Ratatouille

In the words of Deckard Cain stay a while and listen…. Now that I live with a vegetarian I do cook a lot more veg food than I did before but before this my old roommate was pretty much a vegetarian too so I’ve been making this recipe for a few years now. I don’t actually remember where I found the original one but over the years I’ve come to modify it for a number of cooking methods.

While I’m currently making the ratatouille in the winter I find that the quality improves greatly in the summer with the fresher produce. Also it’s possible to grow almost all the ingredients in a small garden.

Ingredients • 1 Italian Or Globe Eggplant Cubed • 2 Yellow Squash Cubed • 1 Zucchini Cubed • 12 White Mushrooms Sliced • 1 Can (12oz) Diced Tomatoes (I like the one in Italian seasoning but plain works too) • 2 Jalapenos Diced • 1 Red Pepper Diced • 2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning • 4 Cloves Garlic Smashed • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil • Salt And Pepper To Taste

Slow Cooker Version Combine all the ingredients and add extra water to cover if necessary. Cook on low for 8; or high for 4. Every hour stir the mixture.

Oven Version Combine all the ingredients in an oven safe dish and cook at 350 for 2 hours covered and 1 hour uncovered.

Stove Top Version 1. In a large pot on medium heat, add the olive oil and garlic. When the garlic becomes fragrant add the mushrooms and red pepper. 2. Once the mushrooms have becomes slightly soft add the jalapenos, eggplant, squash, and zucchini. Mix well and let sit for a few minutes before adding the Italian seasoning. 3. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Turn the heat to low and cook for another 30min or until the vegetables reach your preferred level of doneness.

This can be eaten as a hearty stew, on top of rice, or my favorite with a large piece of garlic bread.

Roasted Mushrooms

There were mushrooms in my fridge and a slow cooker on my counter and so we get this easy side or main dish. Ingredients

  • 1 package whole mushrooms (I used baby bella but they are really the same as button mushrooms and the flavor is the same)
  • Butter
  • Thyme
  • Garlic (crushed, diced, or powder if that’s all you have)
  • Olive Oil

Steps

  1. Heat the slow cooker on high for about 5 min then add a large pat of butter and some olive oil to cover the base. Add in the herbs and garlic.
  2. Clean off the mushrooms and remove the stems and toss with the oil. Liberally sprinkle the salt and pepper over the mushrooms and add ¼ of a cup of water.
  3. Slow cooker recipes are pretty standard in cooking: 6 on low, 3 on high.

I added the mushrooms to some freshly cooked pasta for a pretty filling meal but they also make a great side for a piece of meat or as topping on a burger.

Crepe

crepe When I was an undergrad there was this great food truck on campus that sold nothing but crepes both sweet and savory. The place was fast, cheap, and delicious. Since leaving Philly I’ve always wanted to find a new go to crepe place but sadly I’ve yet to find a great place. Over the past 2 weeks I did try out 2 very good places. In Washington, DC I went to Point Chaud Café and in Alexandria I went to Fontaine Caffe, both were good but a bit pricy. I began to wonder how hard can it be to make crepes? I mean they are just thin pancakes. So I found a recipe from Alton Brown and made some minor modifications.

Note: You need to rest the batter for at least 1 hour in the fridge but it can stay in the fridge for up to 24 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter for batter + 2 tablespoons to cover pan

Fillings can be whatever you like, I had frozen strawberries, nutella, and some black raspberry jam.

Steps

  1. In a blender combine the butter, eggs, milk, water, and vanilla extract. Blend for 1 min until the egg yolks break. Then add he flour and blend for another 1 min.  Store the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour to chill.
  2. Using a small ladle pour the batter into a small non-stick pan that has been well buttered. Pour the batter into the middle of the pan and move the pan around to evenly spread the batter across the pan. Cook the crepe for about 40 seconds then flip. Cook the second side for 30 seconds.  I found it hard to flip the crepe without removing it from the pan onto a plate then putting it back into the pan.
  3. Fill the warm crepes with your choice of filling and enjoy. The made crepes should be stored with wax paper between crepes to prevent sticking and can stay good for 8 days in the fridge and 30 in the freezer.

Sweet Potato Hash and Eggs

Image So it only took 2 posts but I actually lost the original version of this post because wordpress was being an a$$hat. Anyway, I came up with this recipe after being massively disappointed by a restaurant offering customized breakfast potatoes and eggs.

Ingredients

  • Eggs
  • 8 ounces of sausage ( I just removed the meat from 2 mild Italian sausage links)
  • ½ a bag of frozen sweet potato fries
  • 1 red pepper roughly chopped
  • 1 green pepper roughly chopped
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 teaspoons Italian season blend (I like Mrs Dash)

Steps

  1. follow the cooking instructions on the fries but pull the fries from the oven when they are almost done. Roughly chop the fries into bite sized pieces.
  2. In an oven safe skillet melt a pat of butter and some olive oil then begin to brown the sausage. After 2 minutes add the veggies, salt, pepper and the Italian seasoning. Continue to cook until the veggies just become soft.
  3. Once the veggies are soft add the fries to the mixture and place the skillet into the oven to keep warm.
  4. Cook your eggs so that the yolks remain runny, I went with poached (I’ll be making a separate mini-post on the method I used later).  When the eggs are done place on top of the hash and enjoy the creaminess of the yolk and the hash.

I made this same recipe without the sausage and it came out great, but I would just increase the amount of seasoning.

Mexican Gumbo

Mexican Gumbo I was attempting to make tortilla soup but I over spiced the mix and ended up having to add some extra rice to it; but this turned out to be a great decision the final product was filling, spicy, and flavorful.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans rotel diced tomato
  • 1 onion chopped roughly
  • a handful of garlic
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can black beans drained
  • .25 cup arborio rice
  • 1.5 teaspoon Cumin
  • .5 teaspoon Ancho Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • .5 teaspoon Chipotle Powder

Toppings

  • corn tortillas for crisp tortila strips
  • Avocados or guacamole
  • mexican shredded cheese
  • sour cream

Steps

  1. In a large dutch oven heat 2 tablespoons of oil and a small pat of butter until the butter melts. Add Onion and Garlic until the onion becomes translucent.
  2. Add spice mixture and mix throughly. Once the spices become fragrant add the beans, rotel and corn; mix throughly. Cook over medium heat for 10min then add vegetable stock.
  3. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 30min. Then bring mixture to a rolling boil and add rice. Cook for 20 min stirring frequently.
  4. While the rice is cooking make the tortilla strips. Cut up 8-10 tortillas into strips. Pre-heat oven to 450. Mix the strips with a generous amount of olive oil and spread onto a single layer in a lined sheet pan. Cook for 6 mix or so, stirring halfway through.
  5. Serve the Gumbo with cut up avocado, tortila strips, cheese, and sour cream.