Ratatouille Pizza

I’ve changed my blog theme again. I think I might have theme ADD. That’s one of the reasons I’ve stayed with wordpress.com, it’s incredible easy to change everything. I think I might stick with this one for awhile though. Last time I changed themes I wanted something cleaner, but what I ended up with felt heavy to me. It was just too manly. This is more what I was looking for; clean, light, with a little touch of girly. I like it, and I hope you do too.

In other news, I’ll Have What She’s Having now has a Facebook Page. I realized recently that I had advertised this on Twitter and Stumbled the page, but I never actually told my readers. I’m using it as a forum to share my posts as well as posts from other bloggers that catch my, plus the occasional food news.

And finally the recipe. I saw a photo in the most recent issue of Ricardo Magazine of Ratatouille Pizza and I knew I just had to try it.

This is the perfect time of year to make ratatouille; peppers, zucchinis, and eggplants are all at their peak. It’s great as a side a couple of times but then what? I like to use it as a pasta sauce for baked pasta dishes. Ricardo recommends canning it and using it at a pizza sauce in winter when vegetables are just kind of sad. I obviously couldn’t wait that long. I used his ratatouille  recipe (translated to English below) and some store bought pasta dough as I have yet to master the art of homemade pizza dough. I topped it with cooked Italian sausage and mozzarella.

This was hands down the best pizza I have ever made, and it was better than most delivery pizzas I’ve had too. This recipe is definitely a keeper. The photos I took were all a little out of focus, but I’m sharing anyway because this was just so good.

As this is a magazine recipe I will be submitting it to Magazine Monday. It’s been forever since I did a Magazine Monday Post so for those of you who don’t know, it’s an informal blog event hosted by Ivonne over at Cream Puffs in Venice. Make a magazine recipe, send her the link, and she’ll share it with her readers. Easy peasy.
Ratatouille

  • 1 medium egglant, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 zucchinis, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes or 2 cups Italian tomatoes diced
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 5-10 basil leaves, chopped
  • olive oil for frying
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a very large pot on medium high, heat about 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the diced eggplant to the pot along with a touch of salt and pepper, brown the eggplant. Once browned, remove the eggplant from the pot and set aside in a large bowl.
  2. In the same pot brown the diced onion, adding more oil if necessary. Once browned add the onion to the eggplant bowl.
  3. Brown the sliced mushroom then add them to the eggplant and onion.
  4. Brown the zucchinis and green pepper, along with some salt and pepper.
  5. Add the tomato to the zucchini and green peppers, followed by the eggplant/onion/mushrooms. Add the time sprigs to the pot then simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the time sprigs then stir in the fresh basil. Turn off the heat.
Serve as a side dish, pasta sauce or on pizza.
Ratatouille Pizza
  • Pizza dough
  • Ratatouille
  • Italian sausage, sliced and cooked
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Basil for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 450.
  2. Roll out the pizza dough then place it on a greased and floured baking sheet.
  3. Top with the ratatouille as a sauce, then the sausage and cheese.
  4. Bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling, about 10 minutes (keep an eye on it!)
  5. Garnish with fresh basil.
Enjoy!

Roasted Potato and Radish Salad

Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

It’s been awhile since I last participated in a Daring Cooks Challenge. The last few months have been quite hectic, and the challenges just didn’t fit into my schedule or my menu.

This month’s challenge was a different story. Potato salad is one of my favourite summer side dishes and as soon as we planned a hamburger night I knew I’d have to make some. I headed to the market to find some inspiration, but it’s still a little early in the season for most vegetables here so the only thing that caught my eye was radishes. Their bright pink colour just spoke to me.

I decided to roast the potatoes to give this recipe a twist on a traditional potato salad, and wonder what would happen if I roasted the radishes as well. I quick Google search told me that radishes can indeed be roasted. So my salad was planned. It’s quite simple, but since I was experimenting, I didn’t want to throw too much at it. My mom repeatedly requested bacon bits, as “a little bacon never hurt anyone”, but I decided to stick to the healthy aspect of the challenge. In the end, I don’t think it needed bacon, but I’m sure it wouldn’t have hurt. After roasting, the radishes lost their peppery flavour. Instead they were actually quite sweet, sort of like a roasted turnip.

