Grilled Veggie Tacos with Butter Lettuce

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So there’s a delicious pile of fresh veggies sitting in the kitchen, and now the fun begins!  But before the cooking begins though, a few thoughts.

As I talk with others about buying and preparing local foods, another statement I frequently hear is, “I see all these great vegetables, but I don’t know what to do with them.”  Or, “I don’t have a recipe for them.”  I understand both those statements.  But the key to buying and preparing local is to be inspired by the food, and not the other way around!  We’ve been taught as cooks to go through three steps:  1) Find a recipe; 2) Go buy ingredients, and; 3) Prepare.   This is actually a very wasteful way to cook!  Invariably, when buying ingredients, too much of one ingredient is purchased (due to packaging) and some is thrown out – or, left to languish and rot in the refrigerator because there isn’t another recipe handy to cook with it.

When cooking locally though, the food is the inspiration!  Every week when I do my shopping trip(s), I have no idea what I’m going to prepare that week…that’s actually part of the fun.  I head out and I buy what looks freshest and tastiest, bring it home, and then I start to think about what I’m going to prepare.  Cooking this way means that I will use all of my ingredients and that I will be preparing food that’s as fresh as possible – and therefore, healthy as possible!  Oh, and delicious too, yep yep yep.  Doug and I eat very well, simple foods and simple meals that are filled with flavor, because we are eating foods that haven’t been sitting on a shelf or in a cooler for weeks and weeks.

Also, local cooking does not need to be complicated!  Really, everyday meals do not need to be elaborate cooking events that take several hours to prepare.  When I’m cooking for just Doug and myself, most of the time it’s a pretty simple dish, or a combination of a few simple dishes.  Doug eats vegan most of the time, so often much of what I prepare is vegetable dishes, which can be simple or elaborate depending upon my mood.  I often will choose a recipe based upon ingredients I have in the kitchen to prepare, but I freely exchange ingredients depending upon what I have.  So feel free, experiment, taste, cook, and enjoy!

And now for the first meal from yesterday’s shopping trip.

Doug bought me a grill for Christmas, which I’ve been dying to have!  I chose a charcoal grill, a Weber, which I’ve owned previously in the past and really enjoy.  So last night I wanted to fire it up and try it out with something simple.  I decided to grill some of the veggies and make vegan tacos for Doug, since he’s been craving some simple meals.

I started by choosing the veggies that I knew would grill best.  I pulled out some of the eggplants, the green bell peppers, and some non-local organic onions that I bought at Quality Food.  I did notice yesterday on my shopping trip that ARTfarm now has local onions in season, so I’ll be buying those next week!

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Washed, chopped, and in the grill basket (I LOVE this grill basket!)

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Getting the fire ready…wait, how did that get in the pic?  *grins*

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Next some seasoning.  I use Penzey’s spices almost exclusively for my cooking spices.  This blend of Szechuan pepper and sea salt is very tasty on vegetables – slightly spicy, and it has a warm earthy flavor.

IMG_2262Basket on the grill…wait…toss…drink more wine…

IMG_2268And then we’re done!  I had some tortillas left from the batch I made on Friday, so it served as the shell of the taco.  I lined it with some of the butter lettuce leaves, and filled with the roasted veggies…and topped off with Miss Anna’s hot sauce (made on St. Croix)!

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And…eat!  Doug said it was quite tasty.

One simple meal down, more on the way.  I’m getting ready to start preparing lunch, stay tuned!  😀

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