Wednesday, January 7, 2009


It's just a fun word to say. When we're eating ratatouille for dinner, the evening is anything but ordinary. In fact, since the recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of red wine (leaving us to dispose of the rest of the bottle...) things are liable to get downright goofy.

I love recipes that call for wine. It adds a lovely depth of flavor to the food, but also there's the treat of drinking the rest, guilt-free. Once you've opened that beautiful, sleek, 750 mL bottle, well, you don't want it to go bad, now, do you? That would be criminal. Better to just fill 'er up, and drink, and meditate on the wonders of fermented grapes.

Here's our recipe. Enjoy!


1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 small eggplant, cubed
1 cup tomato juice
1 medium zucchini, sliced
2 bell peppers (one red and one green are nice), diced
3 tomatoes, cubed, or 1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp hearty red wine
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
fresh parmesan cheese

First, heat the oil in a large saucepan. Throw in the onion, garlic, bay leaf, and herbs. Saute until the onion begins to get translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the eggplant and tomato juice. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Then add the zucchini and peppers, and continue to cook, sans lid, for another 10-15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and wine. Continue to cook as you adjust the seasonings: salt, pepper, another splash of wine, a sprinkle of cayenne if it needs some pep. Right before serving, stir in the parsley. Serve over your choice of carbohydrate-- quinoa, cous cous, pasta, bread, rice-- with cheese on top.

When we cooked last night, we were able to employ our frozen eggplant, peppers, and parsley, canned tomatoes and tomato juice, and onions from our 50-pound bag hanging from the basement rafters. They are keeping perfectly well. The whole bag, which we'll certainly empty before spring, cost $8.

This might be as good a time as ever to reflect on the canning and food storage frenzy of 2008. Early in the New Year, everyone else is reflecting on something, so for me it might as well be this. Here's my Resolutions of 2009:

1. Winter squash, though it keeps like Egyptian royalty, is an easy vegetable to get sick of. (Note: there are still over 20 squashes in our cellar, and we are sick, sick, sick of squash.)

2. Canned roasted red peppers and homemade vegetable stock are awesome, wonderful, things.

3. The 27 quarts of canned whole tomatoes were not overkill.

4. The 65 pounds of apples were not overkill. Gasp! I've been making weekly batches of applesauce, and the Macoun apples I picked are still shiny and crisp.

5. The 50 pounds of carrots, the eight cabbages, and the thirty pounds of beets emphatically were overkill.

6. I need a bigger freezer.

We'll see if I have the time next year. I hope that I do. I almost miss it, as strange as that may sound. Okay, I miss the virtuous feeling, and the industriousness. I don't miss the fruit flies, or the sixteen layers of overspilled jam on my cooktop. Sigh. This year is going to bring a good many changes. Yesterday, I had a job interview. My new challenge will be finding creative and blogworthy things to do with my (soon to be limited) time. I don't think it'll be too hard. In some ways, too, it'll make me value my creative time all the more. Here's to this new year, whatever it brings me.


Anonymous said...

One of my favorites. Sounds delicious.

Kami said...

Good luck with the job hunt! Have you ever considered writing? I think your thoughts are fabulous, and your writing is both funny and adjective skills are obviously not. Anyway, just a thought. I think you have a real, untapped talent for it. Maybe even just see about getting paid for your blog (though ads). It's good!

Kami said...

That was supposed to be "through ads"

karenjane said...

ive so wondered what ratatoullie was ever since seing the movie (you know, the cute cartoon with the rat) im deffinately gona have to try this recipe, thankyou for sharing:)

Kristina said...

You are most welcome! It seems like tragic oversight that the definition of ratatouille wasn't included in the movie.

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