Suzi's Blog

Garden Salad Tortilla from Alice Waters


The image is from a greens and herb vendor at the Kingston farmers market. Sometimes these guys can be lifesavers.

Suzen’s cooking school, Cooking by the Book, offers team building classes for corporations. Teams come here and socialize for a bit, then cook together in our very large kitchen, and naturally eat what they have just cooked. Enough people have passed through our kitchen to fill Giants Stadium. Twice.

So Suzen has seen everything. She tries to anticipate what is coming by planning and planning. Asking questions and asking again.

There are, despite all that, occasional surprises. She tries to anticipate food needs for those who come to cook and eat. Allergies, vegetarians, vegans — everyone is welcome and everyone can be prepared for.

Except, sometimes as we are plating the food they have prepared, Suzen will get a note from someone in the event saying, typically, “I’m actually vegan and I don’t want to make a fuss but while I just cooked that chicken, I can’t eat it.”

That’s why Suzie usually has on hand a stash of Portobello mushrooms, ready for a quick turn in the sauté pan. But what if the person, God bless them, is allergic to mushrooms, too?

Thank God for Alice Waters. In her new book The Art of Simple Food II you will find a lifesaving recipe, right there on page 40, second recipe in the lettuce chapter. The idea is refreshing, simple, and refreshing simple: combine greens, herbs, yogurt and some spices to create a lovely tortilla filling. Complement the fresh garden ingredients with the nutty warmth of a grilled tortilla, and you have a meal anyone, or any rabbit, can enjoy.

We do hope you’ll visit Cooking by the Book and enjoy an event with your team or your family. Don’t hesitate to mention any special food needs. We please any palette. It’s Suzie’s pleasure.

Garden Salad Tortilla 

Yield: 1 serving


  • 1 handful of salad greens
  • A few tender herb leaves
  • Spoonful of plain yogurt
  • Sprinkle of salt [exotic is grand]
  • Pinch of freshly ground spices [cumin, coriander, nigella, or fella]
  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • Drizzle of good olive oil


Gather, wash and dry well the greens and herbs.

In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, salt, and spices.

Over a gas burner or in a hot pan, grill/warm the tortilla. Place the warm tortilla on a plate, spoon the yogurt over half the tortilla, add the greens and finish with the olive oil.

Fold, bite, savor.

Consider Alice’s advice to be growing your own greens, no matter how small your living space.

Source: The Art of Simple Food II by Alice Waters

Photo Information [top picture]: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5.6 for 1/20th second at ISO-3200




Michele’s Favorite Tortilla Soup

My daughter-in-law Michele grew up in Kansas City. But she went to college and graduate school in Texas and now lives in Austin. She is very proud of this soup. And I will say rightfully so.

You remember how French Onion soup seems so satisfying. Well, this is a serious rival. The broth and chicken provide substance. That thick top with cheese, avocados and tortilla chips is a delight itself. The combination of that rich top and the deeply flavored broth lets you relax and enjoy each spoonful.

I’ve had this dish for lunch and for the main meal. It’s a delight either way. I do suspect that Michele may sometimes try it for breakfast.


Michele’s Favorite Tortilla Soup

Yield: Serves 4-6


  • 3 chicken breasts, poached
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 1 8-ounce can green chiles, diced
  • 2 8-ounc e cans stewed tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups beef bouillon
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 avocados, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup of broken tortilla chips
  • 1 cup Mexican mix shredded cheese or Monterrey Jack chees



Poach the chicken breasts, cool, and shred. Set aside.

Sauté the onion, garlic and green chilies in oil until soft. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, and beef bouillon and shredded chicken. Mix in spices and simmer for 1 hour.

Place in bowls and cover with avocados, tortilla chips and cheese.

Place under broiler or microwave to melt the cheese if desired.

Source: Michele Barr O’Rourke