preparing for the storm

Beer – check.

I needed a break from the news – pulling away from the TV/Radio helps lower the agita levels I’m finding.  I don’t want to find myself eating peanut butter and crackers for days on end, so I’ve been thinking about what I could make that I wouldn’t mind eating more than once in a 48 hour period (I’m fussy that way).

Ratatouille!  It’s a perfect easy dish using veggies that are all in season now, and it tastes decent room temperature as well as warm.  So, this together with some couscous will be my dinner tonight, and possibly a meal or two tomorrow.  Plus, there’s the added bonus of the excuse to say Ratatouille! a lot.

Ratatouillerecipe courtesy of the City Cook

2 large red peppers
1 large yellow pepper
4 medium tomatoes or 6 plum tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion, cut into a medium dice
2 medium zucchini, cut into half-inch slices
1 eggplant or 2 small Japanese eggplants, left unpeeled and cut into one-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400º F.
  2. Place the cubed eggplant on a rimmed sheet pan and roast until softened, about 15 minutes.  They will shrink in size as they cook.
  3. Rinse and dry each pepper and place on a rimmed sheet pan and place in the oven.  Roast the peppers until they have charred and blistered and the flesh is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.  These can cook alongside the eggplant, either on the same pan (push each to one end of the pan because some moisture will be thrown off) or on a separate sheet pan.
  4. Remove from the oven and place the peppers in a large bowl and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap to seal.  Let the peppers sit in the bowl for about 15 minutes; this steaming helps the skin loosen.  Remove the skin from the peppers, as well as the cores and inner seeds and fibers.  Cut the peppers into large squares.  Do not use water to rinse off the charred skins as this will remove much of the peppers’ wonderful roasted flavor.
  5. Peel each tomato by first submerging it in a pot of boiling water for about 10 seconds until the skin loosens.  Plunge the tomatoes into a bowl of iced water to stop any cooking.  Remove the peels and chop roughly, saving the seeds and juice.
  6. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet.  Add the onion and cook over medium heat until soft and translucent.  Add the garlic slices and cook until softened and just beginning to take on color (do not brown).  Remove from the pan and hold aside.
  7. Using the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and place over medium high heat.  Add the zucchini slices and cook until soft and browned.  Return the onion and garlic to the pan and combine.

Add the chopped tomatoes with their juices, peppers, cubes of eggplant, thyme, a pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper.  Gently combine so that everything is mixed but the elements don’t get mushed together.  Cover, lower the heat to medium low, and gently simmer for about 15 minutes.

You can vary the vegetables a little according to taste (I usually use fewer peppers) and again, this can be eaten warm (lovely) or room temperature (equally lovely).

Bon Appetit!

***

I had the inspiration to make chocolate chip cookies, because everything (including stormy weather) goes better with chocolate chip cookies.  However, I may end up just eating chocolate chips.

The Storm - Edvard Munch

Stay dry!

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2 responses to this post.

  1. [...] So what do you do with your garlic?  I’m still trying to take advantage of the bounty of our farmers’ market before we’re limited to winter squashes and potatoes (and I am NOT complaining about having to eat mashed potatoes and butternut squash soup).  (An aside – Autumn is just flying by this year – wasn’t it just Labor Day???)  So what is my favorite dish this time of year?  Ratatouille!  It’s a very forgiving dish, so if you can’t find zucchini or don’t like peppers, just add more of the other vegetables.  It’s lovely served on couscous, or with good crusty bread.  My favorite recipe is here. [...]

    Reply

  2. […] and your gardening.  There is so much to do this time of year, and so much to eat!  Put away some ratatouille, and tomato sauce and maybe a fruit jam or two.  You’ll thank yourself […]

    Reply

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