a community blog of gastrophiles for all seasons

Monday, October 20, 2008


I found this recipe at, which is an awesome foodie website. I stuff this in a pita with a little shredded swiss cheese and it's ohhhhh sooooo goood. I think it would be easy to make variations of it to fit various purposes. Enjoy!

Ratatouille’s Ratatouille
As envisioned by Smitten Kitchen

1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 cup tomato puree (such as Pomi)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant (my store sells these “Italian Eggplant” that are less than half the size of regular ones; it worked perfectly)
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 longish red bell pepper
Few sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Few tablespoons soft goat cheese, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, approximately 10 inches across the long way. Drop the sliced garlic cloves and chopped onion into the sauce, stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper.

Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. As carefully as you can, trim the ends off the red pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact, like a tube.

On a mandoline, adjustable-blade slicer or with a very sharp knife, cut the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick.

Atop the tomato sauce, arrange slices of prepared vegetables concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a smidgen of each flat surface is visible, alternating vegetables. You may have a handful leftover that do not fit.

Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper. Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs with your fingertips, running them down the stem. Sprinkle the fresh thyme over the dish.

Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside. (Tricky, I know, but the hardest thing about this.)

Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.

Serve with a dab of soft goat cheese on top, alone, or with some crusty French bread, atop polenta, couscous, or your choice of grain.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mary's Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

It's been such a long time that I've posted to this blog that I can't remember any of my sign-in information. Richard was kind enough to let me use his...

I used a regular scalloped potato recipe as my guide for creating this sweet potato version (it was useful for figuring out cooking times as well as how much liquid to use). It isn't a fast dish to put together - it has to bake for about an hour and a half - but it is very good. I think we might make this instead of traditional sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving this year.

2 lbs sweet potatoes, sliced and peeled
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk (skim is fine)
1/3 apple butter (you can usually find this on the jam aisle, pumpkin butter would also work)
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
3 oz (approximately) grated Gruyere cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Saute the onion in the olive oil. Add the lemon juice and cook until the onion turns translucent.

Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Layer half of the potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper. Top with the cooked onion. Put the rest of the potatoes on top of the onion. Sprinkle more salt and pepper on the potatoes.

Over medium heat, whisk together flour and butter until smooth and bubbly. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and apple butter. Slowly add to the butter and flour being careful not to let lumps form. Cook until it starts to boil and thicken. Add parmesan cheese and curry powder, and if you like, more salt and pepper (depending on how much you already put on the potatoes). Pour this sauce over the potatoes.

Cover the casserole dish loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Take off the foil and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
Finally, top the potatoes with the gruyere and bake an additional 10 minutes