If it's a steam iron, empty out the water and turn off the steam option. Set the iron to a high setting — cotton or linen — and iron just like you'd iron a shirt. Don't just set the iron down on the foil — not only is that stupidly unsafe, it will probably shut itself off. Keep it moving for about two minutes, then unfold the edges and check to see how melted the cheese is (this is why you folded the foil neatly), fold it back up, and turn it over to iron the other side for another minute or two.

Unwrap carefully, cut into two or four pieces, and chow down.

Quesadilla filling ideas:

Sharp cheddar, refried black beans, black olives, cilantro, cumin-lime sour cream
Pesto, cannellini beans, feta, mozzarella, kalamata olives
Swiss cheese, thin-sliced apple, chopped red onion, dijon sour cream
Monterey jack, sweet potato (bake in the microwave, then scoop out and mash), green onions, crumbled bacon
Cheddar-jack, cotija, cilantro, sprinkle of dried red chili
Nutella, sliced strawberries, sprinkle of powdered sugar

Grilled cheese filling ideas:

Brie and redcurrant jelly on sourdough
Sharp cheddar, bacon and tomato on whole wheat
Peanut butter, sliced banana and powdered sugar in a pita
Mozzarella, basil leaves, sun-dried tomato, drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Roast beef, Monterey jack, blue cheese crumbles and spinach on ciabatta
Swiss, red onion and Dijon mustard on rye

A version of this piece first appeared in Orlando Weekly.


Pro tools:Basic equipment for the dorm gourmet

two sets of measuring spoons
glass measuring cups with pouring spouts: one 2-cup, one 4-cup
9-inch glass dish (square or round)
set of glass custard cups or ceramic ramekins
two mixing bowls
mesh strainer
whisk
silicone "spoonula" (spoon/spatula hybrid, can be used for mixing or scraping bowls)
chef's knife
cutting board
oven mitts and hot pads


Safety tips: Not burning down the house

Look, you shouldn't be cooking if you can't follow directions. (You probably also shouldn't be in college, or living on your own.) So don't take raw meat, eggs, or dairy out of the fridge until you're ready to cook; don't eat food with expired use-by dates; be extremely careful with sharp knives; and use an oven mitt, hotshot. When you drop that hot bowl of soup, who do you think will have to clean it up off the floor? Also:

• Stinky things will make your floormates hate you — so take it easy on the curry, kimchi, and fish.

• Wash your hands. A lot. If you're using hand sanitizer instead, make sure it's not scented or your food will taste like perfume.

• If you don't know how to chop an onion, look it up. There are roughly a million YouTube tutorials.

• Unless you poison them, only jerks don't compliment food you cook for them.


Check yourself:More about microwaves

These recipes were tested in a 950-watt oven. To find out what wattage your oven is, check the label inside. (It may be in kilowatts — mine says "0.95 KW.") Lower wattage means lower power and requires a longer cooking time; higher power means less time in the oven. Experiment in 30-second intervals until you figure out what works. And remember: Things keep cooking after they come out of the oven, so err on the side of slightly underdone.

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