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Archive for August, 2011

Ratatouille

Adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook

My Mom recently gave me this cookbook which she had autographed by the author Amanda Hesser:

“for jeannette-
eat like you mean it!

 all the best, amanda hesser”

Very cool.  It’s an immense cookbook, both in terms of content and actual size. It includes a compilation of the best recipes published in the New York Times over the past 150 years(!).  The most interesting part is the timeline set out in the beginning of each chapter that chronicles food trends for each decade (did you know the Caesar salad came into vogue in the 1940’s?). This fun feature and the author’s own comments for each recipe almost makes you forget that there are no pictures (this usually drives me crazy- what is it supposed to look like?!).

This is the first recipe I’ve made from the cookbook- a great way to use up an abundance of summer vegetables!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 medium squash
  • 1 medium zuchinni
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme or oregano (or 1/2
    tsp. dried)
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and cored
  • 6 basil leaves, finely chopped

Directions

Chop squash and zucchini into 1/2 inch cubes. Trim ends of eggplant but do not peel. Cut into 1/2 inch slices and cut each slice into large cubes. Generously sprinkle the eggplant with salt and place in a colander. Weight it down with a plate and let stand for one hour to drain (I was skeptical, but it really does drain liquid! but in a pinch, I bet you could skip this step).

Place heavy skillet over medium heat and add oil. When hot, add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until onion is soft, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the eggplant, zucchini, squash, herbs and pepper. Add bay leaf and cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Chop tomatoes and add them to the eggplant, along with the basil. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until thick. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot or cold. We enjoyed it over couscous and again over slices of thick bread.

*Notes: the recipe was originally printed in the New York Times on June 3, 1965: “A Flair for Languages can Add Flavor to Menus” by Craig Claiborne.  The
recipe was adapted from Mrs. Jacques Kayaloff (although the notes in the cookbook state that the recipe may actually be the work of Mrs. Kayaloff’s cook, Lee Faith).

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