I have nothing but admiration for Julia Child.
Her relentless dedication to her craft, her quirky self-deprecating sense of humor and the absolute down-to-earth manner with which she approaches her food and life are all things I admire.
Her recipes guarantee success....if you have a whole day, a slew of servants to do the dishes and myriad pots and pans to dirty endlessly.
The truth of the matter is, in my world of attention deficit and too much to do with too little time, I can barely keep up with what I've read by the time I reach the last line of her recipe.
Which is why I love that she challenges me!
Once a year every August, I teach a culinary class in tribute to Julia Child which is the all motivation I need to do this - take Julia's recipes, keep her end goal in mind and work it for today's kitchen & our busy lives.
I'm happy to say, that most of the time we reach a happy medium and the results are tremendously satisfying.
Which brings us to days Ratatouille.
In Julia's recipe, she asks that we,
a) peel the eggplant, dice and zucchini, salt and rest to remove the bitterness.
Check! But I must admit I don't always peel because the veggies hold so much nuitrition in their peels.
b) pan fry the eggplant-zucchini in batches to a slight golden brown.
c) Saute peppers and onions together and add tomatoes to make a sauce.
Ok! on the sauteeing but not on the addition of the tomatoes here....more on that later
d) layer the sauteed vegetables with the tomato sauce and cook in layers to finish.
the end result she's trying to achieve here is vegetables that are not mushy.
But here's how we're going to do that without the extra steps,
- I salt the vegetables, saute the onions and peppers with salt to soften the onions, add the vegetables and cook with lid to soften to a crunchy tender.
- add the tomatoes and parsley and cook for another 15-20 minutes without the lid on.
- finish cooking the veggies with the lid on.
This lid on-lid off method of cooking may sound like somthing out of a karate kid movie but works wonderfully well.
No mushy veggies at all! Without all the extra steps and pots and pans.
And I finally finish with a basil chiffonade (thinly sliced strips of basil) which is not in Julia's recipe but I think does so much to freshen and lighten the vegetables....that lovely summer ending!
Hope you'll agree! Bon appetite!