This blog has permanently moved to a new blogging address. Come on over to
The Potter's Shed!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Classic Ratatouille

Adapted from by Julia Child’s Ratatouille

1 lb eggplant
1 lb zucchini
1 tsp salt
Slice zucchini into half-moons about ½ inch thick. Peel and slice eggplant to similar size. Place in mixing bowl and toss with salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towel and set on plate.

3-4 T olive oil, as needed
1 yellow or Vidalia onion, thinkly sliced
2 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow), seeded and thinly sliced
2 cloves mashed garlic
1 bay leaf
1 T fresh rosemary (2 tsp dry)
1tsp fresh marjoram (1/2 tsp dry)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large skillet. In one layer at a time, briefly saut̩ the eggplant and zucchini (about a minute on each side Рslightly browning). Remove to side dish. In the same skillet, cook onions and peppers slowly in the olive oil for about 10 min.s, or until tender, but not brown.

1 lb firm, ripe tomatoes: peeled & seeded
Salt and Pepper
(To peel tomatoes: dip tomatoes into boiling water – 10 seconds, max.; then peel. Seed by cutting horizontally and either gently squeezing or scooping out the seeds into a bowl.) Slice peeled & sliced tomatoes into pieces the same size as the zucchini and eggplant. Lay these over the onions and peppers. Salt with salt and pepper. Cover the skillet and cool over low heat for 5 minutes, or until tomatoes begin to render their juice. Uncover, baste the tomatoes with the juices, raise the heat and boil for several minutes, until juice has almost evaporated.

Scoop half the tomato/onion mixture out or to side of skillet. Spread the remaining half over the bottom of the skillet. Lay half the eggplant and zucchini on the tomatoes and onions. Return the other half of the tomato/onion mixture to the skillet. Put the rest of the eggplant and zucchini on top.

Cover the skillet and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover, tip skillet and baste with rendered juices. Correct seasonings, if necessary. Raise heat slightly and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes more, basting several times, until juices have evaporated leaving a spoonful or two of flavorful olive oil. Don’t let vegetables scorch in bottom of skillet!

*Can be made entirely the day before and becomes more flavorful when reheated. Serves 6 (as main) – 12 (as side)

Daybook - Monday, June 14th

St. Basil the Great

outside my window . . .  the sun is just past its zenith, I believe, and hot and white.

in the kitchen . . . zucchini bread is in the oven, bread dough is rising on the stove, veggies are washed and waiting to be transformed into ratatouille.

around the house . . . still slowly working on painting rooms here and there.   We stalled on little E's room before our vacation and haven't quite gotten back there.  Hubby says today is the day.

thinking about . . .  a new camera, maybe

listening to. . . the clatter of dishes being put away

thankful for. . . a hubby happy to be the dish-putter-awayer

pondering the words . . . "war-torn Afghanistan could become the 'Saudi Arabia' of lithium"

creating . . . temporarily lost my crochet mojo and had to restart Baby L's summer blanket 3 or 4 times.  I might have it finished before the leaves start turning colors.

one of my favorite things . . .  new purple bath mats (all cotton - no rubber backing) I picked up for $5 at Marshalls

milestones in the past week . . .  we are finally moving on the property!  After a ridiculous of red-tape from  one lender (one my hubby works for - not mentioning any names), we've switched to another lender and everything is going much more smoothly.  We went by the property (to see what other lots had been sold) and saw that we have a drive way and home site cleared!

a few plans for the upcoming week . . .  quick meeting with our new lender to sign some papers tomorrow,   taking Little E to one of the free summer movies Wednesday, working Friday, and H comes home Saturday (from nearly 3 weeks in Sweden with his grandmother).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

How to Quit Planning Meals!

Are you looking for a way to provide economical, home-cooked meals for your family? Are you tired of the constant nagging question in the back of your mind, "What's for dinner tonight?"   I've got a radical idea to pass along to you:  QUIT PLANNING!

Well, at least, quit planning so frequently.

Mary at Evlogia has totally inspired me to make my meal planning and preparation easier by having one meal plan for a whole season instead of a new meal plan each week.  (She also has an amazing series of Household  Notebooks for each season of the Church year.)

Mary is Eastern Orthodox, so her meal plans accommodate her family's needs to maintain the fasting schedule of the Orthodox church.  At first I was skeptical about the lack of variety week-to-week, but then I reminded myself that we tend to eat pizza EVERY Friday night; Indian food on Saturday night, and nachos on Sunday night and we don't get tired of it!   Mary also mentioned one time that most people tend to stick to a handful (or two handfuls) of the same recipes anyway.  And really, Mary's idea might encourage me to have more variety on an annual basis.

I've started with our Summer Menu, and will continue to add seasonal menus during the year (as long as it is still working for us!).  Future Menu plans will probably include:  Fall, Advent (fast), Christmas (feast), Winter, Lent (fast), Easter (feast), and Spring.

Here is my planned Summer Menu (click on the table for a larger view)

I've posted this on my fridge - so everyone knows what is for dinner (and breakfast and lunch) and in my Home Binder.  Right behind it, I have the grocery list (how easy - I don't have to make a new grocery list every week...just look over the one I've already got prepared).  I've typed up the recipes and filed those, too.  No more flipping through cookbooks trying to find recipes in the middle of preparing dinner!

And, Mary, thank you for sharing your meal plan...and inspiring me to keep it simple!

I'll start posting the recipes later this week.