Monday, June 30, 2008

Recipes to Rival: Ratatouille

The Daring Bakers have been doing a lot of sweet challenges lately. My tastebuds love it, but not so much my waistline. A few people started talking about wanting to do savory challenges too, so Lori of Lipsmacking Goodness and Temperance of High on the Hog decided to found Recipes to Rival. Like the Daring Bakers, Recipes to Rival is a group of people cooking the same recipe to see how they turn out. The difference is that Recipes to Rival is going to be meals, while The Daring Bakers is, of course, baking. I love both groups, so I plan to do both each month. For more information, you can click on the link in the sidebar.

Our first challenge would make Remy proud. Remy who? The one and only rat of Ratatouille!!

That's right, we all chanted "Anyone can cook" and worked on figuring out how to find Japanese eggplant (never could, had to use baby eggplant) and slice the vegetables 1/16th of an inch thick [(went out to buy a mandoline) say it with me, "any excuse to buy a new kitchen toy"]. ;-)

Of course, you can't make ratatouille without watching Ratatouille, so I put the DVD in the DVD player and got to work (it takes longer to make the dish than to watch the movie, so I ended up playing it twice). One thing that I realized was that at the end of the movie, Remy makes this dish for Anton Ego. He only decides to make it as Mr. Ego arrives at the restaurant. Unless Anton Ego waited for 2½ hours for his meal, there is no way Remy could have done this in time...movies are just so unrealistic sometimes! I am so disappointed! ;-)

The recipe calls for peeled, diced tomatoes. I just opened up a can. I didn't read that part of the directions ahead of time and it was too late to do the tomatoes any other way.

Is it strange that I love to roast and peel peppers? I think it's so cool how they just slip right off the skin once roasted. I also love the smell. I love bell peppers. Bell peppers and vanilla beans, I wonder what I could do with that....

Anyway, slicing the vegetables wasn't too bad with the mandoline, except for the eggplant. I found that didn't slice very well with the mandoline, so I just used a knife for that.

Now, I can't figure out how to plate the ratatouille very prettily, but I must say this is the best vegetable dish I have ever had! We ate the whole thing the first night, then I made a double recipe again the next day since it was so delicious! I served this with a roll, and pork chops roasted with the other half of the peppers, onion, and some garlic. Lee actually asked to go vegetarian because of this dish...after just buying a bunch of meat on sale at the store...not sure how that's going to work out. We both just couldn't get enough of this fabulous dish!

I must say, I never would have made ratatouille if it wasn't for joining Recipes to Rival. I must also say that although it's time consuming, this isn't really a difficult dish to make, but it looks impressive and I can't imagine anyone not liking it. It is full of flavor!! It's the perfect complement to a roast dinner.

For the recipe, you can visit the Recipes to Rival page and also visit all the other dishes from other Rivalers. You can see more information about Ratatouille and how they made the food look so realistic by visiting the Revolution Health website.

Here are some pictures, I only have three of this challenge, so I didn't do a slideshow.

Yes, my lovely Emerilware stainless steel pans are oven safe and broiler safe, so I was able to follow the recipe and use a skillet to cook it in. Too bad my hands just can't seem to remember to put on mitts when I put skillets in the oven. For some reason I always remember to get mitts for baking sheets, roasting pans, etc...but not skillets! I'm just so used to the handles of skillets not getting hot, I don't think "hot oven=hot skillet" and just stick those hands right in!


Luckily, I've never burned my hands badly, just a bit red, no blisters. I'm now making myself get into the habit of putting the mitts on my hands before even opening the oven door.

Look at the thinness of the vegetables! The mandoline made them paper-thin!!

Thanks, Remy, for showing us that a peasant dish can be fine cuisine!


Made by Lena