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It's about food, restaurants, recipes and just plain eating.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rat Tat Toodley!

The title of this post comes from a few old Three Stooges shorts where they chanted "rat-tat-toodley, day-day"!  I don't recall why, just the chant.  Here is a link to one - the chant comes in about 5:59.

I was preparing my favorite zucchini the other day and was prompted to blog about it.  As I was preparing it was I thinking of ratatouille, that classic dish of eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, onions and what have you that is so romantic and so . . . unpalatable.  I don't know why - I love the idea of ratatouille, I just don't like actually eating it.  It's not the eggplant - I love Moroccan Eggplant salad.  It's not the tomatoes, love those.  Onions?  They appear in practically every dish I make.  Zucchini?  Nope!  Like it cooked or raw.  It's just that combination of vegetables and the preparation of that particular dish that puts me off.

But I do love zucchini cooked this way.  The first time I had it we were on a weekend trip through Canada.  I say it was Goderich, the Man maintains it was Kitchener/Waterloo.  No matter.  We had dinner in a hotel restaurant and roast lamb with mint sauce was on the menu, accompanied by "Yorkshire Pudding" (read popover) and veg.  The veg was zucchini prepared with tomato, garlic and olive oil.  I pondered as I enjoyed my zucchini and decided I could make this at home.  Come on, it's easy.  You'll see.

Scrub and trim enough zucchini (one small one per person is about right) and tomatoes (either a small to medium tomato or several cherry or grape tomatoes per serving).  Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise, then into slices about one half inch thick on the diagonal.  They should be chunky.  Cut the tomato into chunks or cut cherry tomatoes in half.  Smash a clove or so of garlic.

Now add a glug of nice olive oil to a skillet big enough to hold all the vegetables in a single layer - you want them to sear,  not steam.  Heat the oil and toss in the garlic along with a hefty pinch of crushed red chili pepper flakes.  Add the zucchini and tomatoes and a fat pinch of salt and a generous grinding of black pepper and go to town.  Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium - high heat until sizzling and zucchini is tantalizingly brown.  The tomatoes will soften and exude their juices.  As it cooks away everything will be gilded with tomato-ey goodness.

Taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve with, oh, say, lamb chops or roast lamb (or chicken, beef, pork or whatever else you are having that day).  Think of ratatouille, and of how much better this is!

Quotable quotes; in the category Try Everything But Eat Only What You Like!

"What? No! You're in Paris now, baby! My town! No brother of mine eats rejecta-menta in my town!"

Remy, to Emile, when he discovers Emile eating some sort of wrapper - from the 2007 film Ratatouille

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It May Not Be Aauthentic But It's Good!

Beef Stroganoff is one of those dishes that should, in my humble opinion, be way easier to make than it is.  My mother-in-law makes a version using ground beef and cream of chicken soup.  'Nuff said.  But I found a way to make quick 'n easy Stroganoff using leftovers and a little ingenuity.  My recipe is also a way to use up leftover steak or roast beef, assuming you have any.  Here's how I do it.

Slice the leftover beef/steak into thin strips and set aside.  Also slice a little onion and some mushrooms (or open a can of mushrooms.  Any that you don't use can be saved for spaghetti sauce or pizza).  Saute the onion and mushroom in a little butter and/or olive oil.

Meanwhile, prepare egg noodles (or rice if you prefer) in a separate pan.

Now open a packet of brown gravy mix.  You know, the kind that comes in an envelope and is in the grocery store aisle with the instant spaghetti sauce or chili or taco seasoning mix.  It usually calls for a cup of water.  I like to mix half the water with the powder mix in a small bowl or measuring cup, then add it to the pan and stir in the remaining water.  Add this right to the pan with the onion & mushrooms.  When the gravy starts to bubble and thicken you can add the beef to heat it through.

Taste for seasonings.  You should not need additional salt but you might want some black pepper.  Just before serving stir in a few spoonfuls of sour cream and serve over hot egg noodles.

Easy, quick and tasty!

Quotable quotes; in the category Maybe So But Please Don't Add Any To My Stroganoff!

"Mustard's no good without roast beef."  Chico Marx