In the future, I think I might do a combination of roasted and raw radish, to get both the sweet and peppery taste. The raw radish would also add a little crunch.

Roasted Potato and Radish Salad

  • 2 lb new potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 lb radishes, cut into bite size pieces
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp honey
  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Toss the potatoes and radishes with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour onto a baking sheet and roast for 45 minute to 1 hour until they are cooked through and lightly browned.
  3. Let the potatoes and radishes cool slightly, then pour them into a bowl. Add the parsley and red onion.
  4. Make the dressing: Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, mustard and honey together. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the salad then toss to combine, making sure the salad is well dressed.
  5. Serve warm.
Enjoy!

Quinoa Puttanesca


I like food that comes with a good story. Food with a story has been passed down through generations and is pretty much guaranteed to be good. Pasta a la Puttanesca is one of those foods. As the story goes, it was invented by prostitutes in Naples (“puttanas”). Whatever you think of the profession, you will probably agree that the sauce is pretty darn good.

It is also very easy to put together. The ingredients are sauteed together quickly and then tossed with pasta. I decided to mix things up a but by using the sauce with quinoa. It made an excellent side dish; I served it with some baked talapia and a salad for a tasty, healthy meal. I also had some leftover for lunch with some goat cheese.

Most puttanesca sauce recipes contain garlic, anchovies, peppers, olives and capers. If you like all those ingredients, use them. If not, leave something out or replace it with something you do enjoy. Having a story doesn’t make a recipe un-alterable.

Quinoa Puttanesca

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste
  • chili flakes to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup olives, diced
  • parley, chopped
  1. Cook the quinoa as per package instructions.
  2. As the quinoa is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pan. Sautee the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and anchovy paste, sautee until you can smell the garlic.Add the spices.
  3. Add the red pepper and olives, stir until the red peppers are slightly cooked. Stir in the parley.
  4. Mix the sauce with the cooked quinoa.

Note: I didn’t add any salt to this recipe because the anchovies and olives add quite a bit. If you are omitting either, taste the sauce to see if it needs any salt.

Enjoy!

Roasted Tomato with Pesto

In general I would say that February is the worst month of the year. It’s cold, it has no holidays (in Quebec), and it’s vegetables taste like nothing. On top of that it has Valentines Day, which for a chronically single person is unpleasant to say the least. It’s the shortest month of the year but it takes sooo long.

To combat my dislike of February, I’m planning on taking 3 of its 4 Friday’s off of work. Instead of dreading it, I’m now looking forward to my 4 day weeks. Unfortunately this has had a side effect. I now feel that January is the worst month of this year. It’s cold, its holiday is over, and its vegetables taste like nothing.

I think the tomato is the worst culprit when it comes to lacking flavour in winter (yes, I know it’s a fruit). In the summer, tomatoes are juicy and flavourful and fun. In the winter they are grainy and weird.

Thankfully, there are steps that can be taken to fix this. Steps like drizzling them in olive oil and popping them in the oven to roast. Roasting tomatoes gives them a nice rich flavour. If I close my eyes when I take a bite I can almost believe it’s July and they came from my parents garden instead of some farm in Peru. Almost.

The recipe is from Ina Garten’s How Easy Is That. It takes roasting tomatoes one step further by using pesto instead of olive oil. I decided to push it a little further by adding goat cheese to the mix. It’s a simple combination that tastes wonderful.

A Messy Potato Gratin & A Blog Award!

My first thought when I pulled this dish out of the oven was that there is no way I can post it. It looks burnt, and it’s a huge mess. But then I tasted it, and it was delicious. The deliciousness pushed me to post it. I figured I could share my mistakes with world so that they are not repeated.

