Meet The Team / Nick Vagnoni
A freelance writer and food columnist, Nick Vagnoni began blogging about food over a year ago at I'm Cookin' Here. His interests include barbecue, taquerias and Slow Food. Born and raised in Key West, Fla., Nick currently lives in Sarasota, where he graduated from New College of Florida in 2004. A freelance writer and food columnist, Nick Vagnoni began blogging about food over a year ago at I'm Cookin' Here. His interests include barbecue, taquerias and Slow Food. Born and raised in Key West, Fla., Nick currently lives in Sarasota, where he graduated from New College of Florida in 2004.
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The quesadilla is perhaps the sturdiest of staples in my roster of go-to meals. Lately, my favorite combination is the one you see here: flour tortillas with Monterrey Jack cheese, spinach, black beans, chicken and sweet potatoes. Really, all you need for a satisfying quesadilla is tortillas and cheese, but taking the time to get a few quality components together yields something far more satisfying. As a bonus, the following recipes for black beans, sauteed spinach and mashed sweet potatoes are all great side dishes on their own. I usually wind up using leftover roasted chicken, but grilled or sauteed shrimp are also a great substitution. The assembly is pretty simple, regardless of the fillings you choose, but we'll get back to that later. The following proportions should be enough for two large quesadillas. All of the ingredients can easily be multiplied.
After watching an episode of Chef at Home, I've been experimenting with chef Michael Smith's recipe for salmon and potato cakes. The Food Network Canada website has his recipe here, but it looks like they've jumbled a few of the steps around or perhaps left a step out. Step two reads, "Meanwhile heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat and when it's hot, add oil." Step three: "Using a potato masher, mash them together." Obviously something is amiss. At any rate, if you have salmon leftovers (not to be confused with these guys), this is a good way to use them up. Let's assume we're starting from scratch, however. Smith suggests pan-frying a salmon fillet, which I did the first time I made this recipe. The second time, I broiled it, which I think is more convenient and I didn't notice too much of a difference in the taste of the final product. So, either pan-fry or broil a skinless 1 pound salmon fillet until it's just cooked through and flakes easily. When I broiled the salmon, this took between 15 and 20 minutes.
In the past, we've posted about several social bookmarking and networking sites that focus on food, such as FoodCandy and Cork'd. Today Slashfood received a heads up about thisjustbrewed.com, a Digg-like site that describes itself as "social news for social beverages." True to its description, thisjustbrewed is a place where users can submit and vote for various news stories or sites that pertain to social beverages like coffee, tea, wine or beer. Scanning the site this evening, recent posts included a story about a type of bio-diesel fuel derived from beer by-products, news of $11,000 coffee machines, and a link to Bottletalk, another site where users can trade their own wine reviews. Most of the posts on thisjustbrewed are only getting a few votes each and none look to be more than a month old, so perhaps the site is still a bit new. With any luck, it will take on more users (I just joined), and become another good source for beverage-related news on the web.