Create a meal inspired by music – that was the assignment this week from /food52 and one I was perfectly comfortable with. Music has always been a big part of my life, from my dancing days to singing in the choir to singing along with the radio. Some of my earliest memories are of making up dances with sisters – complete with a doll audience and re-purposed dance costumes. Since starting my blog I have picked song titles to go along with my recipes and occasionally have decided to cook something based on hearing a certain song. For this challenge I wanted to do something BIG, something that would push me in some way while still remaining true to the challenge. So I started thinking about my favorite songs, eliminating those that had already been used, and focusing on ones that really have meaning. In the end I decided to go with a song that I first heard when I was in elementary school watching the Today show with my mom.
The 10th Anniversary cast of Les Miserables was being interviewed and while I was originally completely transfixed by Lea Salgona’s Eponine the tall, dark, and handsome (curly hair!!!) gentleman next to her was extremely distracted. During the interview he gave a quick demo of Marius’s solo and I was sold – from that point on I was a Les Miserable fanatic. While I have featured lyrics from On My Own before, which I was convinced was my “theme song” during High School, I decided to focus on the song that sold me on the musical. Marius sings “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” after realizing he is the lone survivor of his friends. I wanted to create the type of meal that might have been served in the cafe, at that table in the corner…if the guys were vegetarian.
4 tbsp EVOO, dived
1 large American Eggplant, sliced 1/2 in thick
1 green pepper, sliced 1/2 in thick
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 zucchini,sliced 1/4 in thick
1 yellow squash, sliced 1/4 in thick
2 portabella mushrooms, sliced and gilled
2 tbsp red wine
14 oz can diced tomatoes (or 4 large tomatoes if in season)
salt and pepper (to taste)
- Preheat oven to 425
- Toss the green pepper and eggplant in 2tbsp of EVOO and layer on a roasting pan. Cook for 30 minutes, turning once. Set aside
- Meanwhile heat the remaining EVOO in a large saucepan over medium heat, along with the dried spices. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently, then add the garlic, zucchini, squash, and mushrooms. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring a few times to prevent sticking, then add the roasted vegetables.
- Add the red wine along with the tomatoes, then cover and allow dish to simmer for 20minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy!
wild mushrooms - such as Italian brown - can be used in placed of the portabella for a more woodsy taste
I served this with some left over noodles and crusty bread since I didn’t want any of the sauce to escape. This might not be the most traditional ratatouille recipe out there, but it was warm, comforting, and perfect for sharing with friends.