The other evening I had a couple friends over and made ratatouille and had sort of a "French" themed evening. We ended up popping in the Disney movie "Ratatouille".
Afterwards, I thought it sounded very family-friendly and fun! (I know that we at least thought it was fun!)
Besides serving the ratatouille, I also offered:
Bread (a demi-loaf of wheat from Target - any fresh bread would do)
Brie cheese (Presidente Light Brie, also from Target)
A bottle of Bordeaux (substitute grape juice or sparkling grape juice for youngsters)
For dessert, sherbet served in short champagne glasses.
The recipe is super-easy to follow & make (or else I would not have bothered). It ends up being a stew being very low in liquid (not the stacked casserole shown in the film. HA!) Courtesy of the "Martha Stewart Everyday Food" magazine, October 2010.
1 can (28 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large eggplant (1 lb.) cut into 1-inch pieces
course salt & ground pepper
2 large yellow onions (1 lb. total) diced large
1 head garlic, cloves smashed & peeled
2 bell peppers (any color) seeded & diced large
2 large zucchini (1 lb. total) diced large
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram or oregano leaves
2 to 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tomatoes and juices on a rimmed baking sheet and use your hands to break tomatoes into 3/4-inch pieces. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and bake until thickened, 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. (Also, I initially seasoned w/ S&P. Breaking up the tomatoes would be fun for kids)
2. Meanwhile, in a colander, toss eggplant with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Let sit 20 minutes, then squeeze out excess liquid (I found the squeezing out unnecessary). In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 4 tablespoons oil over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally (kids will like to stir), until translucent, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until onions and garlic are soft, 5 minutes. Add peppers and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, bay leaf, and marjoram to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally (again, kids love to stir) until mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover and cook at a gentle simmer until vegetables are tender but not mushy, 15 minutes. Season to taste with vinegar, salt, and pepper.
per 3/4 cup: 85 cal., 5.5 g. fat (0.8 g. sat fat), 1.6 g. protein, 8.3 g. carbs., 2.5 g. fiber
I think the trick is to taste and season as you go. I like to season with every layer. Every time you add an (or set of) ingredients: season. At the end, when it tells you to add the S&P and vinegar, just add enough to your taste. I'm not sure I ended up adding quite 2 tbsp. vinegar and THAT much S&P. You kind of want to leave that up to your guests, I think. Just add enough to taste, do everything in moderation.
I used 2 yellow peppers. It gave a variation in color to the dish more than anything (But green peppers are the sharpest, yellow peppers are mild, and red are the sweetest. Definitely core & remove seeds from any pepper).
Also, I S&P'd the onions when I was cooking them.
Also, I used dried generic marjoram (and bay leaf) from Target. Still tasted good. Unless you are fortunate to have your own garden of fresh herbs, dried are just as good...
Gwen, did you get a final sodium content on that 3/4 cup?
I'm neither an eggplant nor a zucchini fan :blech: - much to John's dismay - but I guess I'd be willing to give this a try.
#1, I apparently can't spell...nice job on the title, eh?
#2, No, I am not sure of the soduim content. It pretty much just depends on how much salt and vinegar you season with. Also, there is probably some sodium in the canned tomatoes.