Ratatouille: I know we ate it growing up but, dinner was dinner. I'd help out, set the table, maybe. But like most kids, I was much more interested in NSYNC and if Joey and Pacey were going to ever get together on Dawson's Creek, than on the ingredients in ratatouille. But, when my mom and I were going through recipes it looked like an easy, healthy, and vegetarian classic—so I was excited to learn.
My theme for this meal is dice dice dice—that is really all there is to it. Really fast and really easy. Seriously. Total meal time was about 30 min, 15 min prep time, 15 min cook time. AND really healthy!! Just an onion, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, red pepper, and 1 banana pepper (note: I'd never seen a banana pepper before. They are long and green just in case you hadn't either).
To start, I washed the veggies. Then, I seeded and sliced the red pepper and banana pepper (recipe says ½ inch dice mine were probably 1 inch and were fine) while Sara helped out by chopping the onion and the garlic (she's the best!) I put the sliced ingredients in a bowl and moved on to the tomatoes -- I'd never seeded a tomato before, it just means remove the guts of the tomato -- and the zucchini, then I peeled and diced the eggplant. With everything was sliced and diced and I felt like I was on a cooking show with all my bowls of ingredients!
I added the oil to the pan (recipe calls for a Dutch oven—I still don't even know what that is—I just used a big copper sauce pot and it worked great!), let the oil heat up and then added the onion, red pepper, banana pepper and garlic. I sautéd that, stirring occasionally, then added the tomato paste. FYI, it was really starting to smell amazing! Next I added the tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and oregano. I was slightly overwhelmed adding all of this at once—but it the veggies cook down and it's ok. The recipe says add water if necessary, I added ¼ cup of water. I also added some red pepper flakes for a little extra kick. I let this cook, on medium to high heat. I stirred pretty much the whole time—I didn't want the veggies to burn. I added salt and pepper, grated some Parmesan cheese, and enjoyed my delicious Ratatouille. I may even say that Anton Ego (the restaurant critic from the Disney movie Ratatouille) would have approved.