Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Eat to Live Cookbook Project: Cremini Ratatouille

I have found that if I do a lot of cooking on weekend mornings, that I still have some time in my weekday evenings to try out an additional recipe from the Eat to Live Cookbook. It is for that reason that last week I was able to pull off one additional cooking session of Cremini Ratatouille.

This dish was a necessary addition to our food for the week and made for a really nice sit down dinner with my family on Friday evening. I served it with cabbage soup given to me by a girlfriend, a big salad with the dressing leftover from this salad (which has been a HUGE hit with my girlfriends) and a pot of whole wheat linguine with no-salt pasta sauce (so there was something on the table for the little kids).

And while my husband, oldest daughter and I did enjoy the Cremini Ratatouille from the Eat to Live Cookbook, I do have to say, IMHO, that my own personal recipe for Ratatouille, which I made a few weeks ago, rocks over this recipe. Whichever recipe you chose to make, it's a wonderful thing.

Cremini Ratatouille
from The Eat to Live Cookbook by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, p. 189

Did I like it? With my additional ingredient, tomato paste, I did.

Was it easy to make with readily available ingredients? The ingredients are standard, but plan on having at least and hour and a half to make this dish, maybe longer. At least 45 minutes of that is passive cooking time though.

What specifically did I like about the recipe? It's tasty, very low calorie and filling.

What specifically didn't I like about the recipe? I learned a long time ago that different vegetables cook at a different rates, and that if you add vegetables to a pot at the same time that have different cooking times, you just might end up with a dish that has some overcooked vegetables and some under cooked vegetables. That's why when I make Ratatouille, I prefer to oven roast my eggplant prior to putting it in the pot with the other ingredients. I also add my other vegetables to the in rough order of what takes to longest amount of time to cook to what takes the shortest amount of time.

Therefore, instead of using the method as written in the Eat to Live Cookbook, I followed my own cooking method for this dish:
(1) I oven roasted the cubes of eggplant at 350 degrees for 30 minutes before using in the recipe.
(2) I let the onions cook for 10 minutes instead of 3.
(3) Once adding the garlic, I let the onions and garlic cook for an additional 8 minutes.
(4) Then I added the tomatoes (I used no-salt fire roasted canned tomatoes that I got on deep discount at Whole Foods last week-what a score!), zucchini, mushrooms and peppers.
(5) After the dish was cooked, I made an executive decision to add one half of a can of tomato paste. I just like my Ratatouille with a deep tomato flavor and this addition makes all of the difference, IMHO.

Did my husband like it? Yes

Did my teenage daughter like it? Yes, but not as much as the adults did.

Did my eight or five year old try it? My eight year old had three bites of the eggplant and said, "It's okay." I'll take it!

Would I make it again? No, but not because it's bad--it's just that I prefer my Ratatouille recipe, which you can find here. But this recipe has inspired me to add mushrooms to my Ratatouille recipe, because it's a healthy ingredient that I'd like to eat more of.

Overall Grade (completely unscientific, I admit):  C as written/B as made with my changes, and not to be a total jerk, but I give my own Ratatouille recipe an A and you can find that here. Bottom line, Ratatouille is a fantastic Nutritarian dish that should probably be in all of our repertoires, no matter how you make it!

Have you made Dr. Fuhrman's Cremini Ratatouille? What were your impressions? Leave a comment below.

Still don't have the book? What are you waiting for? These recipes are inspiring.

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