I was inspired by all the bloggers who made potato gratin for French Fridays With Dorie to make one myself. I don’t have the book (yet) so instead I used a recipe I already had. Potato gratin is very easy in theory. Slice potatoes, pour cream over them, top with cheese, bake. But there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Milk and cream bubble when heated, so don’t fill the baking dish up to the top (unless you like scrubbing burnt cream out of your oven). Another option is to place a baking sheet that won’t warp under the baking dish to catch any overflow. Slice the potatoes as thinly as possible so that they cook evenly, no one likes a raw potato. Also, the cheese can be put on the gratin midway through the baking so that you don’t end up with a burnt looking gratin like mine.

Next up, an award!

When I started this blog I had no expectation that anyone would read it. It was something I decided to do for myself. Through it I have discovered some wonderful blogs and people and I happy (and shocked) to say that one of those people has been kind enough to give me a blog award. Patty of Patty’s Food has passed on the One Lovely Blog Award to me, and I am very honoured.

There are a few bloggers out there whose posts just make me happy when I read them. They are funny and kind and amazing cooks. I hope you take some time to check them out if you don’t already know them.

Janice of Kitchen Heals Soul

Roxan of Kitchen Meditation

Heather of Pretty Peas

Azmina of Lawyer Love Lunch

Sarah of Baking Serendipity

 

Potato Gratin

  • 2 lbs potatoes, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • one pinch dried rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • cheese, grated to cover
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a large saucepan, cook potato slices, cream, milk, garlic and seasonings until the milk starts to boil. Stir very gently so that the potato slices don’t break.
  3. Discard the garlic cloves and pour potato and cream mixture into a baking dish.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, then cover with cheese and bake for 20 more minutes.
  5. Let cool (the gratin will still look liquidy when first pulled out of the oven, but will set as it cools.

Enjoy!

Magazine Monday – Roasted Stuffed Acorn Squash


(Photo by my brother)

Michael Symon is my favourite Iron Chef. It’s not that I think his food is any better than the others, I supposed I’d have to taste them all to make that call, I just like his personality the best. I think it might be the giggle.

When I saw this recipe in Food and Wine in March I immediately added it to make “to make” list, not only did it sound delicious, it was also a  Michael Symon recipe. It sat on the to make list for a while, but I finally got around to making it this week. I replaced the vinaigrette with some lemon juice and olive oil to make it sugar-free challenge friendly, and I was missing a couple of ingredients so I just used the ones I had on hand for the stuffing. Oh, and I used acorn squash instead of delicata. Okay, maybe that’s a lot of changes but I think it’s still true to the spirit of the original recipe.

This is my Magazine Monday post from this week. Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice has been a little swamped lately (she was working on Sunday!) so I’m hosting this week. Here is what the other Magazine Monday-ers were up to:

Roasted Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • 2 acorn squash, halved with the seeds scooped out
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 large Cortland Apple, cored and diced
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup pistachios
  • crumbled feta to taste
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Season the insides of the squash with salt and pepper, and brush with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet skin side down and roast for 45 minutes.
  2. While the squash is roasting, cook the quinoa. In a medium pot, boil 2 cups salted water. Add quinoa and cook for 10 minutes. Add raisins and cook until all the water has been absorbed.
  3. Mix cooked quinoa with the diced apple and pistachio. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice.
  4. Scoop the quinoa mixture into the center of the cooked squash.
  5. Top with crumbled feta.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Hash

Part of our Thanksgiving tradition is the morning after brunch. My aunt and uncle make us a wonderful dinner, and the following morning the guests contribute to breakfast. The last two years I’ve brought a Sweet Potato Hash.

The first time I tried this dish was at an office breakfast. My friend JB brought it, and I loved it. I asked him for the recipe numerous times, and he eventually shared it with me. Turns out I could have just Googled it. What makes this hash great is the bacon, and the fact that everything else is cooked in bacon fat. Hey, it’s Thanksgiving.

The hash is really easy to make. The longest part is the prep work, having a good knife to cut the sweet potato is key. Once the chopping is done, the dish comes together very quickly. It’s a great make ahead dish as the flavours meld together well overnight. I’ve always had this dish as part of a brunch, but it would make a great side dish for a dinner.

