Monday, September 24, 2007

Summer Garden Ratatouille & Polenta

Two nights ago, c-licious and I consulted her very lovely Simply in Season for some dinner inspiration. And we found it: Summer Garden Ratatouille. We took some liberties with the recipe, of course, doubling the fresh herbs. The result was pretty delightful: evidenced by the fact that I'm actually enjoying my leftover lunches this week!


When Catherine and I set out for groceries, I wasn't feeling all that hungry. Under advice from Kristin, we bought some Prosecco because, according to her, bubbly stimulates the appetite. The three of us made quick work of that bottle. So quick, in fact, I didn't get the chance to photograph it.

We bravely forged ahead by opening a bottle of one Kristin's California acquistitions: a Bogle Petite Sirah. I really loved it. I also loved another Bogle red we drank straight from the bottle on our California roadtrip. Wish I could remember what it was. Anyhow, a winery to remember, I think.

Summer Garden Ratatouille

I don't have the recipe in front of me here, so I'm going on memory alone. But here it is roughly (incuding our modifications).
  • 1.5 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 Japanese eggplants, cut into half moons
We sauteed the first three ingredients together, and later added the eggplants.

Then we added:
  • 4 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons dried marjoram (we could find fresh)
  • 2 acorn squash, peeled and chopped
  • 3 red and yellow peppers, chopped
  • 8 cups BC hothouse tomatoes, peeled and chopped
(Everybody probably already has a method, but my favourite technique for peeling tomatoes is boil water in a kettle, and submerge the little fruiters in boiling water for one minute.)

All those ingredients required a very large pot. We let it simmer until the water from the tomatoes reduced. Maybe about 20 minutes.


We served the ratatouille with polenta, which is so easy to make.
  • 4 cups of veggie stock
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • 1 cup parmesan
Bring the stock to a boil and turn down the heat a little. Very gradually add the cornmeal, stirring constantly. Stir continuously for 15 minutes while the cornmeal simmers and thickens. Watch for exploding cornmeal lava.

Remove from the heat and stir in parmesan. Serve immediately because it turns to cement before you can shake a stick.

We were more than pleased with the outcome (see the photo below), and when asked for a quote, Kristin simply said, "A harmonious blend of taste and texture." She's getting good at this quote thing.


c-licious said...

How delish does that all look (and I don't just mean me)! And great memory, Claire, you nailed the recipe.

I also enjoyed the leftovers this week, as did my fortunate after-church, last-minute lunch guests. I DO have to say that the ratatouille is AMAZING on the polenta and only "quite good" on rice. My guests ended up using the salt shaker a lot when I dolloped the ratatouille on rice, which wasn't necessary with the polenta.

claire said...

Yeah, polenta is definitely a key part of the dinner. Sooo, yummy and easy. I'll never buy that polenta tube stuff again!