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