Because I Saw a Cartoon Rat Make It

zucchini, can we be best pals?

I made Ratatouille tonight! More specifically, Ratatouille Provençal, straight out of my copy of the Joy of Cooking. I’ve been meaning to find something new to cook as an alternative to the chili, with the requirement of it being hearty, made from healthy stuff, easy, and good for lunch-packing. Ratatouille seems to fit all of those categories, and after perusing many, many recipes online today, I decided that the Joy of Cooking one seemed to be the most simple. It seemed like as good a place to start as any.

is this what it's supposed to look like?

Ratatouille recipes vary pretty widely; my mom remembers my grandmother making it with tomatoes, zucchini, and onions, and recipes seem to be undecided on whether eggplant is required, as well as the merits of yellow vs. green squash/zucchini. (I am so embarrassed to admit this, but I didn’t realize until the sign in the produce aisle told me that yes, they are the same damn thing. Way to go, college graduate! Know your produce!) I made it with eggplant, zucchini, two red bell peppers, an onion, garlic, a can of diced tomatoes (while using fresh tomatoes would be preferable to this giant tomato fan, when the recipe calls for them to peeled, I am not above being REALISTIC about my cutting skillz. Really.) and some seasoning. It was very easy and totally straightforward (except for the part where you cook the eggplant and zucchini first, then save them in a bowl to be added in at the end; other recipes seem to just switch up the cooking order and leave it at that). Of course, I didn’t end up eating until after 9pm after a slow supermarket trip, even slower chopping, and a surprise visit from my siblings.

August 4, 2008

My verdict? While maybe I didn’t love it, I really, really liked it. I will definitely make this again, and feel totally confident in modifying this recipe for next time: one bell pepper, way more zucchini and either no eggplant (the jury is still out on eggplant. Do I like it? …maybe? Can I tolerate it? Sure. Would I choose to eat it? …uhh….) or a way smaller amount of eggplant. And one of these days, maybe I’ll learn to be more adventurous with seasoning. One (baby) step at a time. (PS. I would post the recipe here, but I am a bit unclear, still, about whether that’s really allowed, copyright-wise. Or maybe it’s just the holy book status of the Joy of Cooking that gives me pause. Ah well.)

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5 thoughts on “Because I Saw a Cartoon Rat Make It

  1. This really looks fantastic! And I agree with you about eggplant. I think my official verdict on it is that it’s yucky, when I do eat it, it’s most unoffensive. But really, why bother with a foodstuff that leaves you unsure of whether it was actually palatable? 😀

    At the risk of sounding like a pedant if you already know this, peeling tomatoes is very easy. You just score the bottoms of them to make an X in the skin, then drop them into boiling water until the skin starts to peel back (how long this takes varies based on how ripe the tomatoes are). Then remove them from the water, plunge them in an ice bath (or, if you’re lazy like me, run them under cold water) to stop the cooking, and then the skins peel right off. It’s a slightly more involved step than, say, opening a can of tomatoes, but this time of year it means you get to eat more tasty fresh Jersey tomatoes!

    And I was hesitant about copying recipes on IPB Living until I read that apparently you can’t copyright a recipe. So they’re all fair game. And Dorie Greenspan didn’t sic her lawyers on us when she discovered her brownie/cookie recipe on our blog! SURELY that means it’s legal?

  2. But really, why bother with a foodstuff that leaves you unsure of whether it was actually palatable?

    very good point. I think I have concluded that if it were offered to me, I wouldn’t refuse it, but will I choose to cook with it again? doubtful…

    And with two thorough descriptions/ringing endorsements for peeling my own tomatoes, maybe I will try that next time…. on a weekend, when I’m starting cooking a little earlier than, say, 8:30pm. 🙂

    And Ariella, maybe once they replace my wonky oven I will attempt to make the baked versions, which look much prettier as far as I’m concerned. But not before that..

  3. Congratulations on making a new dish! It looks delicious! (In the interests of Picking Eating With Pookie, I’m ignoring that I think I don’t like zucchini; I’m trying to keep an open mind, though.) I’m sorry it took so long to finish, but next time you’ll know what you’re doing so it’ll go faster! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for your new oven to be fantastically wonderful!

    Between you and Caitlin (from over at IPB Living) I’m getting inspired to try cooking a bit myself. And by cooking I mean asking Schnookie to supervise me making a meal which usually turns into Schnookie cooking it for me because I’m too much of a coward to peel tomatoes.

  4. thanks! We’ll see how it holds up as a lunch leftover today 🙂 And dude, they told me last week I’d get a new oven, but so far, no dice.

    Trust me, cooking isn’t too terrible… although I just don’t know if I’ll get around to peeling tomatoes quite yet. 😉 It might be easier if I had a supervisor… but even though it makes me more hesitant to try new things, when I get something to work, I’m pretty proud of myself.

  5. Pingback: Shrimp Provencal « Biebs’ World

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