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July 14, 2011

MAY 2010 — No, ratatouille is not that creative or anything, but in spite of its simplicity, it’s nowhere near becoming a household name, and people have asked me how to prepare it. Ratatouille, a vegetable stew, is a peasant dish of Southern France, using summer vegetables. By peasant dish, we mean it is comprised of common, inexpensive ingredients.

The first time I made ratatouille was with a friend for a French project. We reinvented it and went all Greek on it by adding olives, Greek herbs, and topping it with feta cheese. Then to be more Frenchy, we made french bread bowls for the ratatouille. It’s a shame I don’t have the photos from that–which was in May of 2008.

So what did you do?
Cut up all your vegetables.
The common ones that are found in France are zucchini, eggplant, tomato, onion, yellow squash (I might have used banana). Season

Eat yo’ veggies!

and cook. I always use lots of pepper. Traditionally, thyme is used for the herb element. I think all I had on hand is oregano. Then stew them in a big pot. I like woks.

Lessons learned?
This ratatouille wasn’t as much of a stew as it ought to be. I think a can of crushed tomatoes with juice, or even a little bit of sauce would help a lot. Also, because you’re dealing with an exclusively vegetable dish, seasoning is very important. I think the oregano was overpowering and didn’t make the dish taste fresh or “summery” this time around.

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