Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Simple Ratatouille and Clutter

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to de-clutter my life, more posts coming about that soon, cause, you see, I’m a bit of a hoarder, not in the crazy, can’t walk around my house because of all the old toilet paper rolls sense, but I do have a hard time throwing stuff away. What does this have to do with a vegetable dish? Well, part of what I’ve been “hoarding” lately is food, and consequently, fat. So, forgive the mental leap here, but, as I said, I’ve decided to de-clutter my whole life, not just my house and belongings therefore I’m de-cluttering my body too. I don’t want to call it a diet, because when I try to “diet” I usually end up gaining a few kilos (just from being contrary by nature…). Let’s just say I’m embarking on a food voyage to try and eat as much as I want of the good stuff and way less of the crap and we’ll see where we go from here. I had this for lunch today, and though it's not necessarily a "cookbook" dish, sometimes we forget the simple dishes and simple is what I blog about when it comes to food! So, this is an easy, yummy, guilt-free dish, because though I don’t have a clue about whether it’s low-calorie or not, I do know that no one’s ever become fat from eating too many vegetables!

This is what you need:
Makes 6-8 cups - prep time 15min – cooking time 20 – 30min
2 carrots
3 large zucchini
1 large eggplant
2 peppers (I like to use 1 yellow and 1 red, but you can do whatever, just not green cause it throws off the taste)
1 cup (3tbs or 50 grams) black olives (I like kalamata olives cause they’re tastier, pitted, cause it’s easier.)
1 can tomatoes or 6 large, fresh tomatoes deseeded.
1 onion, diced
2 small anchovy filets or 1tbs anchovy paste
1tbs capers (optional)
Olive oil, salt, chilis or red pepper flakes, 1tbs minced parsley, 1 tsp sugar, salt to taste.

This is what you do:
Cut all your vegetables in largish pieces – I like to cut the zucchini lengthwise twice (to get four strips) and then in half-inch – 1 generous centimeter - slices, the carrot in the same width slices etc so the pieces aren’t too small cause it needs to cook a good twenty minutes without the vegetables getting overcooked and mushy.
Dice the onion and roughly cut up the anchovy filets and the olives.
Heat the oil in a large, ideally non-stick, pan and sauté the onions and anchovies and chilis if you use them – I make a bland version so my kids can eat it too. Add in the vegetables, in this order: carrots, peppers, zucchini and eggplant (this way the harder veggies go in first, since they take longer to cook).
Let it simmer for a few minutes, then add the olives, mix it around nicely, and then the tomatoes and capers (if using).
Salt to taste and add sugar (or ½ tsp baking soda), it cuts the acidity of the tomatoes and gives it a mildly sweet taste that I seem to always find when eating ratatouille. Add the parsley.
Let it cook, covered on low heat. Test your carrots before taking it off the heat, if they’re softish (just don’t let them get to the falling apart stage) then you can declare the dish done. Also, if about 20 minutes in, it looks too watery or soupy, cook uncovered for a few minutes to dry it up a bit.
It’s yummy as a side or main dish, I had it for lunch today with a cup of white basmati rice. Now if only I could lay off those m&ms!

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely adore the concept of eating as much as you like of the healthy stuff and less crap...that is a much more inspiring attitude than the idea of dieting. It is not about weight, but about putting healthier things into your body and as a result you DO lose weight.