Ratatouille ~ With Pizzaz

I am so in love with the beautiful flavour of the fresh tomatoes that linger on in the season that I had to make some to enjoy them.  So I decided to make ratatouille.   In the beginning of the process the eggplant got charred to carbon in  literally minutes in my Vulcan convection air oven.  So not to give up I moved to a frying pan and made the ratatouille anyway substituting poblano peppers for the eggplant.  My Italian friend said it was the best ratatouille she had ever had!  Gone was the bitterness that was imparted by the eggplant and the heat of the poblano was not really noticeable.  It added just a background of mild heat and umami if you will.  We used this as an accompaniment for our meal and as a filling for our omelets the next morning.  Yummy!  Here is the recipe. Yet another healthy sugar free, gluten free one.
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INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 sweet onion
4 cloves garlic
2 zucchini
1 tablespoon lemon thyme
1 yellow bell pepper
1 poblano pepper
2 tomatoes (skin removed)
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INSTRUCTIONS

1)  Dice and saute onion in oil a few minutes until translucent
2)  Dice and add garlic and saute for a few minutes longer
3)  Dice zucchini and add to pan  along with the lemon thyme
4) Next add diced yellow and poblano peppers and saute a few minutes longer
5)  Dice the tomatoes and add to the pan.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cook a few minutes longer.
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The resulting ratatouille will taste more like vegetables and is not dripping in tomato sauce.  It lacks the bitterness that eggplant imparts.  It is so fresh, tasty and versatile.  Serve it with your meal, in your lasagna,  and in your omelets.  Adding this with cheese to your morning omelet will also enhance the flavours and it is great for single servings and it has multipurpose uses.  This is for the “who’s- got-time?” – to cook – crowd  but we want to eat tasty and healthy food!

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Oven-dried Tomatoes

These are so easy to make and freeze to enjoy throughout the year.  Great on salads, sandwiched, pasta. pizza.  The flavour is concentrated.
INGREDIENTS
6 to 8 tomatoes, slices about 1/2 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, fresh oregano, fresh basil, whatever you have
1 tablespoon  olive oil
DIRECTIONS
1.  Preheat oven to 250 F or 120 C
2.  Place sliced tomatoes on a baking sheet  on a piece of parchment or silpat sheet.

Sliced fresh tomatoes with salt, pepper, herbs, olive oil

Sliced fresh tomatoes with salt, pepper, herbs, olive oil

3 Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt pepper and fresh herbs.
4.  Bake for one to two hours checking every half hour until pieces have shrunk slightly, edges are shriveled and juices no longer run.  They are not completely dried but are still juicy.

tomatoes that have been backed and out of the oven

Sun (oven) Dried Tomatoes

5.  Cool slightly and put into glass jars covered by olive oil.  Leave about 1/2 inch of head room and freeze if you will not use them up in the next week or two.  Yummy!

Oven-dried tomatoes in glass jar with olive oil and thyme

Oven-dried tomatoes in glass jar with olive oil and thyme

Chicken Diablo

chicken-diabloThere are many versions of this recipe. For my Chicken Diablo, I will be broiling the chicken breasts instead of using the fry pan. It is a healthier, lower calorie version when you bake or broil your chicken in the oven. If you use homemade mayonnaise for this recipe, you will not have all the preservatives you get in the store bought version. This is easy to make and so tasty!!!

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RECIPE
Ingredients

6 pieces chicken breast
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. mayonnaise or yogurt
1 tbsp. dry white wine or chicken stock or lemon juice or vinegar
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese ( or more Panko or bread crumbs )
1 tbsp. chopped thyme or rosemary or sage or other herbs

Instructions
1. Dry chicken breasts with paper towels
2. Pound the chicken between 2 pieces of parchment or cut in half to make the cutlets thinner.
3. Combine in a deep dish or bowl the Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, wine, Worcestershire (Worcester) sauce, Tabasco and pepper.
4. Combine and then place on a plate the Panko bread crumbs, grated Parmesan and chopped herbs.
5. Dip chicken into the sauce and then coat on both sides with the Panko mixture. Place on a wire rack until ready to cook.
6. Preheat broiler and place baking sheet in the oven.
7. Place a piece of parchment on the baking sheet and then the chicken on top.  Broil 3 or 4 minutes on each side. Turn over after the first 4 minutes.
8. Reduce heat from broil to 350F/180C and bake 5 minutes longer.  Yummy!
chicken_breadingCoated chicken, ready to broil
chicken_breaded_ovenChicken Diablo out of the oven. Tasty and low cal!
chciken_diablo-plateChicken Diablo with roasted asparagus, tomato and sweet potato salad
cottage_tableWelcoming dining room at the picturesque lake house.
HAT2FOOD TIP: Serve warm and then refrigerate any left overs which are great cold sliced on salads or in a sandwich with some oven roasted tomatoes or just lettuce and more ‘homemade’ mayo of course.
You will want to make extra!