Tiffin Tuesday - putting the RAT in Ratatouille!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Posted by jokergirl@wererabbits

I can't wait to see Ratatouille! It's not out in here Sweden yet, sadly. But it has rats AND cooking so it's already a hit with me!

The thermos container holds homemade ratatouille with eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper and champignon mushrooms, and the side container has grapes, wholewheat toast with cheese and a toast crust, bell pepper, nori and carrot Remy. (Dang. I forgot to add his tail! >.<;)

Boring vegetables? Not me. I took the advice about five portions a day to heart and now feel odd if I can't have vegetables with a meal!
I also enjoy the thermal container a lot. Bringing stews is no problem! Ratatouille has a reputation for retaining heat well, so it's ideal food to pack and bring on a hike or a day trip.

There are probably as many ratatouille recipes as there are cooks, but this one is my favourite. It can be stretched and varied depending on what's in the house, but is always nummy!
I am of the opinion that my secret is the Dijon mustard, but try for yourself.

Basic ingredients:
1-2Tsp. Olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1-2 bell peppers (I prefer yellow, or hungarian white), sliced
1 medium-sized zucchini, diced
1 medium-sized eggplant, diced and salted
1-2 cloves of garlic, roughly diced
1 can/pack of peeled crushed tomatoes
French herbs (or at least pizza spices)
Salt, pepper, Dijon mustard, reduced tomato paste

Everything else is optional. I add mushrooms if I have them, or roast some potatoes with the onions and cook them in the broth. Or beans, or pasta... I also usually add a bit of chili to the oil to add spice. As liquid I normally just use very little water, but if you have vegetable broth or wine (red or white doesn't matter... really!) feel free to add it for even more taste.

The main principle of a good ratatouille is to judge when to add which vegetable so they are all cooked to perfection when the stew is done.
Start with the onions and garlic (and chili), and cook them in some olive oil until they are starting to become glazed. Then add the bell peppers, then the eggplant. If you have potatoes or something else slow cooking, add it now too. Cook everything in the olive oil, then add water (or wine, or broth, or...) but only so the veggies are just-quite-not covered. Add a spoonful or two of Dijon mustard, some salt and pepper and upend a bottle of french herbs in the stew. Yes, really :) I add several tablespoons now and usually a bit more when more liquid is added.
Boil on medium heat, adding more water only when absolutely necessary.
Add the mushrooms a little after adding the water, etc. etc. When the eggplant looks cooked (check that everything slow cooking is mostly cooked through now), add the crushed tomatoes and the zucchini and bring to a boil again. Taste and add more herbs, salt, pepper, sugar... now. If the sauce is too liquid, bind it with reduced tomato paste from a tube. When the sauce has boiled and reduced a little the zucchini will be perfectly cooked!

Now the stew is technically ready to serve, and if you can't stand waiting any longer, do that now. However, it will taste even better if you take it off the heat and let it stand for some 10 minutes. Also, then it won't feel like liquid napalm on your tongue... the stuff retains heat incredibly well!
Serve with fresh herbs and baguette, and a spoon of sourcream if you feel like it.

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: blogmeeta@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

This Post was written by jokergirl from Were Rabbits.


Mmmm - delicious and that RAT of yours is a work of art! Please teach me.

September 25, 2007 at 8:10:00 PM GMT+2  

That is the most adorable rat EVER!
And I so agree: once you get into the habit of eating veggies, a meal seems incomplete without them.

Nupur said...
September 25, 2007 at 9:15:00 PM GMT+2  

That rat is sure to bring a smile to anyone's face. Veggies are so much fun if someone fed me like this :)

Suganya said...
September 26, 2007 at 2:12:00 AM GMT+2  

Thats a fantastic rat you created there...very nice...the dish looks wonderful...I saw Ratatouille the movie and it was just too good...loved the entire movie and enjoyed every moment...its sure a must watch movie...

Srivalli said...
September 26, 2007 at 8:15:00 AM GMT+2  

that sure is a cute rat, and i am sure the movie is terrific, nice recipe too

bindiya said...
September 26, 2007 at 2:23:00 PM GMT+2  

Yeah i love ratatoulie, minuzs the RAT :-)))
But your rat look wonderfull.
Here the movies is out but didn't go for watching them, guess i will see it when it is in DVD

Happy cook said...
September 26, 2007 at 2:36:00 PM GMT+2  

Absolutely gorgeous - I love the rat and the idea! JG I know I say this always but your ideas rock! I am sure these "little" creations encourage kids of all ages to enjoy such healthy meals - without missing the meat.

Meeta said...
September 26, 2007 at 2:40:00 PM GMT+2  

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