On Friday, October 29, 2004, we were invited for lunch to the home of Carl and Karen Klutzke to sample the Pampered Chef recipe for Reuben Quesadillas (see recipe below).
Fred Autio, Brad Bruno, Carl Klutzke, Karen Klutzke, Chris Rowland, Brian Skiles, and Aimee Zahora were able to attend. Jim Kidd was unable to make it but did get carry-out service so that he could participate. The overall response to the recipe was positive, and the individual recipe reviews follow:
Carl Klutzke: This is one of my favorite places to eat, and the service was excellent as usual. The quesadillas were pretty tasty, but it's extremely difficult to compare them to a regular Reuben. The broccoli slaw added a nice texture that cole slaw couldn't have maintained under those cooking conditions. The double batch Karen made provided enough food for all of us: the two leftover quesadilla quarters remained only because everyone was already stuffed. Compared to a restaurant entree the price was excellent, but it wasn't exactly cheap for a home-cooked meal. I wasn't so enthralled that I'm likely to ask Karen to make them again, but it was a fun and interesting experiment. Thanks for coming, everyone!
Karen Klutzke: The corned beef and the Swiss cheese are by far the big-ticket items for this recipe, so I'd suggest waiting for a sale or finding a cheap place to buy said items. (That said, sometimes you get what you pay for quality-wise with meat.) I used the proportions in the recipe and ended up with extra corned beef and not quite enough broccoli slaw. I think in the case of the slaw, adding the dressing compacts it. The recipe called for a half cup of cheese per sandwich and that seemed like a lot to me. On the other hand, all that melted cheese helps hold it together. It's a rather messy sandwich, as you can see from the griddle image. I do not like Reubens, but I ate these quesadillas. They were okay, rating a five or six out of ten on my scale. Thanks, everyone, for coming! I enjoyed feeding you!
Chris Rowland: I found myself having a hard time not reaching for another of these Reuben Quesadillas. The substitution of broccoli slaw instead of the traditional sauerkraut was a stroke of genius. I'd never had broccoli slaw before, but it lent a nice texture to the recipe. The flour tortillas were, well, tortillas, but they held the ingredients together nicely. The sprinkled Swiss helped to bond the contents so that it wasn't too sloppy. From what Karen said, the ingredients were somewhat pricey, so I'm not sure whether we'll be making this at home sometime soon. I would think that one could probably substitute a cheaper grade of corned beef without a big effect. But I definitely thought that the outcome lived up to the "Reuben" moniker in its name and made a good diversion from a typical sandwich.
Brian Skiles: I will admit that I was quite skeptical of the fact that they contained broccoli slaw. I am not exactly a fan of broccoli. However, it turned out to be the perfect replacement for the sauerkraut in a grilled, flat bread type of creation. The ingredients went together very well and made for a very tasty quesadilla. I'd certainly eat another of these Reuben Quesadillas.
Aimee Zahora: The Reuben quesadillas at the Klutzkes' home were quite tasty. I'm a fan of both Reubens and quesadillas so this combo was right up my alley. I found the tortillas didn't suffer from the "soggy bread" syndrome that plagues so many Reubens, so this was an added bonus. Also, the broccoli slaw worked well... subtle, with just a little crunch. The environment for this Reuben outing was outstanding. The sunny, warm fall weather combined with the pleasant atmosphere around the dining room table made for a truly enjoyable and relaxing lunch. Thanks so much for hosting, Carl and Karen!