Monday, March 26, 2012

Vegetable Ratatouille!

This spring has already begun on a high note; my Spring break was last week, and let me tell you, it was much desired. For one reason or another, this semester has been more intense than any other in my collegiate journey, I feel like I live at my place of work, and I needed a week to stay home and be able to relax, cook, or just do whatever I felt like! I'm not going to be a student that much longer, so I took advantage of the week off.

During my break, I discovered Joy the Baker. I am obsessed. I already had a penchant for taking photos of everything I bake or cook, but after quickly developing an affinity for her blog, I am even more excited about everything I make!

So it was with great alacrity that I remade one of my favorite, and fool-proof, recipes: Ratatouille! I discovered this recipe long before the 2007 self-same film was released. I happened upon a book called Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard. In her delicious novel, Bard describes how she met her husband in Paris alongside a piquant discovery of French cuisine in all its glory; she takes you on a tour through open-air markets where she haggles over leeks and ripe tomatoes, to a steaming plate of swordfish tartare and pavé au poivre (steak cooked pink in peppercorns). I'm sure I'm not the only reader whose mouth was watering by the end of every chapter. Not only does Bard perfectly illuminate the world of delectable gourmet heaven, she provides the recipe for every dish at the end of each chapter. I promise, reading this book will, quite literally, change your culinary life, and possibly turn you into a foodie. So without further ado, I'll pass along some of the goodness that I discovered in Elizabeth Bard's book to you: a recipe of Vegetable Ratatouille.

 (This is not my photo. Sadly, none of mine ended up being presentable.)

 Vegetable Ratatouille

1/3 cup of olive oil
3 large to medium onions, thickly sliced
1 eggplant, cut into vertical chunks
3 sweet peppers; 1 red, 1 orange, 1 yellow
2 zucchini, quartered the long way cut into thirds
2 8 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme (trust me, spend the money and buy it fresh, not dried flakes. It's what gives it its flavor!)
2 good pinches of saffron
1 cube of sugar (or a scant teaspoon)

Warm the oil in your largest frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally until they're wilted and just beginning to color (about 10-20 mins). Add the peppers. Lower heat to maintain sizzle. Saute for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and fresh thyme. Heat until the saffron and sugar dissolve into the sauce. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Leave to cool.

 I served ours on a bed of rice (and a piece of chicken for my hubby) along with warm bread, bruschetta, and herbed olive oil.

It's an incredibly simple recipe and the taste is unlike anything I've ever tried. All you need is a really big saute pan and lots of hungry loved ones! Enjoy!

Elise :)

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