Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So long, summer vacation

Even though I don't get the summer off, I certainly benefit from it in some ways while Peter is on summer vacation. This week, Peter is returning the world of early (very, very early) mornings, lesson planning, and paper grading, and I thought it would be the perfect time to make him a gussied-up version of a weeknight dinner.

I know that ratatouille might not be categorized as fancy food by some, but I'd never made it before, and I'm always a bit leery of recipes with lots of ingredients and steps (even if the ingredients are all from the farm stand and the steps are just a long series of chopping and stirring).

For the main course, I decided to try a version of this stuffed chicken recipe from the kitchn. It felt fancy but still easy -- the perfect combination for this kind of dinner. I made mine with lots of fresh basil and goat cheese, but the idea is the same, and it was a total hit.

And dessert. This little dinner offered the perfect excuse (ahem, opportunity) to make this truly life changing molten chocolate cake with peanut butter filling.  


You will need:
3 medium tomatoes (like these!)
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
20 fresh basil leaves, torn in half
2 small eggplants or 1 large eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 medium onion
1 bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1 inch pieces
Black pepper
Parmesan cheese

Cut an "X" in the bottom of the tomatoes and put them into a pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and cool enough so that you can remove the skin. Chop them up and add to a pot with the basil, garlic, and some olive oil. Simmer for about 30 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, toss your eggplant with a touch of salt and let it sit in a colander in the sink for about 30 minutes. 

In a large pot, cook the onions with a sprinkle of salt and olive oil for about five minutes, and then remove to a bowl. Repeat this process with the pepper, zucchini, and finally the eggplant.  Add all the vegetable back to the pan, and pour the tomato sauce on top. Cover and simmer for at least half an hour, but an hour is better.  Serve with some parmesan cheese on top. 

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