Friday, August 28, 2009

Ratatouille

I made a night of it. I wanted to try it. I wanted to see if I could make a bunch of garden vegetables (taunting me on my counter) into a colorful, delicious culinary creation that even a cartoon rat could make. I wanted to see if I could make one that tasted like the one my imagination conjured up. I did my research beforehand. Ratatouille is apparently any dish that contains some sort of combination of eggplant, squash and tomato sauce, usually in the form of a stew, many of which did not look appetizing at all. Did you know, I cook mostly by picture rather than recipe? Anyway, I found a couple recipes much closer to the cartoon version (which was actually created by a real chef for the movie-but his recipe was way too involved of a process and still not exactly what I was looking for). I used a few of the suggestions from other blogging cooks and then did pretty much whatever I wanted. I made my own ratatouille recipe-because, hey, "anyone can cook" and because "in order to be great, you must be fearless!" I'll put my best estimation of what I did in a recipe format at the bottom if you want to try it.

I served it over couscous and topped it off with another new discovery (homemade ricotta cheese-which is super easy). It turned out to be delicious, if I do say so myself. My invited guest agreed and was impressed. He may have been just a little biased though--or maybe he knows the secret (if you flatter the cook, they cook for you more).

We then settled into the couch to watch a good Disney flick, "Ratatouille". Here's to you Remy for inspiring me to create!

Ratatouille
1 clove garlic
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
olive oil
1 red pepper
4 oz can tomato paste
1/4 C water 
3 tomatoes (chopped)
1 thin eggplant
1 smallish zucchini (I had to use a monster one, but recommend smaller for a uniform size)
1 yellow crookneck squash
fresh thyme and oregano (if you can keep your herbs alive-I am pitiful at this)
salt and pepper

Roast red pepper halves under broiler or on grill and then let sit in a closed ziploc bag for 10 minutes (or buy them pre-roasted).  Then, remove skin and chop. Saute garlic and onion in a little olive oil in a small pan until soft and fragrant. Add roasted red pepper pieces, tomato paste and water. Cook until heated through. Spread on bottom of oval baking dish. Cut squashes, eggplant, and tomatoes in thin slices (using a mandolin slicer if you are lucky enough to own one). Arrange them, alternating colors, overlapping but laying down so faces of the slices are partially visible. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle fresh herbs, salt and pepper.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 min. Voila!

7 comments:

Casey said...

why was i not invited over to taste it? my big brother and i always hated ratatouille growing up, but now it's one of my favs.

Jerry said...

Wow Emily. That looks super good (and very close to what I imagine what it would look like in real life as opposed to the cartoon). I think I'll have to try it out sometime. PS. How do you make the homemade ricotta cheese?

Emily Cannon said...

homemade ricotta cheese is made from boiling a combination of milk and yogurt or buttermilk with a little acid like lemon juice or vinegar until it curdles then straining out the liquid in a strainer or cheesecloth.

Sarah Bauer said...

I am so excited to try this! Thank you!

ivyk said...

this is awesome!!!

K said...

I go by the picture too- but it never actually turns out looking like the picture in the end. I say, well done! Oh, and word of advice: Don't ever go by the picture when ordering fast-food.

D.I.M. Incorporated said...

This looks amazing! Just like in the movie! I can't wait to try it! Thanks for sharing! :)