A little while ago, I picked up a "Good Food Box" from school. Essentially, for $15 we got a random assortment of 15-20 lbs of produce. It's a really good deal and part of the fun is figuring out what to do with some of it. For example, this time we got (in part): red peppers (gave one away), a beet (didn't use it quickly enough, oops), and an eggplant. Eggplant? What the heck am I going to do with eggplant? I don't like eating it and none of my friends could be blackmailed or bribed into taking it. Thus, I started googling eggplant recipes in search of something I might possibly eat. The final decision to try this one came from the fact that I enjoyed the Disney movie, "Ratatouille".
This recipe has a lot of vegetables in it that I normally would never eat. However, in the interest of trying to expand my culinary horizons, I decided that I would try making something with things I don't like in it with the hopes that the blend of them together would turn into something I actually like eating. A little more nutrition never hurt anyone either. And so the experiment began...
Substitutions and modifications: I didn't change much of this recipe. In the mistaken hope that the Charmer would eat some of my ratatouille too, I bought one red pepper and one orange one because I heard him say before that he likes coloured peppers better than green ones. Due to my dislike of any peppers, I cut the ones I bought into really small pieces, the better to hide them from myself. I diced my onion because I'm still not really a fan of it. I've grown to tolerate it in cooking as long as the pieces are really small and it's well cooked. As for the tomato part, I ended up using two 540 mL (19 oz.) cans of diced tomatoes with Italian spices in them. This gave me more liquid than the recipe called for, but in the end, you'll see that worked in my favour. I used 4 small zucchinis, sliced pretty thinly. I added a couple of handfuls of sliced mushrooms, cooking them up with the garlic and onions. At the end of the cooking time, I also added 1 cup of chicken stock to make my version a little more soup-ish. I just couldn't stand the thought of eating a mouthful of vegetables I don't like unless they were part of a soup. I also added another tbsp of oil when I added the eggplant because the additional mushrooms changed the composition of my pot and things were sticking. Finally, I used squeeze-tube parsley, if anyone's keeping track.
Overall, this recipe wasn't too complex to cook. There's just a lot of prep although the Charmer pointed out that the food processor could help with all the chopping. Maybe next time. If I make this recipe again, I will add the zucchini sooner as mine was still kind of crunchy, even after an extra 10 minutes of cooking. I am not thrilled with crunchy zucchini. I'm also not excited to be the only person eating ALL of the ratatouille soup I made. It's pretty good, but it's a WHOLE lot of vegetables for one person to face down. Next time, I shall make sure others take some or I'll cut the recipe in half first. Maybe next time, I'll enlist a rat to help me with this recipe!