September 21, 2011 · Recipe · (No comments)

From Dinner Tonight on Serious Eats.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds plum tomatoes, sliced in half, stems and cores removed
  • 1/2 pound carrots, chopped into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large eggplant, stem removed and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Cooking:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Meanwhile, toss the tomatoes, carrots, and garlic with 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread out on a large baking sheet, making sure to keep the tomatoes cut side down.
  2. Toss the eggplant, chickpeas, and curry powder with 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread this mixture out on separate baking sheet. Place both baking sheets into the oven and cook for 45 minutes. Stir both about halfway through.
  3. Remove both baking sheets from the oven. Peel off the skin from the tomatoes. Toss all the contents from the baking sheet with the tomatoes into a blender. Process until smooth. Pour this mixture into a large pot.
  4. Add the contents from the second baking sheet to the large pot. Thin the soup with 3 cups of water. Turn the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Then turn off the heat. Ladle into bowls, and serve with cilantro and some rustic bread.
September 21, 2011 · Recipe · 1 comment

Ingredients:

  • 110 ml (about 1/2 cup) sunflower oil
  • 2 small onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 a fresh green chili
  • 2 small red peppers
  • 1 small parsnip
  • 200 g (7 oz) green beans
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 medium potato
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 T sugar
  • 1 T tomato puree (or paste)
  • 200 ml (a little less than a cup) of water
  • cilantro/coriander to garnish (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Preparation: (Note- it is important to prep all ingredients before beginning to cook so the timing flows.)

  • Submerge tomatoes briefly in boiling water and rinse with cold water to make peeling easier.
  • Peel onions, garlic, squash, parsnip, tomatoes and, optionally, potato and eggplant.
  • Slice garlic and green chili.
  • Trim green beans.
  • Cut peppers, squash, parsnip, zucchini, eggplant and potato into 3 cm pieces.
  • Chop tomatoes.

Cooking:

  1. Pour 2/3 of the oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot and heat on medium. Add the onions and fry for 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili and red peppers and fry for 5 more minutes. Add the squash and parsnip and continue to fry for 5 more minutes.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, lift the vegetables out of the pot leaving as much oil as possible. Add the remaining 1/3 of the oil. Add the beans, zucchini and eggplant to the hot oil and fry for 5 minutes.
  3. Return the original ingredients to the pot. Add the poato, tomato, sugar, tomato puree and plenty of salt and pepper. Stir well, then pour in water (enough to  half-cover the vegetables). Cover and leave to simmer gently for 30 minutes. Taste the vegetables and add salt and pepper as needed. (As the vegetables are simmering, preheat the oven to 200 C (about 400 F).)
  4. Using a slotted spoon, lift the vegetables out of the pot and into a large roasting pan to make a layer 2-3 cm thick. Pour the liquid over the vegetables and cook in the hot oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes the vegetables should be very soft and most of the liquid will have evaporated. (I removed some of the liquid and let the vegetables cook for longer as Ian wasn’t home for dinner yet with no problems.)
  5. Garnish with cilantro and serve over steamed rice.

When Juliet was born, Ian bought me a beautiful cookbook to fill some time in the hospital bed. The cookboook, Plenty from Yotam Ottolenghi, could be a coffee table book. It is full of gorgeous pictures and delicious descriptions. Both Ian and I have read nearly every recipe. While Ottolenghi is not a vegetarian chef, the cookbook is vegetarian. The book is arranged into chapters based on vegetable types. The recipes showoff their ingredients while including subtle seasonings. While reading through them, I have encountered ingredients I have never used before as well as cooking processes I am unfamiliar with.

The first couple meals I cooked overwhelmed me and took far more time than I was ready to commit, and I was worried I would need to resign the book to just a coffee table book because of it’s complexity. However, after repeating a few recipes I am beginning to understand how Ottolenghi’s drawn out processes contribute to the flavor of each dish, and have grown to appreciate them. Fortunately as I have repeated a couple of dishes I find they become much easier each time. This week I cooked a recipe (ratatouille) that, once again, overwhelmed me while cooking, but ended up so delicious that I haven’t stopped thinking about it.

I have posted Ottolenghi’s recipe for Tamara’s Ratatouille. Keep in mind that the dish is absolutely worth every step and every minute. The vegetables meld together perfectly in terms of both flavor and texture. The eggplant and zucchini both melt in your mouth, and the potatoes and butternut squash are simultaneously tender and chewy. On a mellow, rainy early fall day, give it a try- it is fantastic!