Depression and quesadillas.

I’ve been a bit, uhh, unreachable lately. I haven’t posted and—worse—haven’t been answering emails or commenting enough on your blogs. In truth, I haven’t been doing much of anything—well, I saw a wonderful play on Saturday which was followed by an even wonderfuller meal at Saul in Brooklyn, but after that things began to fall apart around here. Since then, the majority of my time is spent crying. I don’t even really feel like crying but I do it anyway. All the time. I’m on the verge of tears right now.

I’m depressed. It hit me like a brick after Saturday. See, I’ve been walking around since my car accident in January with pain in my hips and lower back. It feels like constant pressure, all-the-time, with breaks of intense, sharp, unbearable pain thrown in to spice things up. For a while I thought I was getting better, since the constantly intense, sharp, unbearable pain eased leaving me with the constant feeling that my hips are slowly compacting inside a vice grip—and I mean, who cares about a little pressure when compared to sharp pain? It’s, like, a cake walk. I was happy.

But then the pressure didn’t go away. It stuck. And it was painful enough that I wasn’t able to keep working out on the stationary bike (I had tried it for a few days). I wasn’t really able to do anything after work, save cook dinner—at least there was that. Slowly though, I was beginning to deteriorate into the teary, wet mess I am now. I started to limp at times. I can’t shake the image of the Tin-Man and his rusty limbs. And then over this past week, I stopped cooking.

After our meal at Saul, I came home inspired—there were so many new flavors, new dishes I wanted to play with! But over the next few days, I didn’t cook. I didn’t feel able to. I didn’t feel able to do anything. Everything started to really suck and even though I do believe my doctor will find out what’s wrong and that I’ll get better, I can’t quite seem to listen to myself. I’m depressed—a kind of unrelenting sadness that makes life with pain all that much more painful. More painful for me, and worse, more painful for those around me. Depression makes you feel like you are walking underwater—it takes so much effort to just continue that you don’t have the energy for anything else. I care for and love Jim but there are times recently when moving my eyes in the direction to meet his while he’s talking takes so much energy that I can’t seem to hear what he’s saying. And Jim, receiving this treatment, doesn’t deserve it. He’s been so great with my pain and had such a hard time himself. He knows how to make me forget about the physical pain. But this mental pain, it’s just a bit too much for everyone. I guess this is my way of an apology.

I don’t want everyone to feel sad for me, I know I’ll be okay. I couldn’t be writing about this now if I didn’t feel like maybe the worst is over. Today even, I can again appreciate a sunny day, a long holiday weekend, a smoked gouda quesadilla. I can certainly appreciate a quesadilla.

Smoked Gouda & Onion Quesadilla

serves 6 as appetizers or 2 as some serious comfort food

  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon molasses
  • ¼ teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups grated smoked Gouda cheese
  • 3 oz thin-sliced prosciutto (about 6-8 slices)
  • 4 10-inch-diameter flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy medium skillet or cast-iron pan. Add onion, molasses, and vinegar and saute over a low heat, stirring frequently, until caramelized, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and cool (you can leave them in the pan.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange onions over half of each tortilla. Sprinkle gouda over onions evenly. Heat the onion pan on medium-high heat and add prosciutto. Cook for a minute or so until they begin to crisp. Drape slices over gouda and onions. Fold other half of each tortilla over cheese mixture. Brush tortilla with some of melted butter. Brush the pan with some melted butter. Cook quesadillas in batches until they begin to get brown and crispy on each side. Transfer to a baking sheet.

Bake quesadillas in the oven until cheese is melted, about 5-10 minutes. Cut each of the quesadillas into four or six triangle and serve hot (but not too hot or you won’t taste all the flavors.)