Ratatouille

IMG_1505Ratatouille.  Simply a stewed French vegetable dish.  Such a wonderfully simply yet flavourful recipe.  The key to this dish?  Fresh, local vegetables.

The flavours of the vegetable ingredients are the essential flavours in this dish. I’ve been indulging in local, organic food boxes all throughout this summer.  I’ve finally got my favourite vegetables all in one box….zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant.  Love it.

Ever seen the movie, by the way?  It’s charming.  And will make you want to make ratatouille. Moral of the story…the cook wins over a famous food critic with a traditional French peasant dish.  What a wonderful lesson in cooking simply.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgiK-HWKPjw

There are a lot of different ways to cook this dish.  I prefer it to be simple and I make it without milk ingredients….just vegetables, herbs and spices.  Delicious.

IMG_1527Ingredients:

Start with the freshest ingredients

  • Olive or grape seed oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Zucchini, sliced
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Oregano and basil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Chop the onions, eggplant and add to hot pan with a couple tablespoons of oil.  Cook down for about 5 minutes or until starting to become translucent and tender.  Add garlic, season with fresh or dried oregano & basil, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Lightly grease the bottom of a casserole dish with oil.  Add the cooked eggplant and onion mixture to the casserole dish.
  4. Thinly slice zucchini and layer over top of the eggplant mixture.  Sprinkle with oregano, basil, salt and pepper.

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5. Thinly slice tomatoes and layer over top of the zucchini.  Sprinkle again with basil, oregano, salt and pepper.

IMG_15145. Bake covered, in preheated over for 45-60 minutes or until vegetables look tender and done.

IMG_15296. Serve with hot steamed brown rice or toasted hearty bread. You may season with Parmesan cheese or your favourite sharp cheese.  I served this with crumbled toasted pecans to make it vegan.  Delicious.

Who says delicious food has to be fancy?  🙂

Walnut Pesto

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I need to do a pesto recipe before the end of summer….sob.  The leaves have started to turn already in Northern BC and it’s making me half sad and half excited for autumn vegetables and fruits!

Throughout the summer I’ve been getting local food boxes that are filled with all sorts of local goodies.  I do a fist pump when I get a big bag of basil!  I LOVE local food and I LOVE pesto.  It’s chocked full of flavour and adds pizzazz to tons of different foods.  Or you could just eat it with a spoon.  We may have done that…..ahem…

Pesto is usually made with pine nuts…but pine nuts are expensive!  So a nice alternative that you probably have in your pantry already are walnuts!

Pesto can be whipped up in your food processor in about 3 minutes.  Grab some basil and zip up some today!

My neighbor has a big pot of it on her deck – I’m going to swap her some tomorrow for rosemary from my planter and slather it to some lentil patties.  Yay for neighbours!

Ingredients:

1 cup washed packed basil (really pack it in)

1/4 cup walnuts

1/4 cup good quality olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Dash teaspoon salt

Dash of freshly ground pepper

Directions:

1. Chop up garlic, add to food processor.  Wash basil, remove stems and add into food processor.

2. Add remaining ingredients.  Process until smooth.

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