Local Twist

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I love to take a basic recipe and make it my own.   It's even better when you can add a "local twist"!

I originally got this recipe from a cooking course in Santa Barbara during the off season.  This quesadilla started very simply... a flour tortilla layered with pear, brie, red onion and jalapeño, fried, in butter.  Don't get me wrong.... the flavor combinations were great but I knew it could be better and plate much prettier.

So.... of course, I went to my very creative son, Andrew, the chef, to help me with the plating.  He came up with a garnish of arugula, red and green jalapeños, red onions and a balsamic reduction sauce drizzled on top.  Not only did the balsamic glaze look pretty, it really finished off the flavors.  Thought I had the recipe down until I came up with yet another "twist"... adding a locally grown BVI flavor!

One of the reasons I love cooking so much... the possibilities are endless!

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We were moored off Marina Cay a couple of days ago prepping for our charter guest pick-up the next day at Scrub Island.  Of course, scrambling as usual with all the last minute details.  I was arranging flowers for the outside table.... when...

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Aragorn came by with his local bounty in his dinghy.

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It's always so much fun to check out his little boat full of goodies!  He encouraged me to try this colorful "plum rose" fruit.  The minute I sampled this little beauty, I knew this was the answer to completing my quesadilla recipe.  Great to think this fruit was grown right here on the north side of Tortola.  It tastes in between an apple and pear but has the firmness of an apple.  Perfect ingredient for my appetizer!

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Depending on the season, he has a variety of vegetables, fruits and herbs.  Also, fresh breads, t-shirts and Caribbean artisan crafts.

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Very cool to think much of Aragorn's knowledge of organic farming came from the old country farmers of the BVI and the Kalinago-Caribs of Dominica.Aragorn.  He's a local, born and raised on Tortola and owns Good Moon Farm.

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Aragorn keeps it simple.  He makes his own compost and plants crops with the lunar calendar, the “good moon”, and doesn't spray insecticides on his soil.  Love it... especially here in the BVI where organic is not always that accessible.  Think I've been spoiled in Santa Barbara!

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Of course, you may not be able to find this BVI local "plum rose" fruit where you are, but a bosc or anjou pear is almost as good.

The "local twist" on this appetizer was a big hit with my guests!  

Hope you enjoy it too!!

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Plum Rose, Brie, Jalapeño Quesadillas

Recipe Type: Appetizer

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 5 mins

Total time: 20 mins

Serves: 5

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. French Brie, keep chilled
  • 4 or 5 (depending on size) Plum Rose fruit, thinly sliced around the pit in the middle OR
  • 1 ripe Bosc or Anjou Pear, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green Jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • 1 red Jalapeño, thinly sliced OR
  • 1 red Radish, thinly sliced
  • 5 medium sized Flour Tortillas
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 handfulls of Arugula or Micro Greens
  • Good quality Balsamic Reduction Glaze OR make your own (recipe below)

Instructions

  1. Chill Brie and slice into thin strips
  2. Divide the Brie, Pear slices, Jalapeño slices and Red Onion slices evenly between the Tortillas placing contents onto the bottom half of the Tortillas
  3. Save several Jalapeño and Red Onion Slices for garnish
  4. Fold over to create a half circle shape
  5. In a large preheated skillet add enough butter to coat the bottom of the skillet
  6. Cook Quesadillas on each side until golden brown and cheese is melted
  7. Add more butter as needed to cook remaining Quesadillas
  8. Cut Tortillas in thirds (triangles)
  9. Plate on a platter
  10. Garnish with Arugula or Micro Greens, Jalapeños and Onions
  11. Drizzle the top with Balsamic Reduction Sauce
  12. Serve hot

Balsamic Reduction Sauce

Recipe Type: Sauce

Prep time: 1 min

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 31 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 C Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan combine vinegar and sugar
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 - 30 minutes
  4. Remove from heat and let sauce thicken as it cools

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