Saturday, September 29, 2012

Grilled Vegetable Tacos

A visit to a Farmers' Market is entertainment, a photo op, a dining event as well as a food shopping excursion. (link and link) One recent Saturday trip to the University District Farmers' Market was memorable for good company and my shopping bag filled with beautifully ripe peaches, artisan breads, interesting cheeses and one head of a vegetable oddity, romanesco. H and I strolled the aisles twice, chatting with a few vendors and sampling an item or two as we selected our treasures. How funny that a cheese seller didn't know the origin of the name "Pluvius" for one of his products and I did - Pluvius is/well, was a small town in Pacific County, SW Washington state. Not familiar? well, maybe you know nearby Pe Ell, or maybe not. Name familiarity aside, I didn't care much for the cheese; a bit too salty. 

The big find of the day was waiting for us in the Market Bites area, a location for the prepared-food vendors. While we didn't love the ginger lemonade, oh! my! goodness! the grilled vegetable tacos were over-the-top delicious. Bite-sized pieces of mixed vegetables were piled on a lightly-oiled hot grill, dusted with cumin and chili powder and quickly seared. Large flour tortillas were quickly warmed on one side, filled with grilled vegetables and a scattering of cheese, folded and crisped on the same grill. Served with a wedge of lime, these treats had us rolling our eyes in delight, so busy enjoying the taco that we didn't pause to talk.

Guess what I made for lunch on Sunday? Grilled Vegetable Tacos, of course, but prepared inside on my stove-top grill. Vegie tacos are a new must-have favorite for lunch or dinner. Maybe add some eggs and enjoy them at breakfast. Change up the vegetables, add mushrooms or cowboy beans or even some crumbled chorizo or bacon. Whatever, just get grilling. 

Grilled Vegetable Tacos

Fresh vegetables are essential, though frozen corn could substitute for fresh. I recommend the following, cut into bite-sized pieces:
1 small zucchini
1 poblano chile
1 ear corn
3-4 large leaves of curly kale
3-4 scallions (or 1/4 cup sweet onion slivers)
a handful of small multi-colored peppers ( or 1 whole sweet red pepper)

2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon each of ancho chile powder and chipotle chile powder OR substitute your favorite grocery store chile powder

6-inch flour or corn tortillas
a handful of cilantro, chopped
1 cup of shredded cheese (pepperjack, cheddar, or your favorite)
lime wedges
  1. Use a spray, or paper towel and a bit of oil, to lightly oil your grill (or griddle, wok or extra large fry pan) and preheat over medium to medium-high heat.
  2. Place the vegetable pieces in a large bowl; add the oil and spices; toss to coat well.
  3. Plop the seasoned vegetables onto the grill and cook until warmed and softened, but not browned or crispy. Move the cooked vegies to the cooler end of the grill.
  4. Place tortillas on the grill to warm one side but not brown; then turn over. Sprinkle cilantro and cheese shreds on half of a tortilla, mound grilled vegetables on top and fold over the top pressing down lightly to hold it together. 
  5. When the first side is lightly browned, carefully turn over to brown the second side. Remove to a platter and hold in a warm oven.
  6. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
  7. Cut each folded, filled tortilla in half for easier handling, or leave whole. Serve with lime wedges and salsa, and offer some sour cream and sliced radishes or avocado if you like. 

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