Last call all ye wannabe preservers.
Soon enough, we’ll be forced to choose one of our off-season options for our veggies. If you’ve been a busy
preserver Ant, your winter veggies are already tucked away in jars, freezers or root cellars.
If not, you Grasshoppers can still get something put by if you hit it now. As in today.
And, if you think you would never eat vegetable stew on a regular basis, you need to work on your biggest kitchen tool of all; your brain. Not because you’re not smart, but because we’re usually too rushed to the take time to consider familiar things more deeply. When we do, we often find there’s usually a lot more “there” there. At least it is with this vegetable stew.
The key to becoming a Jedi leftover-ninja is stocking your pantry with flexible basics. Ratatouille is a chameleon of a staple that freezes up nicely and does lots of useful tricks:
- Use ratatouille in omelets or frittatas
- Pizza topping: puree to your favorite degree of chunk, add a pungent accent like capers, olives, anchovy, or hot sauce, top with grated cheese and yum.
- Blend and use as a sauce for pasta, fish or meats – add cured black olives, nice!
- Switch up your salad: serve room temperature ratatouille drizzled with vinaigrette over a bed of greens
- Dip/sandwich spread – pulse in a food processor and add one or more pungent flavors like mustard, vinegar, capers or hot sauce.
- Soup base: puree until completely smooth, then thin with your favorite stock. After that, throw in whatever else or absolutely nothing. Need I mention cream?
- Quiche – mixed with egg, Gruyère, Parmesan and milk and baked into a crust. Mmmm, old school fast food…
- Quesadilla – schmear Rat topped with shredded cheese between two tortillas & toast until crispy. What kid questions the Quesadilla?
- Hand Pies/Empanadas – mix some with beans and cheese and tuck into a circle of dough. Bake or fry, or even better, tuck some uncooked into the freezer for a quickie later.
- Quick, comforting, simple main dish: warm Rat served over cooked pasta, grain, polenta, gnocchi or noodles tossed with a little butter or oil. Top with a grated pungent cheese.
Don’t believe me? Even Thomas Keller says so. Check out his post on the LA Times sharing some of the ways he uses ratatouille. He says:
“With a little imagination, a pot of ratatouille can be a door opening onto a whole world of dishes.”
See? Tomorrow we’ll get busy with my favorite (lighter) ratatouille recipe and a system to make sure your freezer is filled with ooey, gooey, summer-vegetable goodness all winter.
Today? I just want you to think about how seriously this can make your winter better and figure out how you’re going to get your paws on the ingredients.
This is a call to action… I hope you’ll accept the challenge.
Already on board the Ratatouille train? I’m dying to know how you do Ratatouille – let us in on your ratty secrets by commenting below…