Follow me through the adventures that take place in my kitchen, in restaurants or in other kitchens. Cooking and food are my passions and I want to share my experiences of cooking, baking and eating with you.
I'm a Greek self-taught cook who lives in Chicago. I learned a lot about cooking from both of my grandmothers, my mom and dad, family and friends. Passing on timeless traditions through food is one thing I strive to do in life.
These are my journeys through culinary exploration...
clraptis (at) gmail (dot) com
Ratatouille is such an easy thing to throw together. I love Rachael Ray’s ‘Week in a Day’ show because it’s just the way I like to cook for the upcoming work week. Sunday has become my day in the kitchen - especially with football season upon us and the cold weather coming soon. I go to the store early in the morning before it gets crowded and cook all day for the upcoming week. I can take the chance to make my brown-bag lunches to take to work Mon-Fri AND make a couple dishes for dinner during the week so I have options for that meal and don’t have to spend a lot of time cooking after a long day at work.
A big pot of veggie stew would make for a great portioned out treat to take into the office for lunch. Plus there was tons extra that I threw in the freezer for a rainy day when I don’t feel like cooking (which isn’t that often).
I cut out some steps from RR’s recipe, like making the garlic croutons and poaching the eggs… although when I ate it one night for dinner I definitely made poached up some eggs to add that burst of needed protein. I also reduced the amount of rosemary because the sprigs I had were nice and plump. It’s a great herb to add, but too much can be offputtingly overpowering. Here’s the recipe, enjoy!!
Ingredients: 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced Salt 1 1/2 pounds eggplant, 1/2-inch dice 2 red bell peppers 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 pound firm, small zucchini, 1/2-inch dice 2 medium onion, 1/2-inch dice 1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped Freshly ground black pepper 1 (28 oz.) can San Marzano tomatoes for sweeter stew, or diced fire roasted tomatoes, for smokier stew 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar 4 extra-large or jumbo eggs A handful fresh basil leaves, torn
Directions: Salt the eggplant and drain it in a colander for about 30 minutes to remove the bitterness from the eggplant.
Meanwhile, blacken the skins of the red peppers over open flame on the stove or under a hot boiler. If broiling, leave the oven ajar to allow the steam to escape. Put the blackened peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool. Peel, seed and dice the peppers.
While peppers cool, heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat with extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Add the eggplant, zucchini, garlic, onions, rosemary and 1 teaspoon of herbes de provence or dried thyme.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste, then cover the pot and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes. Stir in the red peppers and 1/2 tomato-can of water and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes to concentrate the flavors. Cool and store for a make-ahead meal.
To serve, bring the ratatouille back to a simmer over medium heat, covered, then uncover and stir in the balsamic vinegar. Make 4 nests or wells in the ratatouille and crack an egg into each nest. Cover the pot and cook the eggs to desired doneness, about 2 to 5 minutes. Scoop the ratatouille and eggs into shallow bowls and top with croutons and torn basil.