Tag Archives: basil

Speedy Ratatouille

28 Aug

Speedy Ratatouille

This dish is magic.  It’s full of vegetables, but despite that, my kids seem to love it.  I was shocked when they asked for a second helping the first time I made it.  Thinking it was a fluke, I made it again a few weeks later.  Again, they emptied their bowls and asked for more.  It’s become a family staple.  Nowadays they even get excited when I tell them we’re having ratatouille for dinner.

This would be a great dinner for company, because you can make it the day before (see notes below).  Be sure to serve it with crusty bread….mmm.

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, cored and finely chopped (in a pinch, I just use canned tomatoes)
  • 1 cup loosely packed shredded basil leaves*
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup crumbled aged goat cheese
  1. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the eggplant and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add one-third of the garlic, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggplant to a plate.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the casserole along with the zucchini and yellow squash and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Add another one-third of the garlic, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetables to the eggplant.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the casserole, along with the onion and bell pepper. Cook over moderate heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the remaining garlic, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, two-thirds of the basil and the reserved vegetables and cook over moderate heat until the tomatoes have broken down and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining basil along with the lemon zest and juice. Transfer to bowls and sprinkle with the goat cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Make Ahead: The ratatouille can be refrigerated overnight.  In fact, it’s even better the next day.  Just wait to do the lemon and goat cheese until you’re ready to serve.
*If you don’t have fresh basil on hand, you can substitute dried basil.  I add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon to each batch of cooking veggies.
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Turkey Tea Sandwiches

18 Dec

https://i2.wp.com/www.barefootcontessa.com/images/left_pix/recipes/499_59%20turkey%20Tea%20Sandwiches.jpg

I threw a baby shower for a friend recently and these babies were on the menu.   They were divine.  The basil really makes them superior, so don’t skip it.  I used about 4 leaves per whole sandwich (1 leaf per tea sandwich).

The recipe calls for Raisin Nut bread, but I couldn’t find any without cinnamon, so I substituted Cranberry-Orange bread with great success.  Any non-cinnamon fruit bread should do the trick.

TURKEY TEA SANDWICHES

Ingredients

Scallion cream cheese:

  • 3/4 pound (12 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup minced scallions (white and green parts)
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Sandwiches:

  • 16 thin slices of dense raisin-nut bread (or any fruit bread without cinnamon)
  • 8 thin slices fresh or smoked turkey breast
  • Fresh basil leaves

Directions

For the scallion cream cheese, combine the cream cheese, scallions and the salt and pepper in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Do not whip.

Lay out 16 slices of bread and spread them all with a thin layer of scallion cream cheese. Place a single layer of turkey on half the slices, cutting the edges to fit the bread. Place the basil leaves randomly on top of the turkey. Top with the other 8 slices of bread, cream cheese side down. Lay the sandwiches on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, cover with damp paper towels and wrap the sheet with plastic. Refrigerate until the cream cheese is cold and firm. Place the sandwiches on a cutting board and, with a very sharp knife, cut off the crusts. Cut each large sandwich in half diagonally, twice, to make a total of 4 small triangles. Serve chilled.

Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa cookbook.