Update 9: New Year's Goal: Become an "official" Gourmess by August 2010

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.
--Julia Child

Ratatouille Rocks.

So, tonight's demonstration Ratatouille only took 3 hours -- so that's good. The house smells good, too, by the way.

A lot of chopping and cutting again--specifically macédoine (1.5cm cubes) and ciselés (a way to cut onions and shallots without losing the juices)--I get it, they want me to learn this stuff asap so I can move on to more in-depth cooking. The tomatoes had to be done émondées, which is peeled via dunking in boiling water and then into ice water. My hands are sore from peeling thyme leaves from their stems -- 4 TBS worth! And, did you know peeling your green and red peppers makes your ratatouille lighter and more digestible? (That's what FCI's Dean Alan Sailhac suggests.)

Ratatouille is basically a lesson in patience. You put each ingredient in one at a time and then salt and pepper as each one is added. First the onions, then the peppers, then the tomatoes, then some garlic, juice from your tomatoes, and a bouquet garni w/an addition of basil leaves. Let it simmer up to 30 min and then add in zucchini that you've sautéed in a separate pan (at about the 20 minute mark), that's been mixed with salt and the thyme, then add in eggplant that has degorged (add salt to it in a collander to get rid of extra water), patted dry and sautéed in a pan. Once the eggplant has been added (at the 30 minute mark), you're almost done. It becomes a vegetable mélange and cooks for 15 minutes more. Then, you remove the bouquet garni, add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot or room temperature. Tada!

Looks pretty, too...we'll try it out tomorrow for dinner. I had a taste and it will be great with crusty bread, a green salad and a glass of wine. (Chris went to bed at 11 p.m. while I was still cooking, after being a trooper and running to the store to get me more tomatoes. We had dinner before I started cooking, as I don't expect him to wait until 11:30 p.m. to eat every night!)

Two demonstrations down, a couple hundred to go! I'm taking a break for the rest of the week (hey--I want to enjoy this!) and will resume this weekend with Fond de Volaille Blanc (White Chicken Stock). See you then!

More pics:

Simmering on the stove:

Vegetables = Yum.

The ingredients for the two demonstrations from this week:


Ratatouille on Foodista