Third Time’s a Charm

Sweet Potato Apple Cotija Quesadilla

Maybe you’re tired of cotija cheese popping up around these parts. We’re sorry. We really are. But it’s just so good, we keep pairing it with everything. Maybe three times in just over a month is too much, but you can’t fault us for working with what the good Lord gave us. And He gave us cotija cheese.Β  That’s why we keep playing with other ingredients that really complement its flavor. A little knowledge for you: Did you know there are two types of cotija? The first is the grain cheese that crumbles upon cutting due to higher salt content and softer texture. The second is the tajo cheese that maintains its shape upon cutting due to lower salt content and higher fat content. Here in Southern California, Cacique seems to be the best brand of U.S. produced cotija cheese, so that’s what we’ve been using as of late. But enough of that, it’s quesadilla time!

These babies were actually inspired by the yam and cotija quesadillas from Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger–the ladies behind Border Grill and Ciudad. Adding sweet apple slices, swapping red onions and sprinkling spicy red pepper just clicked in our brains. It’s the last time (this month) that cotija cheese makes an appearance. We promise! Bear with us, will you? Just this last time…Here’s another one for Noble Pig’s Potato Ho Down!

Mashed Sweet Potato, Apple and Cotija Quesadillas – Serves 3
2 cups cooked sweet potatoes, mashed, warm
2 apples, cored, peeled and sliced*
1 red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
6 tortillas (corn or flour)
4 ounces Cotija cheese

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan and add onions and apples. Cook until they turn begin to brown, approximately 15-20 minutes.

2. As onions and apples cook, heat tortillas slightly in the oven (300 degrees for 10-15 minutes) or on the stove in a pan sprayed lightly with cooking spray. They should not get crispy, only warm.

3. In a small bowl, mash warm sweet potatoes, honey, 1 tablespoon butter, lime juice and zest, cumin, cilantro and red pepper flakes.

4. Spread a layer of sweet potatoes, onion-apple mixture and then crumble cheese on one half of the tortilla and fold over. (Resist the urge to overfill.) Using remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon oil, toast quesadillas on both sides until golden brown.

5. For a little added snazzle, whisk a bit of chili pepper, honey and lime juice together and drizzle on top.

*These are Fujis. A crisp, sweet apple works best.

Click HERE for the printable recipe.


51 thoughts on “Third Time’s a Charm

  1. I made tortilla soup last weekend and topped it with cortija cheese— so good! That was my first time and I’m resolved to use it now every time. Dee-lish!

  2. my nutritionist ask me if I change things up, I said well, you have not come by my blog yet have you, lol!

    there is a store near me that has every kind of spanish cheese you can imagine, i am going to have to pick this one up…I know, just was trying to watch the dairy in take lately…but some weight has fallen off in spite of the chocolate bomb I just made!

    This dish looks great…

  3. I love this recipe! What a great healthy idea for a quesadilla. I have not used grape-seed oil , but I have been experimenting with coconut oil and I am really impressed. Nice to find your blog.

  4. I haven’t heard of cotija cheese, either, but I’m sure going to keep my eyes open for it now that I’ve seen what you can do with it. That’s it, you’ve just derailed me from my recent Hawaiian food kick and set me off on something entirely new. Thank you!

  5. I’ve never even heard of cotija cheese! I’m thinking I need to get myself back to the States, and pronto. I’m cheese deprived over here in Japan! What a wonderful mix of ingredients – it all sounds so good together. You guys are so creative.

  6. I tuned into today to see what you had planned for “golden syrup”. But very much enjoyed the “sweet” combo here of apples a sweet taters! Yummy! GREG

  7. Oh dear, no, I didn’t know that! The cotija with lower salt content is probably my preference.
    Your Cotija Quesadillas sounds so good.

  8. I feel like I’m working my cooking skills up so that I can start making your amazing recipes. I had never even heard of cotija cheese (much less that there are two types!) but that quesadilla looks amazing!! I’ll keep working toward your level πŸ™‚

  9. Are you kidding me? Get tired of your stuff. Never happen here. Apples, honey, sweet potatoes, oh my lord, have ,ercy, sounds so damn good!

  10. I love the combo of sweet potatoes with apples. These look so delicious!! I’ve never had cotija cheese, but I always see Bobby Flay using it, I must try it.

  11. Apples and cheese are always a winning combo. And I bet the saltiness of the cotija really pairs well with the sweet-tart flavors of the apples. I actually made a duck pate quesadilla for lunch the other day. But that’s a whole ‘nother story! πŸ˜‰

  12. I think my heart starting beating faster as I was reading that post. Love at first sight, perhaps?

    Thank goodness for cheese and thank goodness for this fabulous recipe!

  13. You are keeping my busy this weekend with all these swet potato and cheese recipes although I must admit that I am not sure I have ever eaten cotija cheese.

  14. Hi!

    These quesadillas looks mouth-watering!! Nevertheless I haven’t cotija cheese in my country (at least with this name).
    Here have tons of cheeses but I should search for a cheese-substitute to try this delicacy πŸ˜‰

  15. You know, I’ve looked and haven’t been able to find cojita around here. It must not be widely available in the NE. Which sucks because I want to eat it! All the stuff you’ve been making looks so good.

  16. These look so good! Actually, I’ve never bought cotija before – a lot of Bobby Flay’s recipes call for it, but it’s expensive at my store and you have to buy a big block. Now if I buy some, I can try some of your recipes with it!

  17. I made your first sweet potato dish last weekend to great success-they’ve been requested again for this weekend. I added a couple tablespoons of habanero pepper jelly-this week I guess I’ll add some apple slices. So far I’ve only found the crumbly variety of cheese,I think I’ll venture into the bario this morning to see if one of the Mexican grocery stores there have the other variety.

  18. Who could be tired of Cotija cheese? One of the best cheeses Mexico has given the world! LOL Nice quesadillas πŸ™‚ oh, and btw that knife is a full tang. πŸ™‚

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