Thursday, April 25, 2013

#ThrowbackThursday: Ratatouille!

Yes, again! Today is all about food. Don't ask me why.

I was going through Facebook's new timeline and saw that my old notes now appear on my info border. Stumbled upon this note, which was an original post on the SYSU Gourmet Blog (now defunct), which I initially wrote for (the first few issues were written by moi, I think this was my last post) back when I was still handling brand with the food group.

So, in honor of #ThrowbackTuesdays, and so you readers get to try something "Filipino-Mediterranean" (as I've labeled it since we tried to localize the dish), below is my post about making Ratatouille with what we have on-hand in the Philippines. Enjoy!

Rainy Days Come and Go... 

Have you noticed how terrible the weather has been lately? Well, back in June and July, we hardly had rain. Then towards the end of last month, we'd have really weird weather - scorching hot mid-days, then pouring rain in the afternoons! This makes for very lazy weather, don't you think? :P Makes you want to head to the mall and chill out, huh? Maybe take in a movie or check out some of the new food places...

Speaking of Movies and Food... (what a segue!) We were able to catch the advanced screening of the new Disney Pixar Movie, Ratatouille (pronounced as Ra-Ta-Tu-Wee). And we must say we LOVED the movie. Hmmm... not really sure about the Kikkoman Brand Manager though, she winced each time she saw all those rats onscreen (who could forget the scene where the ceiling falls and the colony is exposed? hahaha!) but the rest of us sure loved the movie! So much so that we got so curious about the real Ratatouille - the dish and not the... uh... Rat (whose name's Remy, by the way). So right after, we searched the net for the easiest Ratatouille recipe there is, only to be disappointed because all the recipes called for baking (and we didn't have an oven on hand... *sigh*). But one 5-star recipe we did find had dozens of comments, and we poured over each one, curious to see if anyone tried making the dish stove-top style. And there was this one college girl who got so interested in the dish because of the movie. Like us, she didn't have an oven, so she decided to toss everything in a saucepan instead. The end result turned out great or in her exact words -fabuloso! Ha! We decided to do the same thing. We headed over to the nearest supermarket, bought the ingredients available in the Philippines and went home to make our own version of Ratatouille. And boy, we were in for a treat because the dish we made already smelled delicioso right when we were making it. and it tasted great too (we actually zipped through the whole pan)! And yes, it didn't exactly look like the Ratatouille masterpiece Remy made in the movie... uh... ours looked a bit like mush. but hey, if mush tasted this good, we'll have mush everyday! :)

My very first attempt at making Ratatouille.
Ratatouille is a mediterranean peasant dish. Apparently, this is one cheap dish in places where all the ingredients come cheap (read: not in the Philippines, haha), but we tweaked the recipe a bit and came up with an affordable yet hearty (can we say delicioso again?) version.

1 Tbsp La Espanola Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 large cloves Garlic, minced (you can add more if you LOVE garlic)
1 large White Onion, sliced
1 large Eggplant, thinly sliced
1 large Zucchini, thinly sliced
1/8 Squash, peeled and thinly sliced (yes, take out the hard skin, of course!)
1 Green Bell Pepper, cut into strips
1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into strips (optional)
1/2 Cup Mushrooms, cut into strips (we used oyster mushrooms)
2 large Tomatoes, chopped
Salt to taste
Pinch of McCormick Rosemary
1/2 Cup Clara Ole Three Cheese Spaghetti Sauce
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese (divide into 5 parts, parts depend on the number of veggies you are using)
1/4 Cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1. In a large saucepan, saute Garlic in La Espanola Extra Virgin Olive Oil until light brown in color. Add half of the sliced Onions until Onions are coated in oil.
2. Add Eggplant. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and some of your Parmesan Cheese. Mix well. When Eggplant is half-cooked, add the Squash. Sprinkle a pinch of Salt and some Parmesan Cheese. Mix well. Add the Zucchini, sprinkle again with a bit of Salt and some Parmesan Cheese. Mix well. Add the rest of the vegetables (Mushrooms, Bell Pepper, Tomatoes and remaining Onions). Sprinkle with a bit of Salt and some Parmesan Cheese. Mix well.
3. Add Clara Ole Three Cheese Spaghetti Sauce, small pinch of McCormick Rosemary and the remaining Parmesan Cheese. Mix well.
4. Put on medium heat until the sauce comes to a boil.
5. Transfer to a foil pan or microwaveable container. Sprinkle Mozzarella Cheese on top. Serve over pasta, rice or as is.

You may opt to put the dish in the Toaster Oven for about 3 minutes (or 30 seconds in the Microwave) to melt the cheese, if you wish. The good thing about Ratatouille is that you can freeze leftovers and the vegetables still come out crunchy when reheated. It actually tastes a lot like lasagna. Difference is, this is made entirely without meat, and the ingredients are good for you. What more, you can try making this dish for your kids while the movie's such a hit. Don't say we didn't warn you if they start asking for more.

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