Monday, September 13, 2010

Ratatouille with steamed quinoa and grilled lemon-pepper chicken.

Ratatouille-This is how it looks when done
Ratatouille is a fall vegetable galore where practically any fall veggie can be included in the dish. It turned out to be colorful and delicious and even the kids loved it. The basic flavor is that of thyme and a combo of eggplant, peppers, zucchini, squash and potatoes all add their own taste to this dish. I tried to make it look like Remy's dish in the movie "Ratatouille" by cutting all the veges in round and arranging them in a spiral by overlapping them slightly. here is the recipe.

This is how I arranged the vegetables in the casserole


1 small eggplant
1 green zucchini
1 yellow zucchini
1 large red bell pepper
1/2 of a small butternt squash
2 red potatoes
1 small red onion sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 can of tomato puree
olive oil
thyme (fresh or dry)
salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large pan on medium high heat, sauté onion and garlic till they turn pink. 
  2. Add tomato purée along with seasoning and thyme and cook till the sauce bubbles up, around 5-7 minutes. It should make a thin sauce. Can add a quarter cup of water if it becomes too thick. 
  3. While the sauce is making preheat the oven to 425 F and grease a large casserole dish. 
  4. Slice all the veges keeping uniform thickness in all. this if the key to this dish cooking evenly. You can use a mandolin to slice if you prefer. Pour a bit of olive oil and season the veges with salt, cracked black pepper and thyme and mix thoroughly to evenly coat them. 
  5. At the bottom if the casserole dish, pour the tomato sauce and cover the base evenly with it. 
  6. Arrange seasoned veges the way you see in the picture above. Sprinkle thyme on top. 
  7. Cover the dish with a parchment paper and bake for 40-45 minutes until all the veges are cooked.
This is a new superfood gaining popularity and can be used in many different recipes. My family loved its nutty taste and it was a lot lighter on the system than rice. I just steamed it with salt to use as a side dish.
To read all about this grain go to this website.

Raw quinoa seeds
Cooked quinoa

1 cup quinoa
2 cups of water or chicken broth
salt to taste
  1. Wash quinoa for 2 minutes in a strainer. this is necessary to remove a soapy residue on the seeds. 
  2. Add water and salt and bring to boil. 
  3. Simmer and cook covered for 12- 15 minutes till the seeds absorb all the liquid. fluff with a fork and enjoy.

Lemon Pepper Chicken

4 chicken drumsticks or thighs
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
coarsely cracked black pepper -- as per choice of heat
juice and rind of 1 lemon
salt to taste
  1. Remove skin of the chicken and wash. Pat dry and give 2 diagonal slits. This helps marinade go deep within the chicken. 
  2. Mix all the ingredients of the marinade and smear evenly on the chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight or at least for 4 hours. 
  3. Grill on a barbecue till chicken is done from the inside and gets a lovely golden colour on the outside for approximately 20 - 25 minutes. Turn to ensure even cooking. 
  4. OR grill in the top rack of the oven at high for 20 minutes.

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