Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ratatouille for Isaac.

I love the movie Ratatouille. From the first time I watched the movie with my kids it was an instant favorite. Rarely, very rarely does a kids movie fall into my 'favorite' category. Isaac likes it too and asked if I could help him make ratatouille. We scoured the Internet and found a recipe we thought we could handle together and made a trip to the market for all things vegetables. (There are many different recipes for Ratatouille, I just went with something simple since I was going to have a 6 and 4 year old helpers.)

The first step: Take one each red, yellow and orange pepper. Cut off the stem part, and the inside ribs and seeds. Turn them upside down on a greased foiled baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes at 450.
Meanwhile, give your kids some kid friendly butter knives and let them whack at the tops of the peppers you just cut off.
Then give your youngest one a Slap Chopper (no I did not buy it) and let her slap away until you've chopped up 1/2 cup of onions.
In a large skillet pour 2 tbs of olive oil, 1 tsp minced garlic and the onion to heat until everything is soft but NOT browned, about 8-10 minutes.

Then add in 12 oz of tomatoes, be it fresh or canned. Just make sure the tomatoes are peeled, seeded and diced pretty small. Yes, it's easier and quicker to just go for the canned tomatoes at this point. :) Add in 1 sprig thyme, 1 sprig flat-leaf parsley, and 1/2 a bay leaf. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes or until there is very little juice left. Take the bay leaf out.

Your peppers should be finished roasting by now. Take them out of the oven and let them sit a few minutes to cool. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel the skin from each one.
Then chop.

Then add to the skillet with the tomato mixture and let this simmer a few more minutes. Don't forget to let your Ratatouille instigator stir while making a goofy face for the camera. It's highly important to the recipe.
In between all this simmering and cooling and peeling, slice 1 zucchini, 1 Japanese eggplant, and 1 yellow squash.
Pour your pepper, tomato mixture into the bottom of a 8x8 pan or if your skillet can handle oven heat just leave the mixture in the pan. Arrange your veggie slices over the pepper, tomato mixture to look something kinda like this. You may not use all your sliced veggies just make sure it's some what uniform and covers the pepper, tomato mixture beneath. Cover with foil and cook for 2 hours at 275 degrees.

Then uncover it and bake for another 30 minutes, but make sure not to brown it.  I set aside some of the pepper, tomato mixture for a vinaigrette but decide to not put forth the effor after this long, chopping, and peeling recipe. So I just sprinkled them on top.

I'm a fan of vegetables, a big fan, but this was almost too sweet. I'm not sure if I should blame the peppers or the tomatos but it was a really sweet dish. The veggies were good together and everything came out nice and soft and tasty. I, however, will not make this recipe of Ratatouille again.
Oh, what did Isaac have to say about it? He was upset that I couldn't get his serving to swirl in a circle like the did in the movie, but he did try a bite. "Not bad." He said while nodding, then politely put his fork back on the plate and pushed his plate aside. A polite thumbs down.

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