Elements of Food, Elements of Home


“You know what I’m craving? A little perspective. That’s it. I’d like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that?” Ratatouille

No, this is not an entire post about a cute little movie about a rat who becomes a renowned chef in Paris…although, it is absolutely one of my most favorite movies. Don’t be fooled by the fact it’s a cartoon, it’s amazing. This post is, however, about the actual dish, Ratatouille. I have played with the idea of making it over and over, but every time I look at the Julia Child recipe, I resort  to something much simpler. Well, little did I know my soon to be husband is quite the french cook…less than 3 months away from our wedding I  proclaimed that we need to eat healthy from now on, no excuses. Let’s just say this was the week after Easter and I was still feeling full. Let’s also just say cream sauces, potatoes, desserts and pounds of ham are not in my bridal diet. I wanted nothing more than a carrot stick for dinner that night. Well, my wonderful fiance walked in the door a half hour later with a bag full of fresh veggies from the co-op. I’ve never seen so many beautiful colors in one shopping bag, and he said, we’re having Ratatouille for dinner tonight. I looked shocked and amazed that he was willing to take on this incredibly detailed, time consuming recipe…but he had a plan to skip all the fussy steps and get down to the core of the dish, which is a bunch of fresh veggies, steamed and sauteed in olive oil, salt and pepper, placed on top of couscous. Delightful. It was so easy and quick, and one of the most beautiful dishes I had ever seen on my stove top. Not to mention…incredibly healthy. We enjoyed it so much we decided to make Ratatouille a weekly staple.


1 Eggplant, 3 Zucchinis, 2 Fresh Tomatoes, 1-2 Yellow Peppers, Onion, Fresh Garlic Cloves, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Plain Cous Cous


Chop all of the veggies into chunks and place them in a cast iron braiser, i’m a snob for my Le Creuset Braiser…if you buy one of their pieces, it’s this one.  (or a frying pan you can cover) and turn the stove on medium heat. Stir all veggies with 1/4 cup of olive oil, salt and pepper. Let veggies steam for 10-12 minutes, then remove the cover and stir. Let veggies cook until tender. Prepare Cous Cous according to directiongs (this takes 5 minutes) and top Cous Cous with the Ratatouille.

There are so many variations of Ratatouille, some call for perfectly sliced and arranged veggies in a traditional oval french baking dish, some go from oven to stove, some take 30 minutes, some require 2 hours or more. Top it with fresh shredded cheese, or finish it with a dollop of creme fraiche, Some versions are pretty, some versions…not so much…but they all taste wonderful. You can eat it plain, on top of pasta or Cous Cous. You can also sop up the remaining veggie juice with a chunk of french bread. Enjoy whichever culinary route you choose!

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