Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Now let's talk garlic. I can mince garlic so that it is so tiny it is almost ground. It is lovely. I learned it under Chef Clayton Nash. He taught me so much. But I watch today's cooking shows and it is all about smashing garlic with your knife, scraping it on the board, giving it a final chop and voila! perfect garlic.
This is what happens when I smash my garlic with my knife. It ends up everywhere including on my shoulder and on the floor. WHAT?!
So I gather it up and try to scrape it on the board until it is mush? Does this look like mush to you? I give up. I chop chop chop until it is the right size per my ancient technique and I then have perfect garlic.
I light my kitchen Buddha incense.
Here are the vegetables for this dish. There are a lot of zucchini because they are pathetically small. The recipe is from Jaques Pepin's cooking series "Fast Food My Way" and he uses of course very specific vegetables which are accessible to him because he is rich. He uses Japanese eggplant as well which are the long thin ones. He uses a pepper that is a long Italian pepper which I have never seen before. So I substitute everything with vegetables which are available in my local supermarket.
I begin by chopping two white onions in large pieces. Then I chop the zucchini in 3/4 inch pieces. You put these in a large pan with about 1/4 cup olive oil and begin to cook on medium heat.
Remember to look for labels and remove them before cutting and cooking. They add nothing to the taste of the dish nor the digestion if eaten. Chop the eggplant also into 3/4 inch pieces and add to the pot.
I added a 2 pound can of crushed tomatoes as I doubled the recipe from Jaques. I also bought a beautiful piece of London Broil steak and I took half of it and very thinly sliced it on the bias and then cut those pieces into bite-sized pieces and added them to the pot at this point. I have to get more meat into my diet so I try when it is possible. It is not really ratatouille but do we not most of the time revise recipes to our own taste?
I put in a large orange and yellow pepper. Cut off the top and bottoms. Slice into the pepper and rotate removing the ribs. Cut into 3/4 inch pieces and cut these in half. Also, make sure you have removed labels. Cut the tops and bottoms into pieces. Add to pot. Add a generous amount of salt and a large pinch of pepper.
This is what it looks like. Stir it all up and cover. Cook for about 30 to 40 minutes. You will see when it is ready. The vegetables will be very tender but not mushy. You will be able to taste each vegetable individually. The aroma will be rich.
I cooked up some Gemelli pasta. It is a long corkscrew shape that is not too thick and will marry well with the ratatouille. Ratatouille is normally served at room temperature on it's own. Jaques said it is also acceptable to serve it with pasta. I love that option. I also love that there is practically no clean up. You chop vegetables and put them right in the pot. You clean the cutting board and the knife. It's so perfect.
So, here we have it. Another meal for a week. You can eat it as it is. Or over pasta. Or with scraped cheese. With pasta and cheese. Over toast.