Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My budding chef

I was unpacking some of my cookbooks last night and I12 was excited to once again have his cookbooks. He has said for several years that he wants to be a chef when he grows up, and he is getting to be good enough at cooking- even at 12- that it could be a possibility.
What did he make? Here's some photos. (Please excuse the disastrous mess you can see in the background. We haven't figured out the recycling system here yet and things are stacked everywhere.)
A trip to the garden for supplies.
He (with help) harvested eggplant, tomatoes, onions, a pepper and some basil. Any ideas yet?
Chopping tomatoes
Stirring a chunky tomato sauce with onions, garlic, green pepper and basil.
Ok, I'll admit, I supervised and used the mandoline slicer for the rest of the veggies (to save his fingers but more my sanity!)
And now the finished product:
Ratatouille ala Ian
Most ratatouille is more chunky like a stew but he wanted to make it like they made in the movie of the same name (which is a great movie, by the way). It was fabulous!!! We melted a little cheese on the top at the last minute and served it over pasta! What a great vegetarian meal for the week and except for the yellow squash from my Mom, the cheese and the pasta, it was all grown in our garden.
Here's what he did.
Coarsely chop 2-3 cups tomatoes (we had about 2- all we had ripe but would have liked a few more).
Put tomatoes in a sauce pan with one chopped small onion, half a green bell pepper, also chopped, salt, pepper and about 1 tablespoon shredded fresh basil. Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes until the tomatoes soften.
Spoon half of tomato sauce into bottom of pan. Place alternating layers of veggies in a circular pattern around the edge and in the middle of the pan. We used 2 small eggplant, 2 small yellow squash, one medium red onion and a few more whole leaves of basil. Make it pretty.
Spoon the remaining tomato sauce over the top, cover with foil and bake at 375* for about 35 minutes, remove the foil, sprinkle with finely shredded cheese (we used a blend of mozarella, parmesan and asiago). Turn off the oven and put the dish back into the oven for just long enough for the cheese to melt.
Serve over pasta (we used penne) with extra shredded cheese if desired.


  1. Well ddone I12 :-) Great looking ingredients, and I want to dive into the end product! What I love about ratatouille dishes is all the ways they can be morphed to make different meals. Yum.

  2. I am impressed! Tell I12 I am making his dish Friday night! Half of being a chef is presentation, and he got it down pat - that dish looks like a cookbook cover, tell him to put that picture in his chef school application, lol! Yum...

  3. p.s. I bet he was excited to use that new range! not bad equipment for someone his age, eh? It will be amazing to see what he can do with a hot plate in college :)

  4. Excellant, and I too love the movie! :)

  5. yum! i'll have to try that this summer. i loved the movie, too.


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