Ratatouille

I love walking  outside in the morning to be greeted by warm sunshine, birds singing and green junk everywhere.

It’s pretty.

Makes me feel floaty.

You and I should definitely go on a picnic this afternoon.

We’ll pack chicken salad, fresh croissants and lemonade… and just plop down somewhere beautiful and luscious. After daintily grubbing, we can saunter euphorically along woodsy nature trails and finally fall into a deep slumber in our hammocks beneath the stars.

We’ll arise tomorrow morning smelling of daisies and crisp dew, then make our way back towards civilization allowing a brief pit-stop at the farmers market to grab some fresh summer produce.

Finally, we’ll go back to my place and make ratatouille.

Solid?

Ratatouille, like so many French foods, is a fancy sounding name for something very simple.

Before I learned what it is &  that it actually originated as peasant fare, I assumed that Ratatouille was some super sophisticated, 10-hour, edible masterpiece that French chefs created to make common people feel inept.          Not the way of it my friends.

It’s really nothing more than a savory vegetable blend, typically consisting of eggplant, tomatoes, summer squashes, bell pepper and onion. The veggies are simmered together with garlic, herbs and olive oil into an earthy and flavorful dish.

The most common way of preparing ratatouille is by slow-roasting all of the layered components together in the oven…

Now I’m all about embracing those fresh summer flavors, but I’m also not trying to fill my apartment with summer temperatures.

Thus, we have a thermostat-friendly, stove top rendition.

It’s not going to look exactly like the Disney version.                     As if anything ever does.

But you still have all the delicious flavor there, no worries.

And you can pretend a talking rat made it if you really wanna.

I opted to dish my brothy vegetable beauty, also known as ratatouille,  up on a bed  of smashed red potatoes with a sprinkling of fresh Romano cheese.

Highly commendable decision.

You also might consider serving this lovely side with white rice or lightly toasted country bread.

There’s no wrong answer here. So while you figure  out how ya wish to go about the ratatouille, I’m gonna go pick up the picnic basket.

Totally can’t wait for out summer date.

Ratatouille

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 small eggplant, cubed
  • 2 green bell peppers, thinly sliced
  •  2 cans (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 to 4 small zucchini/yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large heavy-bottom saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add eggplant; stir until coated with oil. Add peppers; stir to combine. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep vegetables from sticking. Add tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs; mix well. Cover and cook over low heat about 15 minutes, or until eggplant is tender but not too soft.

Serve cool or warm as desired.

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