Wednesday, December 22, 2010

When He Fends For Himself: A Quesadilla Every Man Should Know

The cookbook Recipes Every Man Should Know showed up in the mail a few days after the wife told me that she received an email from the publisher offering her a review copy.  I told her I would review one of its recipes for my next dinner. I knew the book was coming, so when it came I was surprised that the book was so small. My expectations on size and content probably lead to my initial impression that the book was unimpressive. I went through most of the recipes and thought that dishes like "Baked Potato" and "A Great Cup of Joe" did not warrant individual entries. These were not recipes every man should know, they were "recipes" any productive member of society would be embarrassed not to know (and that's saying something coming from me). I was thinking that the follow up to this could be "The Man's Guide to Doing Laundry -- How to survive when you move out of mom's basement"

It took a couple times going through the Table of Contents and seeing titles like "Baja-style Fish Tacos" and "Sexy Strawberry Zabaglione" before I warmed up to the rest of the list and settled on "Quick-and-Easy Quesadillas" as my dish. It also took a few looks at Table of Contents to decide on what to make because I was looking for a dinner meal, which removed more than half the book ("Hearty Breakfast Classics", "Beer, Bacon, and Bar Food", and "Chocolate, Cheesecake, & More") from consideration. I settled on quesadillas because they are a meal I like, I've never actually made them, and they looked pretty easy.

The following night I knew I was on my own for dinner because the wife had after work plans, so I stopped at the grocery store on the way home to pick up the  necessary ingredients. The cookbook said to have flour tortillas, 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, and "fillings of my choice". At the store I picked up the tortillas and cheese, as well as sour cream, salsa, red peppers, and grilled chicken from the store's salad bar. I knew I wanted the chicken but I didn't want to have to cook that as well. Finding the pre-cooked salad bar chicken, I thought, was a nice solution.

I arrived home and immediately jumped into action. I got the skillet out, added some olive oil to the pan and placed the tortilla in. After cutting up a red pepper, I placed it, the cheese, and the chicken on half of the tortilla and let it sit for about 2 minutes. I then folded the tortilla in half, flipped it, and cooked the other side for a remaining 3 minutes. When that was complete, I plated the quesadilla, cut it into quarters, and added salsa and sour cream on the side. The whole meal took about 10 minutes to prepare and was actually very easy. It tasted pretty good and I enjoyed my dinner that night and was pleased with the outcome. When I need to fend for myself again, I might even try to make them again.

As for the cookbook itself, I think my initial expectations blinded me from real purpose of the cookbook. That is, it's a list of dishes that can inspire a man to actually get to work in the kitchen. Everyone has to start somewhere and the basics introduced in this book can be a foundation for future cooking growth. However, it will not be a foundation for me. I know what I am, and more often than not my place is not in the kitchen (except for when the dirty dishes pile up). So please leave a comment. Tell me what you think of this post, my wife's blog, or what you think every man should know and enter to win this cookbook for yourself or your man! Submit your entries by Tuesday, December 28 at midnight. The winner will be selected using on Wednesday morning!

From the publisher: The book features over sixty recipes compiled by celebrated food blogger Susan Russo (, a regular contributor to Kitchen Window on NPR, and Brett Cohen, the author of Stuff Every Man Should Know.

Disclaimer: We were provided one copy of the book, free of charge, from the publisher. We were not obligated to review the product and we received no compensation. All opinions expressed in this post clearly belong to the hubby. He decided to give one lucky commenter this copy as a holiday treat (sorry about the few fingerprints on the cover!).


  1. I still don't believe that Josh cooks.

  2. I thought your post was very informative and quite entertaining. That is a good idea for a cookbook. I have two sons and I think that they should know how to fend for themselves!

  3. I think this post is positively deeeee-licious AND I think every man should have a repertoire of 5 great recipes he can make for his significant other:) I'm also having a giveaway (my first) for some fabulous Waterford Crystal wine glasses - please stop by if you are interested - looking forward to your next post - Cheers!

  4. Hahah, I am married to the poster child for that cookbook :) There are two recipes he can make, but he'll only make them for me-- otherwise if fending for himself he will make grilled cheese... or stop by the local sub shop and buy something :) I think it's great that you took matters into your own hands-- your wife is lucky! Of course, you are also lucky b/c she is a fabulous cook and blogger :)

  5. Sometimes a simple quesadilla is just so good.

  6. Aw, I love when the hubby cooks and guest blogs! Great work!

  7. I think what every man should know can be summed up in two words: "Yes, dear." One of the first things I taught my fiance. Now if I win this book, I can teach him something else ;)

  8. I'm making quesadillas tonight - of course I loved this post. As for this blog, it's one of my bookmarked favorites - Keep up the good work! :)

  9. I still don't believe that Josh cooks.


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