Saturday, July 28, 2007

Cornmeal and eggplant...

...two things Chris abhors. I suppose everyone has things they just don't like eating - I hate bananas and organ meats, for instance - but I do so adore cornmeal in all of its incarnations and it's tough to live without cornbread alongside chili, or cornmeal pancakes on chilly winter mornings. He'll eat tortilla chips, fortunately, but nothing else. Eggplant, he just plain hates, but that I can understand - it's only good if cooked certain ways, in my opinion. So I suffer in silence.

Until he goes out for dinner without me, which he did tonight. I seized the opportunity to kill two birds with one bowl, and made not just polenta, but ratatouille to put on top of it. Ratatouille is one of the easiest things to make but looks really complicated, which might be one of the reasons why I like it so much. Also, it has so many delicious vegetables in it, and it looks pretty.

See? (Yes, I know this is blurry. My regular photographer was out with a bachelor party.)

I burned my finger whilst cooking the polenta, but I think it was worth it. I stirred in a bit of butter at the end and then a bunch of grated Grana Padano cheese, which gave it a delightful flavour (though the melted cheese did stick to my teeth as I was eating). Topped with a big pile of delectable vegetable stew, it was a comforting meal at the end of a long and tiring day. It did make me sweaty, because it's warm outside, but I did not care. It was delicious, and I have leftovers that le Monsieur will not go near. More for me, I say!

Quick and easy Ratatouille

1/2 large Vidalia onion, chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 Chinese eggplant, chopped into 1/2" chunks
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/4" slices
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped into 1/2" chunks
1 28ox can diced tomatoes with juice
2 tsp Herbes de Provence

In a large stockpot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add pepper and stir. Cook for two minutes, then add eggplant. Cook two minutes, then add zucchini. Cook two more minutes, stirring, then add Herbes and tomatoes with juice. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft but still retain some bite. Serve over soft polenta with cheese.

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