fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective

It’s a Sunday morning and raining. It’s been ages I cooked with my fellows in One Globe • One Meal • One Day & Many Cooks. This weekend theme has been Ratatouille. Perfect! I can kill two birds with one stone – to participate in the event, and having a new post on my blog.

For those who haven’t had a chance to see this beautiful animated film. RATATOUILLE by Brad Bird & Jan Pinkava (USA, 2007) is about a rat Rémy who longs to follow in the footsteps of his hero, the late Chef Auguste Gusteau — at one time considered to be the greatest chef in Paris. After discovering an unusual way through which Rémy can control the actions of the hapless Linguini, who was working as a garbage boy in the kitchen of Gusteau’s restaurant at the time, he is given the ultimate opportunity to show the world what he can do.

Ratatouille is often cooked like a stew, with all the ingredients prepared together. Of course it takes longer to cook them separately, but it allows each ingredient to keep its own character. This tasty mixture of vegetables is better served warm than hot. In the summer time, it’s great as a cold main-course dish, too. Ratatouille is good served with couscous, rice or just fresh baguette. I went for quinoa which I have never cooked before. Quinoa, a species from goosfoot, is protein-rich, low-fat and gluten-free and makes a nutritious change from rice or pasta. For a twist on the classic recipe, I added a splash of balsamico to the tomato base and turn it into a savoury pie. The balsamico in its sweetness defines the flavour of the tomatoes.

mitzi's foodoo

Mustafa: [taking Ego’s order] Do you know what you’d like this evening, sir?

Anton Ego: Yes, I think I do. After reading a lot of overheated puffery about your new cook, you know what I’m craving? A little perspective. That’s it. I’d like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective.Can you suggest a good wine to go with that?

Mustafa: With what, sir?

Anton Ego: Perspective. Fresh out, I take it?

Mustafa: I am, uh…

Anton Ego: Very well. Since you’re all out of perspective and no one else seems to have it in this bloody town, I’ll make you a deal. You provide the food, I’ll provide the perspective, which would go nicely with a bottle of Cheval Blanc 1947.

Mustafa: I’m afraid… your dinner selection?

Anton Ego: [stands up angrily] Tell your chef Linguini that I want whatever he dares to serve me. Tell him to hit me with his best shot.

mitzi's foodoo

Ingredients (4 portions): 2 onions, sliced / 4 tbsp olive oil / 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced / 2 small aubergines or 1 big one, thickly sliced / 2 courgettes, thickly sliced / 2 red or yellow peppers, seeded and quartered / 4 plum tomatoes, peeled & sliced / 1 tbsp herbs de Provence / 1 chilli, chopped (optional) / 1 tbsp balsamico (optional) / 4 basil leaves to season & decorate / For the quinoa: 1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package instructions / bunch of parsley leaves / juice from 1(-1,5) lemon / salt & freshly ground black pepper to season

Preparation method:

  1. Place the aubergine and courgette to a sieve and toss with salt. Let stand for 30 mins.
  2. In meanwhile peel the tomatoes by blanching. Follow steps in this video.

    mitzi's foodoo

  3. In a pan fry the onions in the olive oil until they are soft, add the garlic & chilli and cook until soft. Add the tomatoes, herbs de Provence and balsamico. Set aside.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  5. Drain the aubergine and courgette, and dry each slice in a towel. This step is important, and prevents you to get burn by the hot oil, so don’t skip it.
  6. In a pan fry each of the vegetables separately, adding more oil if necessary, until golden brown.

    mitzi's foodoo

  7. Remove to a baking dish followed by the tomatoes on top, seasoning with salt, and black pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes until soft and tender.
  8. In meanwhile stir the quinoa with the parsley, season with the lemon juice and black pepper.
  9. Serve the ratatouille on the quinoa.

And the result were the beautiful and warm words by one of the most respected critics Anton Ego: „In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new friends. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto: ‚Anyone can cook.‘ But I realize only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.“

9 Responses to “fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective”
  1. WOW Your best post so far (Yes I’m a huuuuge fan of the dish & the movie 😉 )!!!!! Did you see my 2nd blogpost ever btw? I loooove quinoa, only ate it once & never made it myself yet so thx for your tips. I still haven’t made the rattatouille Remi’s style yet.

    • thank you! well, if you want to do it properly and prepare each of the vegetables (technically fruits), it’s really time consuming. but the result is “heaven in mouth”… 😉 i also liked the combination with quinoa. it reminded me polenta a little bit. i can imagine it with grated parmesan in it as well, kind of quinoa risotto…

      • I’m also a huge fan of polenta…. YES you got it, I’m a huge fan of anything good 😉

        Just got an email/newsletter from our national book/dvd/etc supplier; 2 Disney DVD’s for the price of one! Woohoo I want to own Ratatouille, going to check the prices & terms now!

      • MC says:

        i love ratatouille, love quinoa. It’s a lot of wor if you want to doit properly but the taste is woth it! First time i cooked it i was expecting guests and i wanted to do something quickly but i never made it to the lunch time 🙂 b.t.w. This weekend i discovered Amaranth which is simmilar to quinoa but slightly smaller also very tasty it goes well with the sweet dish too.

  2. MC says:

    Mitzi you can use quinoa for Tabouleh too. It’s lighter and tastes great as well. I like to bite the crunchy seeds of it.

  3. A very favourite film and dish, which I’m sure is popular with many other fans out there 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


    • 17,622 hits

%d bloggers like this: