The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

RTT: Julia and Mom in High Heels (and a recipe), book club and Chinese Food

ETA: Linking Up with Serenity Now's Food Post. Recipe at the bottom of all the other craziness.

Family Friendly Food at Serenity Now


Hello lovely readers! I hope you're all having a wonderful Tuesday. Oh, look at all the pretty randoms!

*On Sunday we watched Ratatouille (it was on TV) and Indy said I should make a batch up for dinner one night. I agreed (I'd made it once before and it was good) and set about to find my recipe. Of course I had no idea where it was, so I turned to my beloved interwebs. I decided to try Julia Child's recipe because, well, um...Julia Child!  My book club read My Life in France a few months back and the host (who is a vegan and I'm now convinced must spend her entire day in the kitchen) made JC's Ratatouille and it was FABULOUS.  The recipe was far (FAR) more complicated than my previous attempt, but I thought how hard could it be?  Oh, hahahahahahahahahahahaha!  Silly, silly, MIHH!  How you mock the gods when you think things like this.  Here are some things I learned and thought about while cooking this dish:

**For a French peasant dish, this is one complicated meal.  French peasant women must have had a lot of time to cook.
**I now know how to peel and seed a tomato, something I don't think I have ever done before (nor want to do again).
**Adding mushrooms to pretty much anything will make James Bond much more willing to try it.
**If you want to eat before midnight, start this meal early!  I started at 3:30 and it wasn't ready until just after 6.  And I was busy almost the entire time.
**Do ALL your pep work FIRST!  Otherwise you'll be scrambling around trying not to burn the eggplant and zucchini while you google how to peel and seed a tomato.
**PRESSED garlic?  REALLY?  What's the difference?  I'm sure there must be one, but for the life of me, I don't know what it could be.
**Julia Child was insane.
**That chick who cooked her way through MTAOFC was even more insane.
**My grandmothers (and their mothers and their mothers and so on) worked REALLY hard to cook from scratch every day.  How did they do it and keep their sanity?
**Always wear an apron, especially when you have a very limited maternity wardrobe.  I would have had to toss my top if I hadn't thought to put on an apron before starting this meal.
**The longer this cooks, the better it gets.
**I am a kick ass cook!
**Don't tell Indy there is eggplant in it (not that he would have known if I hadn't mentioned it).  This child eats pretty much anything (including eggplant), but if he knows there's eggplant in something, he freaks out.
**Recipe (with notes) will follow at the end of the post.

*Speaking of book club (huzzah!) we are reading The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck this month.  I was so excited when everyone agreed to this.  I.LOVE.THIS.BOOK.   The first time I read it I was in the 9th grade.  Something about it struck a chord in me and I now read it about every other year or so (considering I was in the 9th grade in 1987, that's a lot of read throughs).  I always find something new when I read it.  I so look forward to discussing it with the other ladies.

*Book club is actually tonight!  We are meeting at a Chinese restaurant, which was my suggestion.  No one else thought of it and I thought that odd.  It seems an obvious choice, but James Bond pointed out that not everyone thinks in "themes" like I do.  I never thought of it that way, but I am very theme oriented.  I wonder why?

*I have not received my invite to Wills and Kate's wedding.  What's up with that?

*I know Wills is the grandson of the queen and all, but how much must it suck as a bride to have to have those unattractive invites?  They're really not pretty.  Not that I'd send one back if I got one, but still, from the bride's point of

*I love maternity pants!  Easy on, easy off.  There are no silly buttons or snaps or zippers to get in my way when I have to the bathroom (which is frequently since I have a small person sitting on my bladder).  I'm thinking about wearing them forever.  :)

*It snowed here yesterday!  WHAT?  It didn't stick much past noon, but still.  It has been so unseasonably warm I almost forgot it was Feb.

*I'm not sure I know the difference:

Okay, I promised the recipe, so here you go.  Bolded words are my notes and changes.  That's right, I changed JC's recipe.  I'm probably going to hell.

Ratatouille- From Mastering the Art of French Cooking ( sourced from Bon Apetit August 2009)

6 Servings

1/2 pound eggplant I just used a whole one-I have no idea how much it weighed
1/2 pound zucchini, trimmed I just used a whole one-I have no idea how much it weighed
1 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 8-ounce onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
2 green bell peppers, thinly sliced into strips I used yellow peppers
2 garlic cloves, pressed .
1 pound firm but ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, cut into 3/8- to 1/4-inch-thick strips Again, I didn't weigh
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Peel eggplant; cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, then cut into 3-inch-long, 1-inch-wide strips. Cut zucchini into same size strips. I cut rounds. Place vegetables in large bowl; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand 30 minutes. Drain; dry with paper towels. OMG, there is a lot of stuff to drain!  You will also use many, many paper towels to keep them dry.

Heat 4 tablespoons oil in large skillet (I used a large cast iron skillet) over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add eggplant and zucchini to skillet; sauté until light golden, about 1 minute per side. Mine took way longer than 1 min. per side. Transfer to plate; reserve.

