Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ratatouille Tuesday

Hiya! How's it going in your neck of the woods? It's still pretty summer-like here in the Windy City and the hot temps aren't going to disappear too soon, either. More of the same today: laundry, deadlines, and emails. Good news is that I kept my promise and finally reunited with my elliptical trainer. I thought I'd have hell to pay since I hadn't been on it in ages, but I pushed through for 45 minutes. It felt great, too.

I opted for an egg this morning for breakfast. As you've probably noticed, I am not an egg-cooking expert. But still, with an Arnold sandwich thin, an iced coffee, and a nectarine, my morning got off to a good start.

I was mentally ready to prepare Chef Meg's Taco Soup for lunch today, but it got away from me and I was much too hungry after my work out to make anything like that. Instead, I had a veggie sandwich with spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots on Arnold whole-wheat bread, with roasted garlic hummus from Athenos. YUM! Can't get enough of this one.

I also had an orange. I haven't had one all summer, it seems. Glad to have it back in rotation.

Around 4:30, I dove into my ratatouille recipe and had a mug of white pear Revolution Tea. I was craving a coffee, but I didn't want to have a second cup, for I don't want to become a coffee crazy person. HAHA!

Anyhow, I'd been eyeing this dish from Ellie Krieger's The Food You Crave cookbook for years, but I always felt it was too much work with a New York City schedule. I've been in the adventurous mood this summer when it comes to trying new things. And Mrs. Adventure posted her own ratatouille recipe recently, thus inspiring me to finally take this on. Here's the scoop on Ellie Krieger's dish, but I did mine without the cornmeal crust. I used a whole-wheat pie crust from Wholly Wholesome instead.

Ingredients for the filling:
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
Cooking spray
1/2 pound thinly sliced eggplant rounds (about 1/3 medium eggplant)
1 zucchini, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds (about 8 ounces)
3 medium tomatoes, sliced thinly
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

For the filling: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat; saute shallots until soft, about 5 to 6 minutes. Spray 2 baking trays with cooking spray.

Arrange the eggplant, zucchini and tomato slices on the trays in a single layer and brush with the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and roast the vegetables until soft but not browned, about 15 minutes. Remove the vegetables from oven and cool.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Lay the eggplant slices in 2 layers on the bottom of tart; cover with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese and some of the shredded basil. Add the zucchini and shallots, top with another 1/3 of the mozzarella and basil, then the tomatoes.

Top with rest of the mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and vegetables have further wilted. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, and cut into 8 slices. Serve warm.

I think Ryan and I cut the ratatouille a little too early, as it was a little runny when trying to add a piece to our plates. Leaving it for a few minutes might be a better idea ... so don't be alarmed by the mess that's on my dinner plate. I assure you it's pretty darn tasty. I l-l-love the tomatoes!

We also paired ours up with a herb lettuce salad, some chopped cucumber, and blueberries. My Mom has been adding fruit to her salad all summer. We also have a ton of it in our fridge right now, so why not add it to our salad. Perfect!

Later tonight, I was hungry for something else. We had a little bit of ice cream left, so I opted to make myself a Vernors float. Vernors, if you're from Michigan, is a BIG DEAL! It's not bad for you and it's just a piece of childhood. Whenever you're feeling sick, a glass of Vernors helps settles your stomach. It also has the coolest logo! My Vernors float was exactly what I was looking for. I had mine with a half-cup of dairy-free vanilla ice cream from So Delicious and a Diet Vernors. BEST EVER!

Do you have a favorite snack or drink from your childhood?

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