By the Cooking Ladies

ontrary to popular belief, ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand. You can see their behaviour for yourself at Ostrichland USA, in Buellton, California.

These flightless, long-legged, two-toed birds are the largest and fastest birds in the world, they can run at speeds of 56 kph with the potential of 72 kph bursts. Every month they grow a foot in height until they reach 8 or 9 feet and they can weigh up to 350 pounds. We were told that male ostriches can kill with one kick; that a smart lion will not prey on a healthy, mature ostrich. As you might imagine, we felt we were taking our lives in our hands by feeding them.

With their acute eyesight and hearing, it didn’t take more than a second for several ostriches to approach as we cautiously lifted dust pans containing bowls of their food. Our instructions were to hold the handle of the dust pan tightly so that a bird couldn’t take it from us. We were warned not to touch the birds and not to stand too near the railing. We appreciated the railing between us. With ostriches up this close and personal, we were happy to hear they do not have teeth.

An ostrich chick at four days old is the size of a small chicken, which makes sense, because ostrich eggs weigh 3 to 5 pounds, equivalent to 18 to 24 chicken eggs.

The warm, dry climate of southern California almost matches the semi-arid African habitat of the ostrich. It also provides good growing conditions for mangoes and olives, the key ingredients in our recipe.

Mango Olive Quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (180 mL) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup (180 mL) finely diced mango
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) sliced green olives
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large flour tortillas
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) butter
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) salsa
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) sour cream

Instructions

  1. Place the cheese, mango, black olives, green olives, and onions in separate dishes.
  2. Preheat quesadilla maker or large frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Lay one tortilla flat on the counter. Cover the surface of the tortilla with cheese to within 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) of the edge.
  4. Spread the mango, black olives, green olives, and onion evenly over the cheese.
  5. Place a second tortilla over the toppings.
  6. Brush butter on the upper and lower surfaces of the quesadilla maker or melt butter in the frying pan.
  7. Lift the filled tortillas onto the quesadilla maker and close the lid. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes. If using a frying pan, turn the tortilla over when the first side is browned. Repeat for the second side.
  8. Place the quesadilla on a cutting board. Cut into wedges.
  9. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

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