Saturday, September 29, 2012

Black Bean Quesadillas (Page 299)

  • Date: Monday, June 25, 2012 -- 7pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our House
  • Dining Companions: Matty and Adam
  • Recipe Rating: A-

My special gentleman's collaborator and friend Adam stayed with us for a week in June so that he and my special gentleman could get some work done together. My mother-in-law had recommended this recipe from The Book, so it seemed like a good opportunity to try it out! I started by stirring together grated pepper jack cheese, rinsed canned black beans, chopped cilantro, and cumin. I heated some veggie oil in a skillet then put a tortilla in the skillet. I spread the filling on half of the tortilla and topped with a bit of salsa. I folded the tortilla over and cooked the quesadilla, flipping once. This recipe was super simple and very tasty. The quesadillas were flavorful and hearty, with just the right amount of cheese, and a nice crispness on the exterior. I will definitely return to this recipe again for quick vegetarian quesadillas.

The recipe is here.

27 down, 1079 to go!

I keep things. It's just the way that I am. If you asked me to locate a ticket stub from the first date I went on with a high school boyfriend 15 years ago, I could probably do it. There's a box upstairs where I keep those things. There is a sweater in my closet with multiple holes in it that I can't get rid of because I wore it the day I defended my PhD thesis. I still have my bridesmaid's dress from my best friend's wedding 10 years ago even though it got damaged in an apartment flood in 2005. I keep things. I always have.

One type of thing that I have kept all these years is every piece of course material from every course that I took in college that I judged to be important. It's pretty clear where my priorities lied. I have every single page of lecture notes, homework sets I did, exams, etc for every math class and every computer science class I took as an undergraduate (and as a graduate student of course). On the other hand, the materials are long gone from all of my courses in other subjects. I still have my Chemistry textbook, for instance, but my organic chemistry notes and homework assignments got disposed of many moves ago. I don't keep everything :)

I'm not sure exactly what my logic was at the time for keeping every single piece of paper from every math class I ever took as an undergraduate. I have moved 8 times since then, and every time I packed up one apartment to move to another, those binders always made the cut. In each of those moves I recall cursing my tendency to keep everything. But in the case of old course notes, I am so glad that I did!

This semester I am teaching an honors undergraduate course in Real Analysis. It's a fun group of students -- they are smart and motivated, and enjoyable to work with. This is their first analysis course, so everything is new to them. It's a good class. I took the analogous class at Stanford something like 12 years ago and I loved it. And fortunately for me, I kept everything. Now that I am 5 weeks into the semester it's fun to flip through my old course notes and see the similarities and diferences between the lectures I wrote versus the ones I listened to as a student. We are using a textbook which is laid out differently from the one I used an undergraduate, so the lectures aren't completely analogous. But they provide great inspiration for exam problems, for instance. And as I read through them I sometimes think, "Oh that's a great example. I should use that in class!" When I took this course I had a professor who was fantastic. It's a privilege to continue to learn from his example via the materials I saved all these years.

I think I will continue to keep things. Old ticket stubs, torn sweaters, and damaged bridesmaid dresses will likely never prove to be useful in the same way as old course notes, but they are lovely reminders of good times and good friends. That's important too.

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