Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Art of "Fixing" a Recipe

Last night, I made ratatouille for the first time. I used a recipe in my new cookbook, The Illustrated Quick Cook, courtesy of the in laws (Christmas present) :o) Unfortunately...we weren't that impressed. Which is sad, because I've already made a good half-dozen awesome recipes from this book (and can't recommend it enough!)

Still, tonight when we had the leftovers we made a few changes.
Above are the veggies I used for the ratatouille. Note the two cloves of garlic, the parsley nestled between the zucchini, and on the far right, a giant leaf of Swiss Chard.
If you've never had Swiss Chard (as I hadn't, at least not before last night), here's a hint: it tastes like licorice. And personally, I hate the taste of licorice. I'm not talking Twizzlers, I'm talking true blue black licorice. Yuck.

And the two weeny little garlic cloves? Not nearly enough! Not to mention that the original recipe called for them to be "thinly sliced?" To that I say BOOOOO!

Needless to say, when reheating the ratatouille tonight I picked out as much of that Swiss Chard as I could find and replaced it with a generous handful of spinach. I also added two more cloves of garlic, minced rather than sliced. The parsley was added last when I first made this last night, as a sort of topping, and I personally didn't agree with that flavor mixed with the other flavors, so I left it out entirely. The recipe I'm going to post below reflects my changes, of course.

Also, I added cheese. Because everything is better with cheese. So without further ado...

Cheesy, Chunky Ratatouille!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
pinch of fennel seeds
1 eggplant, cut into chunks
1/2 cup dry red wine
2/3 cup tomato juice
2 small/medium zucchini, cut into chunks
3 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
large handful spinach leaves
salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere per person
Basmati rice to eat with the meal

-Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and bay leaf, season with salt and cook for about 5 minutes.
-Add the garlic, oregano, fennel seeds, eggplant and wine. Turn up the heat and let bubble for a minute, then add the tomato juice and lower heat to medium-low/medium and cook for about 10 minutes.
-Next, add the zucchini and chopped tomatoes and cook for about 7 minutes. Stir in the spinach and continue cooking for 10 more minutes until all the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
-Serve each person a pile of white rice, top with a generous helping of ratatouille and scatter 1/2 cup of shredded Gruyere over it.

Oh, and did I mention how much I love cooking with wine? ;o)

And with my couple little changes, this was an absolutely delicious meal...if I may say so myself. Pin It

1 comment:

  1. Yummm. I made ratatouille for the first time a couple of months ago after I read "French Women Don't Get Fat" and it was so BLAH! I tried again just going off of an amalgamation of recipe variations off of (fave recipe site) and my own instinct (which is how I cook anyway) and it was perfect. Well--perfect for me as an American gal who admittedly hasn't had much authentic French cuisine. My secret is lots of garlic and GOOD olive oil and I do it in my slow cooker. I pair mine with crusty baguettes. Bon appetit!