The Doors perform that childhood classic, “Reading Rainbow”
Has someone ever asked you the question, “If you could have any super power, what would it be?”? When I hear that question I usually think to myself “I wish I could eat and sleep at the same time” and then I say out loud “I would breath underwater…”
I wish I could eat and sleep at the same time right now. I did not sleep very well last night and I definitely feel a cold coming on. Nothing sounds better than being able to eat some comfort food while I get some medicine induced slumber. But alas there are two things wrong with this fantasy; i don’t like to take medicine, and if i had the ability to sleep and eat at the same time my metabolism would crash and i would probably gain 100lbs. I guess some fantasies are better left in my imagination and not in reality. Either way, while driving home from work today in the freezing bitter rain, I gripped the steering wheel tightly and steadied my glance in the direction of home with a nod as i thought of dinner: ratatouille.
Rainy Day Ratatouille
1 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
2 T olive oil
1 chopped eggplant
1 can chopped, peeled tomatoes (i recommend san marzano!)
2 chopped zucchinis (enjoy the texture)
1 chopped green pepper
4 T white wine vinegar or sherry
1. sauté onion, garlic and oil until onion is soft. stir freq to keep the garlic from burning.
2. stare at the garlic… think about how sick you are. remember buddy takes garlic when he feels sick. put the garlic away.
3. add all other ingredients (this includes the liquid in the can with the tomatoes) and a few dashes of salt and pepper. stir. cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. pull garlic out of the pantry. stare. look up the anti-bacterial healing properties of garlic. quickly peel and mince the garlic into a tablespoon of honey. stare at the menacing dripping mass. swallow the whole shebang without giving yourself a chance to talk yourself out of it. feel the burn.
5. instantly regret swallowing the garlic. feeling pretty sure you overdosed on garlic.
6. uncover ratatouille and let it simmer for another 5 min until most of the liquid is gone.
7. feel like hurling. seriously hurling. consider gulping sherry to get rid of the burning churning in your stomach. find grapejuice in the fridge and chug it. feel a little better.
8. serve up the ratatouille and flavor with additional salt and pepper. thoroughly regret swallowing the garlic.
brings cozy times reading on the couch until it gets dark, your favorite sweaters, cute jackets, fall colors outside and in, and warm food that makes you feel good. I love fall food. Savory soups made with hearty vegetables that melt in your mouth and dense broth that restores health to your bones. The aromas of baking pastries with cinnamon lathered fruits in the middle. Cookies that have ginger and shortbread and marzipan! Breads that have fruit and cinnamon and sugar. Those sister spices of fall make their welcome appearance to the front of your spice rack, ready for the daily grind with a grin on their face and a mischievous gleam in their eye… allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and of course… more cinnamon!!
Although I always love baking more, I think cooking is the most fun in fall. There’s a cozy feel of being in the warm kitchen with the stove bubbling, your long sleeves rolled up around your elbows and cutting root vegetables that can be casually tossed into a large dutch oven to ruminate and get cozy with their neighbor veggies in a savory broth bath. One of my favorite, easy to make comfort foods is Moroccan Chicken. I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart’s Great Food Fast cookbook. It is easy to prepare, low maintenance to cook, and makes tons of food for yummy leftovers! Side note: I also love that the prep needed for this recipe involves chopping things in large chunks. Plus, I enjoy cutting zucchini! I just like the texture of cutting through ripe zucs… call me weird. I have a thing with textures and tactile sensations. I hope I just enlightened you to a new appreciation for zucs!
Come on in fall! I open the door whole heartedly. But hurry up and don’t let the cold in!
~ 2lb of your favorite parts of chicken (thighs or breasts?) cut into chunks
3 carrots, chopped in large chunks
3 onions, thinly sliced
1 14.5 oz (or larger) can of cut, peeled tomatoes. I will settle for nothing less that San Marzano tomatoes! Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to them ASAP. I even save a handful to toast on bread and drizzle olive oil on top as a pre-dinner snack with a spirited bev 😉
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
1 3/4 C chicken broth
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground tumeric
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t chili powder
2 zucchini chopped in large chunks (savor the chopping 😉
2 C dry couscous (2 cups chicken broth and 2 T butter for making the couscous)
-Combine all the ingredients from the chicken to the chili powder in a large pot or dutch oven (make sure you add the juice along with the tomatoes!). You can accidentally toss in the zucchini if you forget to separate everything like i did. Smile at how easy this recipe is already. Add a large dash of salt and pepper.
– Simmer covered for 20 minutes or until the veggies are tender and the chicken is cooked. Add zucchinis in after 10 min if you didn’t add them already.
-Meanwhile, bring chicken broth and butter to a boil. Once butter is all melted, add couscous and stir well. remove from heat and leave covered to cook for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
-Pour a heaping mound of couscous into a bowl and top with the chicken dish. Enjoy!