This summer harvest cheddar quesadilla is filled with juicy ripe heirloom tomatoes, fresh corn, basil and melted sharp cheddar cheese. A delicious way to celebrate summer’s bounty.
Part of the reason I get so worked up about the “PSL-pushers” as I call them (basically anyone that tries to usher in fall with their premature pumpkin obsession) is because the exact time they start that nonsense is probably the most prolific time in New York when it comes to summer fruits and veggies.
Like, how, just how are you going to be all PUMPKIN!!! when the markets are literally bursting at the seams with ripe tomatoes, fresh corn, basil, eggplants, zucchini…?! Why would you push those things aside for a stupid mushy canned good you can get any time of year? But then again, those are probably the same people who buy tomatoes in January and complain they’re mealy or have no taste (please note my current eye roll as I type this).
There are plenty of pumpkin recipes on this site but August is a month for celebrating summer and that’s exactly what this summer harvest cheddar quesadilla is about.
One of my favorite parts of our trip to Woodstock, VT last month was our cheese-tasting happy hour with Cabot chef, Jimmy. I’ve worked with Cabot for a long time now (throw back to running the Beach to Beacon 10K with them in 2013 and this resulting apple cheddar crumble!) and been a consumer for even longer but never have I really sat down and tasted all the cheddars back to back like we did that day. I talked a little about how the Alpine cheddar from the Legacy Collection really took me by surprise with its taste. I almost always reach for the Farmhouse Reserve in that collection but our taste test might have turned me on to a new favorite. It’s most definitely still a cheddar but has these hints of Swiss and this great texture that make it really unique within the typical cheddar profile.
I’ve been using it in everything lately from sandwiches to salads to snacking as I make dinner but oddly, had yet to melt it before this recipe. It’s hard to say anything bad about any gooey, melted cheese + carb combination but this summer harvest quesadilla with the Alpine cheddar definitely did not disappoint.
Part of the reason I’m a loyal Cabot customer (besides the fact their cheese just tastes really good!) is because I just love what they’re about. They’re locally based (the approximately 1,000 farm families that make up the Co-operative are located throughout New York and New England) and as a Co-operative, they’re farmer owned. They’re a certified B Corporation and really value and prioritize community outreach (they literally have a Department of Gratitude as part of their org structure).
I’ve been on about 8-10 Cabot family farms over the past 5 years in different capacities, seen them all from the farm with 15-20 cows to the farm with hundreds, and while they’re all different in their own unique way, there’s definitely a commonality among them that if I had to describe in one word would be: pride.
Every single Cabot farmer I’ve met exudes pride. Pride in his/her farm, in the cows, in the systems they have in place to do their job and most importantly, in the quality of the product at the end of the day.
Our visit to the Richardson farm on this trip was no different. Amy and Scott beamed when talking about their 450+ acre rolling green Vermont farmland, their 50 Jersey milking cows, their family (farm dogs included!), their maple syrup business and the pretty cool solar panel electrical offset system they recently installed. In talking to them both at dinner and at their farm, I came away with the same two things I’ve come away with after talking to every Cabot farmer I’ve met:
1-farming is not a glamorous or easy life
2-they really, REALLY love what they do
My hope in sharing this summer harvest cheddar quesadilla, because let’s be honest, it’s no earth-shattering recipe idea, is that you embrace this commitment and passion to quality like Cabot farmers have and check out a local farmer’s market, go to a local farm even, or just find a store that sells local (heck, my Shoprite even has a whole “local” section in the produce department) – something that connects you to your area.
Enjoy the season and all it has to offer because its offerings are abundant right now. Buy whatever looks delicious to you, grab some quality cheddar (although I strongly recommend the delicious Cabot Alpine cheddar) and throw it in a quesadilla. It’s a simple meal but one where you can literally taste the quality of each and every ingredient. It’s the pure definition of quality > quantity and it’s the kind of meal I’ll choose every single time if given the choice.
…and maybe just leave the stupid canned pumpkin until at least October, ok?
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ear fresh corn, kernels sliced off
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 large flour tortillas
- 4 ounces grated Cabot Alpine cheddar cheese (or your favorite sharp cheddar)
- 3 medium ripe heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- handful fresh basil leaves
Place the olive oil in a large over medium heat. Once hot, add the corn and red onion and sauté for about 5 minutes until softened. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Place 1 tortilla in the skillet and cover with half the cheese.
Place half the sliced tomatoes on one side of the tortilla and half the corn/onion mixture on top of the tomatoes. Arrange half the basil leaves on top of the corn then cover the skillet with a lid for 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted.
Remove the lid. Using a spatula, flip the cheese only half of the tortilla over top of the half with the toppings. Press down gently on top. Let cook another minute then transfer to a plate and cut into wedges.
Repeat process with remaining tortilla and toppings for the second quesadilla.