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Old 11-02-2004, 06:09 PM   #1
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Ratatouile

Fixed this for dinner. Supposed to be healthy but lot of work. How many people actually like this? Seems like got mushy and now I don't think they are going to like it. Went according to directions but what can one do to make it more palatable? Nothing but cutting and sauteing. After raking leaves for almost two hours I am not in good mood. Is eating healthy worth it? 'Do you think adding cheddar cheese might make it more appealing? Now fine time to ask will be home in 45 minutes. Lot of work.

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Old 11-03-2004, 07:22 AM   #2
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I like Ratatouille very much. But then, I don't follow recipes exactly and have severely modified this recipe for my own purposes. My husband prefers it when I cook it with chicken in it - it has much better flavor.

Did you taste it? What didn't you like about it? What did you like about it? Be specific. Perhaps if you give us more information, we can give you some ideas to help you improve it more to your liking.
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Old 11-03-2004, 01:27 PM   #3
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Ratatouille

Thanks quidscribis for your thoughts. It is just something that states 'meal in itself' which I don't doubt it is. To some people. My family thinks if it doesn't have rice, noodles, potatoes, etc. not worth it. They are left feeling still hungry. After they ate it, which was just vegetables, only put on parmesan cheese they still wanted something to eat. Went to the freezer and got ice cream. That was not the point. I wanted something like they always say vegetable dish and when I do this is what I get. It seemed like lot of chopping and slicing and then to have negative feedback makes me upset. If you add the chicken does it seem more filling to you? I get really sick of chicken don't you? I am getting tired of most of all the basic meats I have worked with. They don't like fish unless it is sushi and who knows how to prepare that? Isn't that expensive and tastes salty to me. When you try so hard to please might as well fix big pot of chili boy they like that. Thanks for your understanding.
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Old 11-04-2004, 12:11 AM   #4
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I don't get tired of chicken myself. But I do get tired of chicken prepared the same way day after day. Ratatouille with chicken does seem more filling to me, and I suspect that, in part, it's because the ratatouille then has a higher fat content, and from what I've read, it seems that we need fat somewhere in the meal to signal the body that we've had enough or something like that. Too low in fat isn't healthy either. But the chicken also provides a nice flavor to the ratatouille - it balances it out somehow to us.

I also serve ratatouille on rice or pasta, so that would solve that side of the problem for you. It wouldn't be enough for my husband without.

Sushi isn't difficult to learn how to make. I've done it, and if your family likes it that much, why not learn? Get the kids involved - they'd have a hoot. And it doesn't have to have fish in it - you can also make it with eggs, or vegetarian, or, for that matter, since you're making it for your family, whatever they like.

There's no rule that states you have to make something the way someone else intended it to be. Modify to suit your own tastes. That's how new recipes are created.

If you're sick of the basic meats you've been working with - well, here's the question. Is it the meat itself or the way you've been preparing them? If it's the same flavors day after day, why not experiment with different ethnic food? Maybe we can put a bit more life into the cooking for you.
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Old 11-04-2004, 01:13 PM   #5
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Ratatouille

Since I just started reading this board, maybe I can learn something. As I said, I did throw some noodles with it and that seemed okay. I will add bacon that helps anything although don't want to use that too much. They say not good for you but what is? I question everything I eat. Used to eat margerine till they said that was bad. Guess you can't be too cautious about your diet as long as one tries to eat in moderation. Thanks for your ideas. I thought sushi was fish. What is it?
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Old 11-04-2004, 04:03 PM   #6
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In the Kitchen, write out your recipe. I put mozzarella in mine.
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Old 11-04-2004, 04:34 PM   #7
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In The Kitchen

Allow me to paraphrase from "Culinary Artistry" (Link):

The key to satisfying your "customers" in the food service industry is to balance a) the look, tastes, smells, textures and sounds (yes sounds!) in your dishes and b) the composition of the meal as a whole. I'll explain.

Firstly, the way we as humans experience food (as consumers, not preparers) is threefold: We see it, smell it, feel its textures in our mouths and then, lastly, taste it. A good dish should simultaneously smell good, feel good on the tongue and the mouth, and be balanced between the four taste receptor types: bitter, sweet, sour and salty. Sound, as I mentioned, is also a factor. The pleasant crunch of a carrot or a peanut, for example, all translate into enjoyment of the food. By far the most difficult part is the balance of tastes. Very often, even in professionally prepared food, we get an imbalance of one taste or another or a combination of two. Sometimes, you can offset these imbalances with wines, mixed drinks, sauces, side dips, that sort of thing. For instance, if you have a candied yam dish that is overboard on the sweet and salty, you can balance it with a strong, bitter/sour wine and achieve a good balance of tastes. I've heard it said many times that you can feed someone until they cannot eat anymore and if the tastes in the meals were not balanced, they can, and likely will, leave the table unsatisfied, gastrically speaking.

