Monday, July 8, 2013

A True Disney Kid

I'll admit it. I'm a Disney kid. I adore 99% of Disney's original movies. That includes most Pixar movies, especially "Ratatouille."
NOT THE PARSLEY! Courtesy of Born For Geekdom
I could possibly blame Remy and his love of cooking for my recent obsession with recipes and French culture. This lil' rodent is an inspiration for anyone to get into the kitchen and try making dinner from scratch. The movie also introduces a younger American generation to a society that prefers flavor and freshness over convenience.

I could give a full critique on this movie. Pixar does an amazing job at adding social commentary to their family films. But that's for another day. The point is "Ratatouille" is a great movie that I now want to watch instead of sharing my attempt at the title recipe. I will manage though. For your sake. You're welcome.

This weekend I decided that we are far enough into summer to make my first attempt at ratatouille. Our farmers' market has gotten busier, and I now have an awesome mandolin...

and my Mother came down to visit us for the Fourth of July!

How many more reasons does a woman need?
I had to show off at least one awesome firework photo
The best thing about our ratatouille is that the dish itself was made entirely of local produce- even some from my garden! And while the process was grueling, it was totally worth it! Unlike the movie, ratatouille is typically a stew dish. That movie version is so tempting to try though and several chefs posted their recipes including this one form Smitten Kitchen. Here's how my attempt went:
Well, this is before I baked the dish. You get the point though.
I did want to share a few tweaks to the recipe. First off, I made my own tomato puree. That included the my least favorite thing in the world... blanching, skinning, and gutting tomatoes. Oh how I despise this process. So, I made a collage!
Check this out if you want to read further about blanching, skinning, and gutting tomatoes.
With all that being said, it was worth it. I was stuck with a good amount of ripe tomatoes but there was not enough to can. Not only did I make enough for this recipe, but I also have 3 more cups to throw in pasta sauce or even another ratatouille dish!

A few other (but smaller) tweeks I made include using a skinny, but long bell pepper and mincing the garlic. And as you can see I used a 10" rectangular pan instead of an oval. None of these are big changes, but those are my suggestions if you try this recipe. I also recommend tossing a dollop of sour cream!

This dish took me about two hours to make. Most of that though was probably the tomato puree and the time in the oven. It was also well worth in! I paired it with cream-cheese-stuffed sweet mini bell peppers and couscous. This dish turned out so well that all of us went for seconds! It's also vegetarian based and chocked full of nutrients. You can bet this will recipe will be made more often!