Market Umbrella is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3), based in New Orleans, whose mission is to cultivate the power of farmers markets to drive economic and community health in the region. Market Umbrella has operated the Crescent City Farmers Markets (CCFM) since 1995.
Hibiscus Quesadillas (Quesadilla con Flor de Jamaica)
Dried hibiscus tea leaves are bright, beautiful, and available from Ms. Portia at NOLA Botanical Tea! The flower has lately been marketed as a health food and meat substitute. In this recipe from the New York Times, the hibiscus flowers are rehydrated and fragrantly sautéed with onion and jalapeños or cayenne. Pick your peppers from Poche Family Farms or Isabel’s Tamales and Produce. Substitute quesillo and Monterey cheeses with mozzarella or cheddar from T&R Dairy Farm. This quick, delicious meal uses up the entire hibiscus tea flower and is a great vegetarian alternative!
- 1 (packed) cup of dried hibiscus tea leaves
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeño or cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt and ground pepper
- ¼ pound of quesillo, torn into bite-size pieces, or 1 cup grated Monterey Jack
- 4 large flour tortillas
- 1 handful of cilantro leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
Rinse hibiscus tea leaves under running water to remove any grit. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add hibiscus, and simmer for 2 minutes. Strain, reserving liquid for another use. Rinse and chop the hibiscus.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over a medium flame. Add the onion and chiles, and sauté, stirring occasionally until the onion is just starting to lightly brown, about 6 minutes. Add the hibiscus, and sauté until the mixture is shiny and most of the water has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper, and set aside. Wipe out your skillet.
Divide the cheese evenly among the tortillas, sprinkling it to cover ½ of each. Scatter the hibiscus mixture on top of the cheese, followed by the cilantro. Fold the tortillas over the filling into half-moon shapes, pressing down firmly.
The Crescent City Farmers Market operates weekly year-round throughout New Orleans. The CCFM hosts 70+ local small farmers, fishers, and food producers, and more than 150,000 shoppers annually.