven, which is why the cheese isn't melted).

One of the things I like about this dish is that some of the vegetable and bean filling can be kept aside and served separately, to suit people like me who enjoy the bean component but not the avocado or cheese.

We had this with extra burrito bread, salad, extra tomato salsa and avocado, and the tofu in barbecue sauce that I have posted about previously.

I still love that tofu.

The barbecue flavouring also fit in well with the more traditional Mexican dishes. All in all, the meal seemed to satisfy everyone and there were some helpful leftovers to see me through lunches over the subsequent few days.

Stacked quesadillas with extra Mexibean filling
Makes ~4 serves of quesadillas and ~4 side dish serves of Mexibean filling
Adapted from a Women's Weekly recipe for vegetarian quesadillas

Print recipe

6 small tortillas, fajitas or burritos
1 can Mexibeans (regular kidney beans or beans of choice would work fine too)
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
125g tinned corn (or fresh corn kernals)
1 zucchini, chopped
Few tbsp tomato salsa, mild or spicy to taste
1 avocado, chopped
Cheese, grated, enough for 5 layers and the topping

Preheat the oven to 180'C.

In a non-stick pan, heat the oil and saute the onion until golden. Add the diced tomato, corn, chopped zucchini, Mexibeans, and ~2 tbsp of the salsa. Mix through and leave over low heat for 5 - 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the Mexibean mixture has warmed through, make your tortilla stack in a square or rectangular baking dish (or other oven-proof container).

Lay the first tortilla, spoon over a few heaped dessertspoons of Mexibean filling (enough to cover the tortilla evenly), add some chopped avocado and grated cheese, and then lay the next tortilla and repeat. You will probably use about half of the Mexibean filling.

After placing the top, sixth tortilla, spoon an additional ~1tbsp of salsa over the top and sprinkle with extra grated cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes, then cover with alfoil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. 

(If your partner goes to pick up his mother and unexpectedly decides to walk her dog as part of the trip, this will survive an extra 20 minutes or so in a low oven.)

Serve with the other half of the Mexibean filling (reheated just before serving), salad, spare salsa and/or avocado, and optional extra bread.

I didn't carry the Mexican theme through to dessert, and was instead inspired by the cake that my Mum made for my Dad for his birthday.

I didn't post about it at the time - mostly because I published the post in question before I had seen the cake! - but it was highly enjoyable.

His cake? A Ukranian poppy seed cake, with orange slices and chocolate orange medallions atop.

My version? Orange and poppy seed cupcakes with yoghurt 'cream cheese' icing and Lindt Excellence dark chocolate with orange.

My Mum had given me her cake recipe and I started off trying to adapt that by integrating it with cupcake versions of the orange and poppy seed theme. In the end, though, I just took the cupcake recipe I have used so many times before - the vanilla cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World - and adapted things from there.

There were quite a few adaptations, as a pantry weavil discovery (very traumatic!) meant I had to abandon my flour and make an impromptu supermarket trip to buy more. On returning, I discovered the weavils had also made friends with my cornstarch, so I omitted that (included in the original recipe above) and added commercial egg replacer instead, to ensure things held together.

These are clearly resilient cupcakes, because they survived the impromptu changes and kitchen challenges surprisingly well...

Orange and poppyseed cupcakes,
with yoghurt 'cream cheese' icing
Makes 12
The cupcakes are vegan; the icing could be veganised

For the cupcakes
1 tbsp poppy seeds, soaked in 1 tbsp non-dairy milk for 15 minutes
1/2 cup dairy-free spread (I used Nuttelex)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Egg replacer to the equivalent of 2 eggs (I used commercial egg replacer but chia seeds would be an alternative)
Juice from 1 orange (about 1/2 cup)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch salt

For the icing
3 tbsp non-dairy margarine
~3 tbsp plain natural yoghurt
2 1/1 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla

For the cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 180'C and line a 12-pan muffin tray with cupcake liners

Beat the non-dairy spread, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt). In a small bowl, prepare the egg replacer.

Add the egg replacer, orange juice, and apple cider vinegar to the sugar mixture and beat to just combine. Add the dry ingredients and stir through. Add the poppy seeds soaked in milk and stir through.

Divide between the 12 cupcake liners. Bake for 20 minutes or until just brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

For the icing
Combine the non-dairy spread and icing sugar and beat until starting to cream. Add the yoghurt and continue beating until light and fluffy.

Top with optional orange chocolate, or decorations of choice.

I had grave fears for these, given the interupted baking process, so it was with some relief that they came out of the oven looking normal - and even more relief that they ended up tasting rather nice. Light and slightly tangy, with an enjoyable contrast between the cupcake base and the icing.

The evening was a fun one and I think (hope) that Mr Bite's mother enjoyed the food. Mr Bite was very happy with the quesadillas and I was very happy with the cupcakes, so we were satisfied even if she was not!

Have you had any kitchen 'challenges' recently?
Or any meals you enjoy but which don't work for your usual house inhabitants?


  1. There is nothing worse than a weevil invasion! I went through that a few years ago and it took forever to get rid of them all. Apparently they are repelled by bay leaves so if you stick a few leaves inside your pantry door, it should stop them from returning.

