Friday, November 12, 2004


This has been a staple for me for at least four years, and it saw me through that long period when I never cooked meat but didn’t really like beans either (OK, I still don’t love beans). I eat it less often now, because we have discovered the joy that is steak tacos, but I still enjoy it on occasion—especially now that I’ve found the best salsa in the world, Trader Joe’s Salsa Especial, and am grateful for any excuse to consume it in large quantities. Plus, it is just good to eat big piles of vegetables. This recipe is a cinch for anyone to make, I promise. It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but all you need to do is mix them together right in the baking dish and then pop it in the oven. I was practically faint with hunger on Wednesday night when I made this, and I still managed to pull it together without incident. Oh, except the recipe says this makes 4 servings, but A and I ate most of it in one sitting, with only a small snack-size portion left over. So…be forewarned.

Also, sometimes when I feel like spending perhaps an extra ten minutes over the stove, I put the vegetable mixture into quesadillas and that is perhaps even more delicious.

2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 small zucchini, cut into sticks (2 cups)
1 yellow zucchini or summer squash, cut into sticks (1 cup)
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips (1 cup)
1 small onion, sliced (1 cup)
¼ cup salsa, plus extra for garnish if desired
8 six-inch flour tortillas
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1. Preheat the oven’s broiler and grease a 9-inch square baking dish with a little vegetable oil.

2. Put all the vegetables in the pan.

3. Mix the lime juice, cilantro, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, chili powder, oregano, cumin, garlic, and salt in a small bowl (I actually like to use a former Grey Poupon jar, because then I can just screw on the lid and shake it up), then pour this mixture over the vegetables in the baking dish and toss well. (It’s easier to blend all the seasonings together and cover the vegetables thoroughly if you do it this way, but believe me, I’ve had my lazy days of just throwing everything into the dish and it works just fine. If you don’t want to dirty a bowl, I say go for it.)

4. Put the baking dish in the oven and broil the vegetables for 5-10 minutes, “until tender-crisp or to desired doneness.” (Take them out of the oven once partway through to stir them around so they cook evenly.) When the vegetables are done, take the dish out of the oven. Add the salsa to the vegetables in the baking dish and toss well.

5. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees, wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil, and put them in the oven to heat, about 5 minutes. (You can heat them in the microwave too, but the texture is better if you do it in the oven.)

6. When the tortillas are warm, top them with vegetables and cheese (and more salsa if desired), roll them up, and eat them.

Serves: 3-4
Time: 30 minutes

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