Saturday, July 31, 2010

CSA weekend

I am in luurve with our CSA share. Each week it just increases in variety, color, and deliciousness. This week I'm making Alice Waters' ratatouille, from her book "The Art of Simple Food." I have made several recipes from this book, and I have to say it is my favorite cookbook. The recipes are all laid out in a step-by-step manner, with the ingredients in bold as you go along. It is also a great book to have on hand for those who are beginner cooks and want to understand the importance of specific ingredients in your food and what roles they play.

Alice Waters is also the owner of Chez Panisse, the local foody's dream restaurant in Berkeley, CA. Check out my post at my older blog- when I was in California last year, Salman was able to grab some amazing seats at Chez Panisse for the two of us after my cycling trip. ooh, just thinking about it makes my mouth water!

Classic Ratatouille

Serves 6-8

Adapted from “The Art of Simple Food”

(Do this in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Cut ALL vegetables into ½ inch pieces.)

3 Italian eggplant, sliced, salted and left to drain 20 minutes
Large can San Marzano tomatoes
2 chopped, red onions
4 tbsp olive oil, divided (plus more if necessary)
6 diced cloves of garlic
20 basil leaves, divided
1 tsp red chili flakes
2 chopped peppers (red, yellow, green or orange)
5 summer squash or zucchini (mix and match as you choose)
Additional herbs of your choice


Sauté eggplant in 2 tbsp olive oil until tender and golden, about 10 minutes.
Use juice from the canned tomatoes to deglaze pan, scraping brown bits into the eggplant mixture as you cook them—chances are they will start to brown the pan before they are cooked, and you don’t want to burn them or lose the flavor of the brown bits. Once cooked, transfer eggplant to a bowl.

Pour remaining tablespoons of olive oil into the pan to sauté onions. Cook until golden and translucent, about 8 minutes.

Add garlic, about 10 basil leaves and red chili flakes to the onions and stir a few minutes.

Add chopped peppers and cook until just softened, stirring constantly.

Add zucchini, and cook until golden and just softened, stirring constantly.

Add remaining tomato juice and tomatoes.

Season with herbs of your choice (or just salt and pepper) and cook another 3 minutes.

Add eggplant and cook another 10 minutes until vegetables are soft, but not insubstantial. If some remain too al dente, cover pot and simmer a few extra minutes.

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