Photographing food gives one a new perspective on things. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure certainly applies when it comes to props and backgrounds. That tarnished spoon tucked away in the drawer, which would need a vigorous polish to be fit for the Thanksgiving table, finds its way into many photos. Its gray patina lends a rustic feel and the muted surface stops light from reflecting. Oh good – now I have an excuse not to polish my silver! (Hold on, I’m getting to the Caprese Quesadilla. Just humor me.)
A couple of months ago, my husband trundled into the backyard with an old wooden table hitched over his shoulder. He picked it up from a neighbor’s garbage pile, knowing that it would make an ideal background for photographing food. We started talking about how we should re-finish it, but the longer I looked at the little round table, with it’s worn wooden slats, I decided it should be left just as it was.
That table has been used in several posts, such as this one and this one. However, it has become something much more than a background. My husband and I work from home on most days, which gives us the luxury of eating lunch together. Since the table worked its splintery self into our backyard, we have taken to setting it under the large cottonwood tree in our backyard, which lets in flashes of sunlight through the leaves when the breeze is blowing. Faced towards the craggy and green Wasatch Mountains, and surrounded by blooming rose bushes and buzzing hummingbirds, we set out our lunch out on our little wooden table and take time to re-connect before heading back inside to work. Someone’s trash, our treasure.
Yesterday was such a day. It happened to be my husband’s birthday, but we followed our routine as if it were any other day. He made a wrap of leftover grilled molasses tri-tip, rice, red pepper and corn. I rummaged through our garden and picked a ripe tomato and several leaves of basil. The basil mayonnaise came together in a flash – slice basil, stir into mayo, done. The rest of the quesadilla didn’t take much more time. I spread the mayo on the tortillas, layered on tomato slices and strips of fresh mozzarella and cooked it in a hot skillet for a few minutes. It epitomizes the flavors of late summer and tastes even better when eaten outside…with a loved one…at a special little table.
For the mayonnaise, stir together mayonnaise and basil. Really, that’s it.
For the quesadillas, spread the basil mayonnaise on one side of each tortilla. Lay tomato slices and mozzarella strips on 4 of the tortillas. Cover with remaining tortillas.
Preheat skillet over medium-high heat (you can use 2 skillets to make this process faster). Place quesadillas, cooking one at a time, in skillet. Typically, I cook quesadillas over medium heat. For these ones, however, I want the tortillas to crisp quickly, before the tomatoes start to release moisture and make a big, soggy mess.
Cook until cheese is melted and tortillas are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and let rest for a couple of minutes. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges.
Caprese Quesadilla with Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Mayonnaise Recipe
- 6 tbsp mayonnaise (I used low-fat)
- 3 tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil
- 8 whole wheat tortillas
- 4 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 6 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into strips
- For the mayonnaise, stir together mayonnaise and basil. Set aside.
- For the quesadillas, spread the basil mayonnaise on one side of each tortilla.
- Lay tomato slices and mozzarella strips on 4 of the tortillas. Cover with remaining tortillas.
- Preheat skillet over medium-high heat (you can use 2 skillets to make this process faster). Place quesadillas, cooking one at a time, in skillet.
- Cook until cheese is melted and tortillas are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Remove from pan and let rest for a couple of minutes. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges.