Ratatouille: a simple classic

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With holiday entertaining just around the corner, I love this ratatouille for its simplicity, presentation and better yet, low maintenance. All you need to do is slice, stack, and bake. The majority of the time spent for this dish is in the baking, which frees you up to do other things – like preparing other parts of your feast or getting ready to look your best! Either way, it’s a win win.

Ingredients: (serves 4-6)

  • 1 Japanese eggplant (you can use regular eggplant too, I like the Japanese eggplants as they’re bigger in girth, which works better for stacking)
  • 4 medium tomatos
  • 1 large zucchini or 2-3 small ones
  • Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, or fresh if you have it
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

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Summer-kissed macaroni pasta

Photo credit: Vivian Chan

My mom got me a gorgeous new titanium/cast iron pot that you can apparently cook anything in without adding oil or water and it’s non-stick. I couldn’t wait to try it out. Last night, I made a risotto – true enough, nothing stuck. Tonight, I gave it another whirl. So, with a fridge full of our biweekly local foodshare harvest, I decided to whip up something that would take full advantage of all that wonderful summer produce: a summer-kissed macaroni pasta. The great thing about this is that you can use any fresh produce you have – feel free to substitute with what you have. The only important thing are the tomatoes.

Ingredients:
Makes 4-5 servings

  • 4 strands of garlic scape, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 leeks, chopped
  • 5 peeled tomatoes, chopped (you can leave the peels if you like, I took them off this time for a smoother texture)
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • 1 to 2 cups arugula leaves, chopped
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of salt, to taste
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of pepper, to taste
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of lime or lemon zest
  • 1 squeezed lime or 1/2 squeezed lemon
  • 1/2 tablespoon mixed Italian spices (oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon of butter (optional)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of shredded parmesan or romano cheese
  • 2 cups of macaroni
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