Monday, November 8, 2010

Seasonal Ingredients

Hello world, I have returned!

I know, its been a while, right? Well, rest assured, I have not stopped cooking and coming up with dishes to share. Tonight's meal had a little to do with a movie and a lot to do with veggies that are in season: Ratatouille.

Before I dive into how I prepared it I'll give you a brief history on what ratatouille is, just incase you aren't familiar with the dish.

Ratatouille is traditionally a French peasant dish made with zucchini, squash, eggplant, tomato, and sometimes onion and green pepper sliced and layered, then cooked in a stock.  These were pretty easy ingredients to come by so it didn't cost much for people to make this.  I guess I tend to look at it as "French soul food", considering their similar origins.

First off, let me say that I love these ingredients and the season that brings them about.  I can honestly say that I've been looking forward to making this for a while and I'm not ashamed to admit that it reminds me of the movie "Ratatouille" almost everytime I think about it.  I mean, its an excellent movie, especially for anybody with a passion for cooking...but I digress.

I persoanlly think that the "wow" factor of ratatouille comes in with the layering of the vegetable slices.  each of the colors just compliment each other and really makes it stand out on the plate.  Aside from the layering of the ingredients, the change that I personally made to the recipe was to sautee the aromatics (rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, lavender, onion, garlic, salt and pepper) in a little butter before adding chicken stock to the sauce pan.  After I let the stock simmer a bit, I added in some tomato paste and poured it over the layered veggies, covered the dish and then let it bake for about 30 minutes.

I paired this with a roasted chicken breast, which is an obvious favorite in my house and made a white truffle pan sauce to go with the chicken using white truffle oil, truffle salt, pepper, heavy cream, chicken stock, onions and garlic. I deglazed the pan I roasted the chicken in with the chicken stock, and added the rest of the ingredients and let the sauce reduce until I was satisfied with the results.

So, all in all, dinner was great and I'll definitely be making ratatouille again before the season is over with.  I'll also be sure to have more frequent posts with some of the other things I've come up with since my last update.

Thanks for reading & enjoy!