Ratatouille is a rustic garden dish. It’s meant to be fast and savory without a lot of flair. Making it fancy is putting lipstick on a pig. Anyone who says different’s a poseur. [So there!]
The following is a basic recipe. It can be spiced up by adding bell pepper and garlic or a hot pepper. But remember, overcomplicating this recipe will destroy it. It will look prettier but taste worse.
Just the thing when you’re in need of a Norman Rockwell moment, tomato soup can be on the table in less than an hour. The basic ingredients are simple and can be used to make a straight up soup (you’ll want to seed and process the tomatoes to get that Campbells soup effect). The additional vegetables and spice aren’t much extra work and they bring out a pronounced set of distinct flavors.
a great winter meal
As for the tomatoes, there’s little difference between store-bought and canned. If you want, you can substitute two 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes or tomato puree. The advantage of this is that you won’t have to deal with the peeling and mashing. I use fresh because it’s fun (I like to play with my food ).
This is another great addition for the holidays. It’s also deceptive. Fillo pastry is easy and forgiving, and a selection of robust vegetables and spice provides an illusion of complexity.
In addition, fillo is vegan. This can serve as a main course for vegetarians or a side for everyone else.
For most large gatherings and holidays vegetarians have to suck it up – they’re lucky if there are enough sides at a meal to put three colors on a plate. This dish adds variety to the meal and doubles as a main course for vegetarians or a side for meatetarians.
great as a main course or side dish
If you’re cooking for vegans, you can substitute vegetable stock and olive oil for butter and cream in the mashed potatoes.
There are two rules for any stew: cook aromatics first (in this case celery, carrot, onion & garlic) and use dry wine. And here’s a personal preference…. Use root vegetables for thickness instead of a roux or corn starch.
crusty bread completes the meal
This is a basic recipe. The essentials are aromatic vegetables, stock and wine. The rest is up to your discretion. You’ll want to make more than you can eat immediately so that there’s something in the freezer for later.