With fond memories of one of my favourite places on Earth—Provence in the South of France—I prepare this week’s Special Dish for the Week somewhat early (on Friday) as my weekend is all set aside for a Writing Retreat with the Just Write Vancouver Meetup group:
Seizing the moment of the ending summer, while produce is still fresh and vibrant, I roam within my memories of my travels in Provence, and decide on making the colourful, nutritious comforting ratatouille.
Loosely following a recipe, I begin by peeling, grating, slicing and dicing some garlic, ginger, onion and red pepper. These I sautée, till soft, then browned, in generous amounts of cold pressed virgin olive oil. I add some chopped cilantro stems to enrich the base flavour (and to think: I used to throw the stems out!). Plus some slices of red spur chili for a little added spice.
Meanwhile, I coarsely chop vine ripened tomatoes, and let them stew with the base ingredients.
Next is coarse dicing of zucchini—or courgette—and two varieties of eggplant—or aubergine—the deep purple American globe type and the lighter purple Chinese type, which is said to be less bitter.
The diced zucchini and eggplant go into the already-stewing pot with more cilantro, fresh basil from my herb garden, thyme, pepper, and some salt. I began using a bit more sea salt in my cooking in an attempt to increase my magnesium intake to help with my relentless nightly leg cramps. Sadly, it is not working—yet!
I let all the veggies cook—covered, to soften, releasing and intermingling their plentiful juices—for about 1/2 hr.
For protein and carbohydrate sources, I separately cook some jasmine brown rice and some red lentils. These I layer when serving, and place the ratatouille on top, with some cilantro garnish.
I serve out the portions into several pyrex-style glass containers for my packed work lunches for the following week. Naturally, I taste-test the dish as it cooks, and it is definitely a good one. It is less spicy and more earthy than the last several dishes I made in this Special Dish for the Week series.
Meal ideas & recipes from http://norecipes.com/blog/ratatouille-recipe/