The second part to the equation is something my mother used to harp on me about a lot: balance in the variety of dishes you serve. If you're serving an overabundance of starches, people get full too quickly and can't enjoy the meal. Too much meat and they become lethargic, too many green veggies, etc. (mom believed there was no such thing as too many green veggies, but that's beside the point) A good meal will have elements of each of the food groups involved. A cabbage & summer sausage boil with cornbread, a side of mashed potatoes and a side of green beans is a -perfect- example line up (and one of my favorite soul food combos). The cabbage & sausage boil you can make balanced in and of itself, as the summer sausage will add an element of both saltiness and sweetness to the cabbage, which is bitter and sour. Adding a touch of white wine to the water will help you balance the sweetness even further. Cornbread with whole-kernel corn, a touch of sugar and some butter will also balance out nicely. Mashed potatoes can be done in any number of ways that balance, as well as the green beans. If you strive to balance the tastes and senses involved in the individual dishes, you end up with a perfectly balanced meal that will satisfy your customer (in this case, your family).

As far as Ratatouille goes, I've used it as a stewing base for chicken breasts, as suggested byquidscribis, and I've also made a sort of southwestern seafood gumbo using it. Add cayenne and fresh ground black pepper with a touch of paprika. The seafood I normally use are halibut (pre-seared on a lightly oiled skillet), blue crab meat and some chopped (about 1/2 in chunks) boiled shrimp. Stew it over medium heat with a dry white wine (about 1 1/2 cups), fish stock (about 1 1/2 cups) and lemon juice (~2 tbsp) until you get a spicy, but not overwhelming taste from the sauce. Goes great over a lemon-butter rice pilaf. 8)

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Old 11-04-2004, 05:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debthecook
In the Kitchen, write out your recipe. I put mozzarella in mine.
Here is the recipe I used. It sounds good doesn't it? They said something was missing when I fixed it.
Ratatouille

Yield: 6 servings.
1 large (1 pound) eggplant

Salt

2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, quartered and seeded

11 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 pound zucchini, sliced 1/2 inch thick

1/2 pound yellow summer squash, sliced 1/2 inch thick

1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into matchstick-size pieces

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into matchstick-size pieces

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Leaves from 3 sprigs thyme

6 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley, divided

6 tablespoons coarsely chopped basil, divided

Freshly ground pepper


Cut the unpeeled eggplant into 1-inch cubes. Toss with 1 tablespoon salt; drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes in a separate colander for 30 minutes.

Warm 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini and yellow squash; saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer squash to a bowl. Heat 2 more tablespoons oil in the skillet. Saute the bell peppers 5 minutes, then add to the squash.

Rinse the eggplant, drain and pat dry. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in the skillet; saute eggplant, stirring often, until soft, about 7 minutes. Add to the squash.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in the skillet; saute onion and garlic until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, thyme and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer for 10 minutes. Return the sauteed vegetables to the skillet; cook until tender but not mushy, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; add the remaining 4 tablespoons parsley and 4 tablespoons basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons basil.

PER SERVING: 338 calories; 26.5g fat (71 percent calories from fat); 4g saturated fat; no cholesterol; 4g protein; 23.5g carbohydrate; 12.5g sugar; 7g fiber; 23mg sodium; 50mg calcium; 894mg potassium.
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Old 11-04-2004, 06:02 PM   #9
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I think that it looks very good. I would probably add some more garlic, and eliminate some of the oil. I think that 11 tb (nearly 3/4 c) sounds like an awful lot. You might try a sprinkle of fresh parmesan shavings, and a splash of balsamic vinegar for an extra dimension. Shrimp, chicken or pasta can easily be added if your family complains that they are 'still hungry'. I would certainly not get out the ice cream, but rather a great fruit salad with dollops of Cool Whip!

I think you did great and should be proud. By the way, sushi is not hard to make, it just takes the right materials and some practice.
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Old 11-04-2004, 08:56 PM   #10
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Your recipe sounds good, and it's very similar to the one I originally started with. I agree with the earlier comment about cutting down the olive oil - that's way too much. But like I said, modify it to meet your family's needs.

Since getting married (to a Sri Lankan - and curries are the norm here), I've had to adapt my recipe further to suit an additional person, and while I've always added way more garlic than yours called for, I've since started making it even hotter and have even added curry powder to it. Surprising to me, it tastes even better that way to me as well.

About sushi - I'm going to start a new thread on that.
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