Ratatouille, Like the Movies or My Beloved Cara Beth

Eight months ago tomorrow I eloped.  Immediately after that I flew to D.C. to pack up my life and move to Southern California.  I gave friends and family short notice to say goodby mostly via email.  In the end I was able to see a few people within the 24 hours I was in town, anyone who could stop by while I fought my things into 12 boxes and gave the rest away.  And then there was Cara Beth.  Upon receiving my email that I would be in town and then gone, Cara organized a going away party.  A Cara Beth (and Will, her fabulous now-hubby) party is a party done right.  You can expect everything to be themed and the decorations homey.  The food will spill over the counter tops, drinks will be plentiful chilled and simmering on the stove.  You will have a pretty name tag waiting for you. There will be flowers. And Cara Beth with greet you in staggering heels, long pearls, beautiful and fabulous and give you a wonderful welcoming hug. One day soon Martha Stewart will have to relinquish world domination to Cara.

On my very last night in town,  somewhere around midnight on a weekday I learned that it doesn’t matter if you are the only at the party…it will be just a fabulous and perfectly laid out waiting for you even if you are three hours late.  Cara Beth is the sweetest little heart I have ever known and I miss her dearly.  It was my wonderous joy one day to hear she made ratatouille inspired by Disney’s recent film.  I knew it would be spot on, delicious and look beautiful.  That is just Cara Beth.  I’ve since made it a million times changing a few things to satisfy my husband’s love for a spicy kick.  But I’ve never had ratatouille another way since, and I’m not sure you will either.

Ratatouille Fit For Disney

Disney, Cara Beth and Our Reliable  Tastebuds

What you need:

2 zucchini, thinly sliced

2 squash, thinly sliced

1 eggplant (I usually don’t, if you do this is )

3 Tbsp Olive Oil

Sea Salt (to taste)

Pepper (to taste)

What you need to do:
Slice veggies very thinly. Spread out in big casserole dish.  No more than 3 loose layers.  Sprinkle with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. I like to do this lightly between layers so that every slice is delicious.  Amounts aren’t crazy exact, you just want the veggies drizzled.  Roast  in oven at 400 degrees for about 15-20 mins depending on your layers and amount of veggies.  It’s ready when everything smells delicious and veggies are a bit wilted.

Note: When they are in season, I like to switch out the squash for golden zuchini.  I’ve grown up to enjoy almost every food I couldn’t stomach as a kid, except squash.  And while this recipe is CRAZY good, and I will eat it till the cows come home.  Occasionally I like to ZUCH it all up.  As for eggplant, if you want to use it you need to allow it to “let” for up to an hour before baking otherwise it will be bitter, rubbery and cook differently than the other veggies.  Slice eggplant very thinly, place in a colander in the sink, sprinkle with salt and weigh down with another bowl.

Spicy Heirloom Sauce

What you need:

1 BIG Heirloom Tomato (or 5 plum tomatoes)

3 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

20 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

1  tsp cracked sea salt

1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

1 Tbsp red pepper flakes

Dash of Crab Oil

1 Tbsp leeks/scallions, finely chopped

What you need to do:

Make while veggies are roasting.  Coarsely chop tomatoes, then coarsely puree in batches in a blender. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add garlic cloves and saute, stirring, until golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomato puree, basil,  sea salt, pepper,  red pepper flakes and crab oil (for the most amazing helluva spicy kick!!) and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.

Plate ratatouille in a round, pile or go for the skyscraper.  Drizzle with sauce! (Option) Sprinkle with chopped leeks/scallions.  We tend to pair this with whatever protein we have on hand, which is sausage most of the time.  Because I LOVE sausage.  Now you know.



Filed under Cottage Kitchen

3 responses to “Ratatouille, Like the Movies or My Beloved Cara Beth

  1. Sarah

    oh how I miss my ladies!! Calling CB tomorrow to say hi!!

  2. Cara Beth

    OH my goodness!! This is so sweet and too flattering of you Rose! I personally love parties when only the honoree shows up and we have all the food to ourselves!! Will is making me write down my improvisations in the kitchen, so when I have a decent number I will send them to you. I love you so much sweetie, and I miss you!!!

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