Monday, September 7, 2009

pretend ratatouille

Level of difficulty: I'm guessing most people wouldn't find this hard, except that it takes a long time to cook the eggplant. And you have to roast the peppers ahead of time. If it's any consolation, I use raw tomatoes in this recipe. So THAT'S one less thing to cook. But yeah - possibly not for the ADD among us.

So this isn't even real ratatouille. And man, is that hard to spell. Even with eight years of French classes.

Classic ratatouille is a stew-like dish with eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and stuff. Which is all more-or-less in this recipe. But I wasn't really thinking I was making ratatouille when I was cooking it. More like I'd just bought some eggplants from the farmer's market, and wanted a good way to eat them.

I got two eggplants for $1 at the farmer's market. Here's my cat Tear with the eggplants. He and his brother, Guy, have recently learned how to jump up on my kitchen counter. I am so delighted.

After taking the boys off the counter several times, I kind of gave up. Cat hair is bound to become a new favorite seasoning of mine. Fair warning, if you ever come over for dinner.

The cats seem to prefer my food on the floor, too. I was a little too busy taking pictures of roasting peppers to prevent this.

Lying in wait on the other side of the sink for their next opportunity.

So anyhow... slice the eggplant into 3/4 inch rounds, then dice it. Some people do fancy things to their eggplant after cutting it and before cooking it. I don't even want to know about that. I don't do fancy things to my eggplant, and it always tastes fine.

Yes, this is the same zucchini that was on the floor moments ago. Look - I washed it. Also: It was the only zucchini I had. Sue me.

The chopped vegetables.

I made this recipe all out of order. You should really chop the onions first. Here are some nice Spanish onions that I also got from the farmer's market - six for $4. (The zucchini was from my parents' garden, BTW. It cost me zero monies.)

Chop the onion.

Meanwhile, still trying to thwart the cats, I tried putting a frying pan on the their only access to the kitchen counter. As you can see from the kitty butt in the lower right-hand corner, the pan wasn't much of a deterrent.

Baby Guy watching for another "really piss Michelle off" opportunity.

Fry the onion in olive oil. Here's my favorite brand of olive oil. It used to be the cheapest, which was awesome because I also thought it was the best-tasting. It's gone up in price since then. Not so awesome.

Saute the onions until they look kind of like this.

Add the chopped eggplant and zucchini. I chopped way too much eggplant and zucchini. Had to saute it in two batches. This is the part that takes the longest time. Like, much longer than it should. I'm betting it took more than 20 minutes for each batch of eggplant to cook. You know it's cooked when it's all soft and brown. I neglected to take a photo of that part. My bad. When you're done cooking the eggplant, BTW, if you're feeling really frugal, you could deglaze the pan and use the yummy eggplant and onion flavouring in other dishes. If you wanted.

Take the eggplant off the heat and add some roasted peppers. ADD Tip: Roast the peppers before even thinking of starting the eggplant. Just saying.

Add salt to taste.

Here's what the cooked eggplant and peppers look like.

Add some chopped, raw tomatoes, and you too can eat something this festive-looking.

Cost per serving: Let's see... $0.67 for the onion, $1 for the eggplant, $0 for the zucchini, $0 for the tomatoes (also from Mom and Dad's garden)... This recipe makes a lot - it would probably feed at least four people. So that makes... $0.42/serving. Holy crap! That's, like, hardly anything! You could SO pay 10 bucks for this stuff (minus the cat hairs, admittedly) in a French restaurant...

The End.


  1. I called my pretend ratatouille "rat stew," 'cause a) half the time I couldn't spell ratatatatooey correctly and b) "rat stew" made me laugh.

  2. Nice post - ratatouille pictures ..Keep Posting

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