Saturday, March 28, 2009

Crockpot Ratatouille

Some books are begging to be judged by their covers, cliché or no. Seriously with a title like How to Make Love and Dinner at the Same Time how can you open the glossy little textual vixen without preconceived notions?

The fella and I found this little treat on our last cookbook hunting mission at the library. We just go to the closest library on that particular day we're running errands, swoop in and grab an arm load of cookbooks each, then go home and play the lets make a menu for the week game. I grab a pile of French cookbooks and the fella finds a couple on Asian cuisine and whatever else is tickling his Scorpio-ian fancy right about then. This time that happened to be cookpot books.

Surprisingly the recipes in the book are pretty decent and hit upon all the major cuisines without bastardizing them too badly. Rebecca Field Jager should probably stick to the recipes however. On every page there is also a little Sex in the City-esque tip about sex and being a sassy hot lady. It isn't cute and it distracts from the actual point of the book. Crockpotting to have more time to get your grove on is a nice idea, I'll take advice on the former but I can handle the latter thank you very much. And should I ever need any pointers I can't imagine trusting advice about sex found in the cooking section.

Criticism aside her ratatouille was really good. After chopping up the veggies you have nothing else to do. Turn on the crockpot, go to work, come home, eat dinner. A traditional French meal that cooked while I wasn't in the kitchen, it was a nice change of pace. This went perfectly with the Broccoli and Red Pepper Penne though it was missing a little complexity of flavor. I couldn't quite tell what it was missing but after looking at some other ratatouille recipes it could be thyme and rosemary, I'll have to make it again to tweak it but that would be my guess for now.

The Vinedos de la Posada Malbec I opened with the meal rounded out an already amazing experience. I'm on a real Malbec kick as of late. This one especially wins points for being organic, fair trade and made with no added sulfites. It has the South American spicy bite and big dark fruit of a New World Malbec but has the light drinkability of Malbecs from Cahors without being boring and flabby. It's the Malbec I go for when I want to treat myself a little, though I don't have to considering how many out of this world Argentinian Malbecs there are for under $10.

The Conquista Malbec is about $7, drinks like a $30 or more bottle, and sells out every time the day we get a couple cases in the wine store. I've been carrying on a sordid love affair with it for years. And with a new book full of crockpot recipes I have even more time to spend looking longingly into its plum colored depths.

Crockpot Ratatouille

1 eggplant, sliced
2 zucchini, sliced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
(the original recipe is missing these last two spices which are in traditional ratatouille and would add to the flavor profile greatly)

To remove bitter juices, sprinkle eggplant with salt and let sit in colander to drain for about 20 minutes. Rinse then pat dry.

Cut up all the vegetables and add them with the spices to the crock pot. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Original recipe from How to Make Dinner and Love at the Same Time.


Aida said...

Did you add any water to the crockpot, or only vegetables?

Emily said...

Just the veggies. The liquid from the tomatoes makes everything more than wet enough.

Aida said...