    Your food all looks fantastic! I haven't tried baking quesadillas before but it seems like a good idea as they can tricky to cook and flip in the pan.

    1. Oh no! I was hoping they might just go quietly :p Thank you for the bay leaves suggestion though, I will definitely try that.

      I've never tried pan-cooked quesadillas but I am pretty sure these would be easier. I'm pretty terrible at flipping anything in a pan though, so it may just be me ;)

  2. We have had weevils bothering us lately - as well as bay leaves, putting food in the fridge or freezer seems to help - I have quite a lot of my gf flours in the fridge partly because of weevils and partly to keep them longer because I don't use them much. No wonder my fridge is so full. I cleaned out my pantry to get rid of weevils recently and just this week had them takeover some breadcrumbs - so I feel your pain.

    I do a similar dish that I call tortilla stack - I think I have posted about it but can't be sure. Though this has morphed into a mexican style lasagna more recently but it lacke the crispy edges. My family often does tex mex because it can cater to so many diets - esp tacos if you let everyone serve themselves. The cake sounds great and I love how you have a basic recipe that can adapted to what you want to do.

    1. I am seeing a full pantry clear out in my future :/ Ick. I have heard some people keep their cereals in the fridge for the same reason, but fear I'll never fit my flour in ours. It's a single door one with the freezer above, so it's often at capacity without floor included! Good to keep in mind if I get desperate though.

      I just searched for your tortilla stack and found it in a 2009 post where it was lasagna like, and looked great. I am learning that most vegetarian recipes are on your blog in some form or another :) I do love how mexican can be easily adapted...ditto my cupcake recipe for that matter!

  3. I did quesadillas as my Tuesday Night Vego recipe last week, made from my home grown brown seeded snake beans. They were a really good fast, healthy, vegetarian mid-week dinner. Made in under half an hour from scratch, including making the tortillas and cooking the beans.

    1. I remember admiring them at the time :) Yours were the two-layer crispy ones I have never perfected! The short preparation time is a bonus however you make them though.

  4. oh my gosh, those cupcakes are too cute!

  5. that bbq tofu sounds amazing. i absolutely love bbq sauce and tofu, i just never thought of putting the two together! also, your cupcakes are beautiful :)

    1. Thank you! It was the first time I'd combined barbecue sauce and tofu too but I am completely sold on it now!



    Also crying because you've reminded me that, last year, I had to throw out 900g of chocolate because of fricking weevils. (Yes, I started weighing it when I realised how much I was losing :P )

    1. 900g?! Oh that is sad! I'm grateful they at least didn't get to my chocolate containing pantry shelf. Although having just cleaned out the pantry properly (the comments above made me realise I probably hadn't done enough by just replacing the flour :p) I'm not offering a whole heap of gratitude to the weevil world. Horrid, horrid creatures!

  7. I've been loving mexican lately and these look fantastic! If I could eat guac all day I would lol.

    I also really enjoy poppyseed muffins, so I bet these cupcakes are dynamite! Kudos!

    1. Thank you :) The cupcakes did make me quite happy - like poppyseed muffins but fluffier!

  8. The icing recipe looks interesting.. I haven't found the perfect one yet that I can use on a whim. Not having a good frosting prevents me from making cakes most of the time.. I usually make something else. I'll store this one away for next time I am in need!

    I also have a big jar of poppyseeds.. I bought in bulk to make muffins and now I know I will have them forever.

    1. Bahaha...yes, my poppyseeds may be around forever too now :p They come in such big containers and you only need a tiny amount!

      I am really taken with adding yoghurt to icing, it makes it cream cheese-y without needing cream cheese! And it does reduce the butter requirements somewhat, so it's a bit less dense (and thus you can eat more ;) ).

  9. Oh mannn everything looks delish Kari! wowww ukranian poppy seed cake?!! I am soo curious and would love to try. Anything foreign is exhilarating to me, lol. Ohh and that tofu sounds scrumptious--Caitlin from Healthy Tipping point (dot) com has some great tofu recipes too, and one of them is similar to yours. :) Have a lovely day sweet girl!~

    1. Thank you Ellie :) I'll have to check out Caitlin's recipes, I have heard of her blog but not really checked it out! And I may post the proper Ukranian poppy seed cake one day, it is worthy of a post of its own!

  10. Quesadillas are such fun to make. Mexican food can be so tasty and fresh and fabulous. Love the look of the cakes! Would love to see the Ukranian poppy seed cake recipe too!
    Heidi xo

    1. Thanks Heidi - I am thinking that the Ukranian cake may indeed need to appear in its own right :)

  11. Weevils! We had an infestation a few years ago, when I was home alone. It culminated in me crying as I sat on the kitchen floor. Not my proudest moment. But it looks like you not only coped, but excelled with those cupcakes!

    1. Well, the weevils I discovered when making the cupcakes were only the tip of the weevil iceburg :( I realised I better do a comprehensive pantry overhaul and found many, many more. There weren't quite tears but I was close! I hope to goodness they are gone, it was a horrible experience!


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