Ratatouille Update

Turns out there are several versions of ratatouille that include yellow squash in addition to zucchini. I love Google. I have never bothered to look for ratatouille recipes because I had a perfectly good recipe developed over many years and committed to memory.

In the end what I chose to do in making my veggie stew was to fall back on familiarity. But I did do one thing differently than usual. I'm not talking about the fact that I substituted yellow squash for traditional zucchini. For once, I wrote down the recipe measure by measure.

SUMMER RATATOUILLE

1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, grated
1/2 small yellow onion, grated
3 medium size meaty tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup beef, chicken or vegetable broth
1 medium size eggplant, about 1 lb.
2 medium size zucchini squash, about 8 oz. each (yellow squash tastes great too!)
1 medium sweet bell pepper, cut in thin strips
1/4 cup carrot coins, thin sliced
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil (1 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon fresh oregano (1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese (optional)


Heat oil in large saucepan, add onion and garlic. Stir until lightly cooked through. Add tomatoes and broth. Cover. Bring to a medium simmer for about ten minutes. Meanwhile, cut eggplant crosswise into 3/4-inch slices, then cut slices into 3/4-inch cubes. Stir eggplant into saucepan and cover. Cut zucchini and yellow squash into 1/2-inch slices, halving each slice. Stir squashes, bell pepper strips and carrot coins into the saucepan and sprinkle with basil and oregano. Reduce heat to low simmer. Cover. Cook fifteen minutes longer, stirring occasionally. The eggplant will release liquid as it cooks, stirring often helps distribute the flavors. Sprinkle with cheese before serving if desired.

Makes six generous servings as a side dish to most any meat but tastes particularly delish with a simple fresh baked fish -- 1 tablespoon olive oil and a shot glass of dry vermouth on the bottom of a shallow baking dish before laying fish fillets without overlapping. Lightly season with fresh ground pepper and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Garnish with lemon wedges.

Serves four as a main course veggie stew. In either case, pair with a crusty baguette, light fruity table wine and a slice of lemon cake for dessert and you'll have yourself a tasty easy menu.

And speaking of lemon cake, I promised my son, John Paul, that I would flip to page 298 in The Silver Palate Cookbook and make him the Glazed Lemon Cake as mini-bundt cakes later today. I'm certainly NOT suggesting that you cheat BUT ... a box of lemon cake mix baked as directed with the addition of one tablespoon of freshly grated lemon zest, topped off with Silver Palate lemon glaze is pretty close to the real thing.

LEMON ICING

1 pound box confectioners sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) sweet unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespooons fresh grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice


Cream sugar and butter thoroughly. Mix in lemon zest and juice; drizzle onto warm cake.

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