I’ve had to consider my methodology a bit, as the new pasta recipe I made on Thursday night didn’t turn out so hot (oh, Pasta e Verdura, you have failed me!). It had all the right elements—tomatoes, spinach, garlic, even red pepper flakes—but somehow they did not succeed in coming together in any transcendent way (I think the word that sprang to mind was “uncompelling”). So I dithered about writing it up. If this recipe diary is intended as a way to recommend recipes, then there’s no point in posting one I find lackluster, is there? Perhaps if the failure had been spectacular enough to be either entertaining or informative, it would be worth describing. But it was just a boring recipe. I suppose someone else might find it tastier than I do (Jack Bishop obviously liked it enough to write about)…so does this site function as a personal record, or a public service? Luckily, before I had to resolve such tough questions, BookCook received its first piece of reader email. Answering this request sounded a lot more fun than writing up last week’s disappointments, so here, in place of a recipe I never plan to make again, is this one.
(And may I just add that although I am not whatsoever any sort of cooking expert, I would be happy to try to answer further inquiries in future posts? If you’d like to ask a question about ingredients or methods, request a certain type of recipe, submit a recipe you like for me to try, or simply say hello, just leave a comment.)
So, Reader A writes: “Dear BookCook, I enjoy reading your recipes and had an idea for one that you could post. Funny thing is that it is a recipe I got from you. As I do not really cook and don't know any recipes, this one is near and dear to my countertop and oven because it's the one recipe I've made enough to memorize. I make if for friends that come over and then they ask me to give them the recipe. All thanks to you. Dying to know what it is? It's a recipe for grilled vegetable tacos(?) with garlic mayonnaise. Ring a bell? I think you should post it. It's super-easy.”
Right on, Reader A! I’ve had this one for a while (gleaned from some long-forgotten vegetarian cookbook from the library), and it is, as she says, easy and tasty. Not being a big mayonnaise fan myself, I’ve even taken an additional shortcut sometimes by using ranch dressing on these instead of making the garlic mayonnaise. But garlic is good, so try it the real way first. Also, the original recipe asks for 1½ cups shredded lettuce (to be added to the tortillas along with the vegetables and mayonnaise), but neither Reader A nor I have ever used this, so I’m leaving it out.
Postscript, December 2009: I don't seem to make this anymore, so it's moving to the dreaded "not favorites" category. For a tortillas-n-veggies combo, I prefer this or this.
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into ¾-inch pieces
1 medium red onion, cut into ½-inch wedges
1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into ¼-inch slices
¼ pound mushrooms, cut into fourths
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
6 flour tortillas
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 clove chopped garlic
1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Spread the bell pepper, onion, zucchini, and mushrooms in an ungreased baking dish (I usually use Pyrex, but a metal cake pan works fine too).
2. Mix oil, basil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl (or shake them together in a screw-top jar); brush over the vegetables, tossing well to coat. Bake uncovered 12-15 minutes or until crisp-tender; cool slightly.
3. Meanwhile, mix together garlic mayonnaise ingredients. Spread about 2 teaspoons (or to taste) garlic mayonnaise down the center of each tortilla to within 2 inches of the bottom. Top with 1/6 of the vegetable mixture, spreading to within 2 inches of the bottom. Fold one end of tortilla up about 1 inch over the filling; fold right and left sides over the folded end, overlapping, and then fold remaining end down. Repeat with remaining tortillas to make 6 wraps.
Time: 30 minutes maximum