Add 3 tablespoons oil to skillet; heat over medium heat. Add onion and peppers; sauté until just tender (add mushrooms after about 5 minutes), 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

Place tomato strips atop onion-pepper mixture in skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover skillet; cook over low heat until tomatoes begin to juice, about 5 minutes. Uncover; baste vegetables in skillet with juices. Boil until juices are almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer 1/3 of onion-pepper-tomato mixture to 2 1/2-quart pot; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley. Top with half of eggplant and half of zucchini, then remaining onion-pepper-tomato mixture; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley. Layer remaining eggplant and zucchini over; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley. Cover; simmer over low heat 10 minutes. Yeah, really? Another pot?  I just put the eggplant and zucchini to the skillet, mixed it up, covered it and let it simmer.

Uncover; tilt pot and baste with accumulated juices. Increase heat to medium; simmer uncovered, basting several times with pan juices until only 2 to 3 tablespoons juices remain in pot (I left it covered because I like it with more juices), watching closely to avoid scorching, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.  

James Bond, who hates both eggplant and zucchini (WHAT???) loved this dish!  He said he'd like me to make it again!  Hot damn!  If you're Catholic and looking at meatless Friday's coming up during Lent, this would be a perfect meal.  You can serve it over rice or pasta (which is why I like it juicier).  Bon Apetit!


Kristine said...

We all loved the movie. I would probably enjoy the dish but hubby and demonspawn both hate vegetables. If hubby DID attempt to eat it he would ruin it by smothering it in ketchup. :sigh:

These Are The Days said...

No invite? I'm shocked, I really thought you'd have gotten one by now. :) Thanks for sharing the recipe, I'll have to try it. I've never used eggplant, tried it once but I was young and my taste buds were immature so that doesn't count. You make me want to snuggle up on my couch with my boys (which happens to be Kade's fave) and watch Ratatouille.

Terra H. said...

I wouldn't know how to make Ratatouille if the recipe was in the simplest terms. I'm no cook. That's one reason why I love my hubby so.
The mail must be delayed, because I didn't receive my royal wedding invite either. I JUST KNOW I made the list. ha
Happy RTT.

Anonymous said...

I tend to make that mistake with recipes anyway: I'll start cooking then realize there's a step later on that I won't be able to do while doing something else. Sounds yummy though. I don't think I have ever read that book but now I definitely want to. Happy Tuesday!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I too have not received my invite. Yet I heard Snoop Dog was invited. Please.

Putting The Good Earth on my reading list.

Scratching off making Ratatouille.

Bella Michelle said...

YOu haven't received your invite, yet? I can't imagine why (will check when when I lunch with Kate LOL).

Glad you tried something sort of new...sorry it took forever (cooking and patience...not my strong suit!).

Raven said...

I am completely and totally certain that I will never make Ratatouille. If I can't cook it in 15 minutes I have no use for it. Hell, I get impatient making Minute Rice.

Now I want Chinese Food.

Happy Tuesday!

The Crazy Coxes said...

You are GOOD! I'm sure the Ratatouille was wonderful.
The Good Earth is an awesome book and your idea to meet at a Chinese restaurant is great too! I should wear maternity pants. I'm sick of all the buttons and zippers! Happy Tuesday!

Stacy Uncorked said...

We loved the movie, but you're my hero actually cooking ratatouille. ;)

I think in themes, too!

Ahhh, maternity pants - how I miss them. ;)

Satakieli said...

I don't think any ratatouille I've made has ever been quite that complicated! I use an Americas Test Kitchen recipe though, so it's probably cheating. I've de-seeded tomatoes before but not sure I could ever bring myself to bother to peel one.

Oh and re: pressed garlic. My Garlic Press changed my life. I'm not even kidding, considering how I use garlic in pretty much everything, it is absolutely my favourite and most used kitchen gadget. I don't know how I ever lived without it.

Mama Zen said...

I'm still waiting for my invite, too!

Sherry said...

Oh, funny side notes on that recipe. yes, why didn't the women before us go insane with cooking from scratch! My least fav thing is "I'm hungry," and it will still be an hour till food is on the table. LOL
Thanks for stopping by.

Sparks Family said...

Dear MHH,I took your advice and started a "dear so and so" day on my blog. I'm posting it as "dear so and so Saturdays". You make me laugh anytime I read yours. I hope I do it justice.


Anne said...

As a french I will give you a secret: Don't seed and Peel the tomatoes (it is just not worse the time and if you dont mind the seed and the skin, it is good for you) I don't like Eggplant and never include it in mine. And for quick time: Use frozen precut Bell Pepper. So you just have to deal with the onion, the garlic, the tomatoe into cube or quaters. Zucchini I put as much as there is tomatoes. Thym, or even better: Herbe de Provence mix (or Italian Seasoning if you don't have it)
OH!! And the MAIN secret: Pressure Cooker. You can have a meal in like 20mn of cooking instead of 1h. Love it!

Carole said...

Hi, here is another French stopping by and amazed at the amount of time you cooked your ratatouille ! (loved to read all of your posts before this one, by the way, love your humour)
I never peel and seed my tomatoes : I chop them in quarters, put them as they are and fish out the skin 20 minutes later.
I just cut all my vegetables and cook them one variety by one(adjusting the cooking times till they're tender but not too much), then put them aside on a plate and go on with the next batch. And in the end I put everything back in the tomatoes.
I will bookmark your blog and come back often !

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I am impressed that you attempted ratatouille! I had no idea that dish took so long to prepare...makes me very thankful for the times we live in and our microwaves. ;) Thank you so much for joining my Family Friendly Food Week link-up!

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