Sunday, September 8, 2013

Simple Stove Top Ratatouille

My move to CA is complete. My beloved house in Minneapolis is sold. It's bittersweet. I am grateful for the opportunity, however I also miss the home that I had for over 10 years. I know I will miss the familiarity of Minneapolis, my grocers, CSA, my summer farmer friends at the market, Then there were the guys at Coastal Seafoods. Through the years, they made me feel at "home" by bringing in all the "exotic" (to Minnesotan standard) seafoods from the Pacific. Can't forget everyone at United Noodles. They made my cooking class simple, whenever someone asked me about where he/she could pick up the ingredients, I handed them a United Noodles card!!

My day-job is crazy busy, I am learning a new business. To make it even crazier, the physical move took about 30 days longer than I planned. This is the first week I finally feel this is my home. I discovers a farmers market in Palos Verdes, CA. It is a smaller market. It's not crowded and great selection of vegetable and everything I need. I now have a new fish guy - Dry Dock Fish. Great quality seafoods and variety. I love the weekly email letting me know what's available. Thanks Stephan!

My very dear friend  Gigi in Hong Kong asked me for a ratatouille recipe. Gigi is not much of a cook, but she is the best mom I know. It was requested by her son Adrian (my beloved "nephew") who just graduated from college.

Classically Ratatouille is baked, highlighting eggplant, tomatoes and summer squash, such as yellow squash or zucchini. In Asia, most of the eggplants are the Chinese/Japanese "slimmer" variety and most of the home in Hong Kong do not have an oven. Further it's simply too hot to turn on the oven with this hot summer weather. This is modified stovetop version. It's quite simple. Ratatouille is a tomato base dish, the sauce is usually red, however I am using yellow heirloom tomato, the sauce here is a bit more orange. I also added a carrot to the recipe. The sweetness of the carrot helps balance the acidity of the tomato. If you are vegan, skip the cheese at the end...

Great to be back cooking with you... Mai ka'i no...

Stove top Ratatouille

1 medium zucchini - cleaned and cut into 1" pieces
1 red pepper - cleaned, cored, cut into 1" pieces
1 medium size carrot- cleaned, peeled an cut into 1" piece
1 large tomato (I am using an heirloom yellow variety here) - cleaned and cut into 1" piece.
1 small onion - peeled, cleaned and sliced.
1 large clove garlic - peeled, cleaned and sliced
1 cup sliced mushroom
1/2 basil leaves - packed - cleaned. Divide into 1 portion. Roughly chopped 1 portion and finally chopped the reminding half.
1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley - cleaned and finally chopped.
1/2 tsp herb de provence
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Option: - grated parmesan cheese
Over medium high heat, heat 2-3 tbsp of olive oil. I am not using a non-stick pan, I am putting in a little more olive oil that I would usually do. Add onion and garlic, sauté till translucent and soften
 Sprinkle in herb de provence, cooked till the onion start to caramelize
 Add red pepper and carrot, let it cooke for 3-4 mins
 Stir in Zucchini, and let it brown lightly, about 4-5 mins.
 Add tomato and mushroom, mix well.
 Then vegetable stock, season with salt and pepper. Let it cook for 3-4 mins and the mushroom is softened.
 Add rough chopped basils. Mix well. Reduce heat to med. Cover and let it cook for about 5 min till the vegetable are tender, but not overcooked.

 Add the rest of the basil and parsley, turn the heat up slightly to reduce and thicken the sauce. You will  have quite a bit of liquid from the tomato, mushroom and zucchini.

You can transfer the stew to a casserole, garnish with a few basil leaves with optional sprinkle of grated or shredded parmesan cheese.  Or you can serve it individually. I love to serve with rice or risotto.

Serve 2-3 as a main course.



  1. Simple & easy recipe, will definitely try:) Thanks Jeannie!

  2. Adrian & Joe will probably like but not Denise the picky princess haha! I am eating veggie on 1 & 15 Lunar calendar now, so one of option for me.

    1. It's colorful, she likes colors :). Next time I will figure how to put mango with vegetarian dish...

  3. This is your Minnesota Gigi. I love this recipe which I can use with the fresh veggies in season now. Will cook this tomorrow. Thanks.