Monday, March 1, 2010

Tummy Ache

Ugh. I woke up sick to my stomach this morning. And... I loathe the term ‘tummy ache’ when used by anyone over the age of five. It gives me said ache. When I was 17, too cool for school, and on a flight to Arizona with Mel and Amanda, I was terribly nauseated. Mel, loving mother that she is, asked the 20-something male flight attendant for extra crackers, because I had a ‘tummy ache.’ I. was. mortified. I’ve spent my teenage and adult life trying to convince people that I am, in fact, over the age of 12… a ‘tummy’ reference from my ‘mommy’ when I was a teenager totally derailed the train. Ever since then I cringe when I hear ‘tummy ache’. (Sorry Mel).

Which is too bad, because I have them regularly, and ‘tummy ache’ sounds way cuter and more charming and appropriate than ‘morning sickness.’ I’ve always been prone to morning sickness, long before that kind of morning sickness was even an option. Waking up nauseous has always been a standard occurrence in my world, often times for no particular reason at all. You probably wouldn’t peg a food lover such as myself for someone with a weak stomach, but I was always the kid that threw up at birthday parties from too much cake and sugar. My stomach is a wreck on vacations, I get nauseous and faint if I don’t eat regular meals, and sometimes I just get stomach aches from the silliest things, like taking vitamins.

This morning was one of those mornings. I was planning on telling you all about the delicious mussels and chicken sausage in tomato, basil, and garlic broth that I made for dinner last night, but after this morning, I don’t really want to think about shellfish for awhile. And don’t worry, it was by no means the seafood that made me sick… I can tell when it’s ‘just one of those mornings.’ Needless to say, I ended up working from home today, which gave me an opportunity to make one of my all-time favorite comforting childhood lunches. Ham and cheese quesadillas—easy on the stomach, quick, and delicious.

Quesadillas, whether simple or complex, are one of my favorite things ever. In college, I lived off of quesadillas—either with bbq sauce and black bean salsa or with a bowl of chili and sour cream. In high school, Amanda and I microwaved tortillas and American cheese for afterschool snacks. In elementary school on snow days, sick days, no-school days, and weekend days, Mel would pull out a cast iron skillet and make quesadillas on the stove top. We always got excited for the blackened charred bubbles on the tortillas, and the crispy edges where the cheese sizzled when it met the hot skillet…these were the ones that only Mel could make. And, when we were really good, we would get the special treat of ham and cheese ‘dillas.

And even now, there’s really nothing better than crisp but chewy tortillas, melted gooey cheddar cheese, and sweet, salty thin sliced deli ham… a sure fire cure for whatever ails ya… even tummy aches.

Ham and Cheese ‘Dillas
I don't think these 'dillas really require a recipe, but just in case...

2 flour tortillas (if you don’t have homemade, I like Guerrero brand)
5-6 slices cheddar cheese (maybe more, depending)
2 thin slices deli ham
Oil or cooking spray

Heat skillet to medium, and lightly coat with oil or spray. Lay one tortilla in skillet, and cover with a single layer of cheddar cheese and both slices of ham. Take remaining one or two slices of cheese, and break into small pieces and layer on top of ham—I don’t like it too cheesy, so this is essentially the glue that holds the ham to the second tortilla. Cook for a few minutes on each side (I like to brush the top half with oil or spray before flipping) until cheese is melted and tortilla is charred and bubbly, but not burnt.
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