Foodie patootie

I cook.
And I like to eat.
But I don't consider myself a "foodie." 

(In fact, I'm not really sure what a foodie is,  but it sounds too much like "roadie" or "groupie" for it to have a positive connotation, but that's not important right now.)

Okay, so I admit I sometimes (okay, well.... a lot of the time) sit down to read a cookbook like you would a novel. But that doesn't make me a foodie, does it?

And yes, it's true that I would totally be addicted to the Food Network if we actually had cable, which we don't because of that whole addictive-personality thing I'm constantly battling. 

So I decided to stray from my usual Cuban menu. I don't know. I was craving something hot, but not soup, maybe some kind of stew.... and I have been working harder to put fresh vegetables on the table.... 

My kids happened to be watching a movie when I suddenly had an inspiration.

Sooo... thanks to the demi-gods at Disney/Pixar, I knew exactly what I wanted to make!


Ratatouille (Vegetable Stew)

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
4 zucchini, peeled, quartered and diced
1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes in puree
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh shredded basil
2 Tbsp. fresh minced Italian parsley
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

(I made this in my pressure cooker and it only took 20 minutes of preparation and 6 minutes to cook.)

Ratatouille peppers
1) In a large frying pan, heat olive oil and sauté onions, garlic, green and red bell peppers until onion is soft.
2) Add zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, vegetable stock, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes.
3) Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer about 15 to 20 minutes.  (Or in pressure cooker, cook at high pressure for 6 minutes) When vegetables are soft (but not mushy) it's done.
4) Add fresh basil, parsley, and balsamic vinegar.
Ratatouille in pot
5) Season with salt & pepper to taste.
6) Serve hot over rice.

The ratatouille was WONDERFUL! 

And in my own defense, it wasn't the cute little French-rat-cook that inspired me, it was the lingering fantasy of having my own kitchen staff:

But everybody dreams about this, right? Right??

Uh-oh... I might be a foodie, after all.  *sigh*

Emile: W-w-wait. You read?
Remy: Well, not excessively.
Emile: Oh, man. Does dad know?
Remy: You could fill a book - a lot of books - with things Dad doesn't know. And they have. Which is why I read. Which is also our secret.
Emile: I don't like secrets. All this cooking and-and reading and TV-watching, while we read and cook. It's like you're involving me in crime and I let you. Why do I let you?

                                                                                                       ~ from Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille