Not-So-PrettyPosted by in Food
I’ve been cooking a lot from Lucinda Scala Quinn’s book Mad Hungry Cravings. In general, I love her food. However, I made two recipes together from this book on a recent night that I just could not get to work. I haven’t posted about a cooking disaster in a while, so I thought it was time to share my failings:)
The first was a grilled romaine salad. I’ve had this in restaurants and have been wanting to try it at home. Basically you cut a head of romaine in half and rub with olive oil and season with salt. You put it on a very hot grill and just char it a bit around the edges. Then drizzle lemon juice and place some shaved Parmesan on it and serve (anchovies optional). Sounds so easy, but mine was a mess. My lettuce fell apart and it sort of shriveled on the grill instead of charring in some places. I just couldn’t get it to work very well. I do like the charred flavor and the simple dressing, so I may try this one again.
The second one was Flautas. I’ve never had or heard of flautas, but Lucinda says they are a Mexican takeout specialty. They’re supposed to be thinly rolled little tortillas that are brown and crispy, as if deep fried. This sounded really good to me.
Lucinda says to use:
12 corn tortillas
6 oz Monterey Jack, grated
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp coarse salt
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp oil
She says to preheat the oven to 425 and lay the tortillas on baking sheets, sprinkling the cheese on top. No problem. Bake them until the cheese melts – just a few minutes. Mix tomato, beans, lime juice and salt in a bowl. Spread this mix on the tortillas after the cheese is melted, and tightly roll them and place seam side down on a baking sheet. Brush with oil and bake 8 minutes until they are golden and crispy.
Nothing about this recipe worked for me. I couldn’t get them to roll – the tortillas kept cracking and ripping. They wouldn’t roll tightly at all. I couldn’t get them to sit on the baking sheet without unrolling. I baked for 8 minutes and they didn’t get crispy. I even went several minutes longer and they in no way resembled fried food. By the time I took this out of the oven I was so frustrated I was ready to pitch it out the window.
The family liked the way this tasted even if it didn’t look or behave like it was supposed to. I don’t think I’ll try this one again. It’s tortillas, beans, cheese, and tomato – not a lot going on here. I’m sure it is all my own ineptitude that made this a mess, so if it appeals to you, give it a try!
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