Archive for February 18th, 2008

Party report and Ratatouille

Monday, February 18th, 2008

We had a very nice time at the Valentine’s themed party we attended Saturday evening. We got to know some couples from the community we hadn’t met before and had a good time of conversation, playing foosball, a gift exchange, and eating appetizers.

For my contribution to the refreshments, I finally settled on bringing a layered dip. I got the basic idea for the dip from the site, modifying their recipe for 10-Minute Appetizer. I used half as much mayonnaise as called for in the cream cheese layer, topped that with prepared pesto, and then topped that with Ratatouille, sprinkled with shredded cheese.

The Ratatouille recipe is from my old Sunset Cook Book of Favorite Recipes. Here it is:


“Even beyond its rich flavor yet relatively low calorie content, Ratatouille has other qualities which account for its popularity: It tastes better made ahead (even a day or more old) and is just as good cold as reheated.”

About ½ cup olive oil

2 large onions, sliced

2 large cloves garlic, minced or mashed

1 medium-sized eggplant, peeled and cut in ½-inch cubes

6 medium-sized zucchini, thickly sliced (I forgot the zucchini, but it was still good)

1 green and 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut in chunks

About 2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon dried basil

4 large tomatoes, cut in chunks (I omitted these also)

Heat ¼ cup of the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until onions are soft but not browned. Stir in the eggplant, zucchini, peppers, 2 teaspoons salt, and basil; add a little of the oil as needed to keep the vegetables from sticking.

Cover pan and cook over moderate heat for about 30 minutes; stir occasionally, using a large spatula and turning the vegetables to help preserve their shape. If mixture becomes quite soupy, remove cover.

Add the tomatoes to the vegetables and stir to blend. Also add more oil if vegetables are sticking. Cover and cook over moderate heat for 15 minutes; stir occasionally. Again, if mixture becomes soupy, remove cover. Ratatouille should have a little free liquid, but still be of a good spoon-and-serve consistency. Add more salt if required. Serve hot, chilled, at room temperature, or reheated. Garnish with parsley and tomato. Serves 8 to 10.