Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Reasons Why I Love Ratatouille:

I got home last night absolutely beat having just finished a five hour drive home from Kelowna in Thanksgiving traffic and still fighting a cold that started over a week ago. I needed food, quickly, and it needed to be comfort food. I had twenty dollars in my pocket and in my head I was torn – Do I go for Pho (the fourth time in a week, the best comfort food in the world when you have a cold)? Or do I go to the grocery store? The grocery store won out for the sole reason that I wanted to pack a lunch for school the next morning.

My grocery bill: two zucchinis, carrots, garlic and orzo. The menu for the evening? Ratatouille.

I would never consider what I make comparable to the classic French dish but it’s warm, healthy, and full of flavour. Making it on a rainy night when your head is a bit hazy causes the living room windows to completely fog over with steam and delicious smells – what a wonderful way to wind down before a silly midterm week.

The fantastic Disney movie called Ratatouille. So cute!! Dull ending, but the rat is so cool. And he loves French food. Ooh la la...

I passed along a recipe exchange from an email I got from a dear friend named Heidi – the new school chain letter that you will actually get something good out of (what were you supposed to get out of old school chain letters? Pen pals?). No surprise, I sent a nice easy one for (no surprise) Ratatouille. In return, I was lucky enough to receive two (out of the four I eventually got – some of you never passed it on!*) slightly different and intriguing recipes for the same thing, both of which I look forward to trying.

*I was supposed to get 36 recipes and instead I got two for ratatouille, one for squash porridge (which, unfortunately, I probably will never make) and one for a tasty sounding veggie-lentil soup. Damn chain letters!

I recently listened to a Spilled Milk podcast with my sister about fried eggs and how awesome they are on everything except beer (?). These two amusing talkers/cooks both really like fried eggs on ratatouille AND the girl (the author of the Orangette blog) likes to pronounce it “Ra-TA-TA-ooey”! Personally, I find it a bit tricky to get the “ta-ta”s out and smoothly off your tongue, but it sure sounds cute.


You need:
1 big white onion, chopped
A few heads of garlic
2 carrots, chopped up
2 zucchinis, chopped up
1 eggplant, chopped up also
1 can of tomatoes
Dried oregano, rosemary, basil and bay leaf

Saute the onion over medium until it starts to smell good, then add the garlic. Cook until soft and maybe let it caramelize a little bit.

Add the carrots and cook a bit, then the dried herbs (maybe half a teaspoon of each and one bay leaf). Then add the entire can of tomatoes, juice and all. You may choose to add a bit of water so that the liquid just covers all of the vegetables. Stir it all in, adjust the heat so the mixture is simmering.

Meanwhile, put your chopped zucchini and eggplant onto a baking pan with some salt and pepper onto a baking pan and pop under the broiler for five minutes or so (If these were to cook along with the carrots, they would disappear just to mush so cook them separately).

When your tomato mixture has reduced a bit to a stew-like consistency, add the roasted zucchini and eggplant. Stir it all up together and let these new vegetables soak up some of the herby tomato sauce, then season with more salt and pepper.

I like to serve this on top of orzo that has been cooked in nicely salted water and last night I had it with some grated old cheddar and one of the Belgian beers that Chambar Restaurant had brewed specially for them.


  1. one: spilled milk doesn't like fried eggs on cake either. remember that, it will be useful advice later in life.

    two: I only got one recipe back! (who were your other two from? my friends? that way you'll know that I was the only one who continued the chain!)

    three: make polenta!

  2. look here for a [breakfast] polenta recipe!

    i will make it for dinner next week. maybe you can come?