Sweet Potato Hash

From the Oct 2007 issue of Gourmet

  • 1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 2 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  1. Cook the bacon in a large non stick skillet. Once cooked, remove the bacon pieces from the pan and drain on paper towels.
  2. Drain off some of the fat, leaving at least 2 tbsp behind. Add the onions, bell peppers, salt and pepper to the skillet. Cook until the vegetables have softened. Add the sweet potato to the skillet, then cover. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes, until sweet potato is softened. Stir in reserved bacon and thyme.
  3. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Carrot and Lentil Salad

Have you ever eaten so much junk you feel like you need to eat vegetables all day to clean out your insides? Maybe that’s just me. I ate an awful lot of sugar cookies this weekend, on top of a delicious but probably not so healthy meal at the Dominian Square Tavern (loved the corn fritters and homemade ketchup), so I felt like I needed a healthy veggie based meal.

Enter this Carrot and Lentil Salad. I based it very loosely on a recipe from Food and Wine. When I say based I mean I remembered seeing a salad with carrots, tomatoes and chickpeas. I didn’t have any chickpeas on hand, so I substituted lentils.

Carrot and Lentil Salad

  • 1 cup french lentils
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4-5 carrots, shredded
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the lentils: In a medium sized pot, sautee the onion until translucent. Add the lentils then cover with two cups of water. Add oregano, bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then simmer until the lentils are cooked. Drain any excess liquid.
  2. Toss the lentils with the carrots and tomatoes. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

Zucchini Fritters and Balcony Garden Harvest

I’ve been sick for the last couple of days. I think it’s from walking through all those puddles. Everyone knows germs get in through your feet, that’s why moms insist that their kids wear socks.

When I’m sick I crave comfort foods. One of my favourite comfort foods is french fries, but I wasn’t about to start peeling potatoes in my current state. So I started thinking about what else could satisfy my craving for deep-fried goodness. It hit me as I was looking through the vegetables in my fridge: zucchini fritters.
But I didn’t just want fritters. I wanted something cheesy to dip them in. The only cheese I had was goat cheese. Goat cheese dip sounded pretty good to me. Since I’m sick I decided to throw something healthy into the mix, the first cherry tomatoes from my balcony tomato plant.

The fritters and dip were delicious, but to be honest my favourite part of the meal were the tomatoes. There was something so satisfying about eating fresh tomatoes, bursting with flavour, that I grew myself.

I used Martha Stewart’s Zucchini Fritter recipe, and I based my dip on this recipe from Chatelaine.

Zucchini Fritters

  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • a handful of parsley, chopped
  • chives, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • oil for frying
  1. Combine the zucchini, salt, parsley, chives, egg and pepper in a bowl. Mix well.
  2. Add the flour and mix until there are no lumps of flour.
  3. Heat the oil in a small pan. Using a tablespoon take a small amount and make a ball with the batter.
  4. Fry 4 or 5 of the balls for 2-3 minutes a side until golden brown.
  5. Once cooked place on a paper towel lined plate to drain the oil.

Goat Cheese Dip

  • 140 gram package goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp  coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • chives for garnish
  1. Mix all ingredients except for the chives in a small bowl until well combined. If the mixture is too thick and more yogurt.
  2. Top with chopped chives.

Enjoy!

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Magazine Monday: Summer Vegetable Casserole

For me a great meal is all about the side dishes. A nice piece of meat is great, but how good are the potatoes on the side? I’ve constantly got my eye out for good side dish recipes, and this one from the August issue of  Food & Wine struck me as the perfect summer side dish. It’s packed with my favourite summer veggies; zucchini, tomatoes, peppers. And as a base, new potatoes!

I also got the chance to use some of the herbs I’ve got growing on the balcony. Everything has been going great, except for the parsley (weird, eh?). The recipe only called for thyme but I threw some oregano in as well, just for fun.

Summer Vegetable Casserole

  • New potatoes, sliced a 1/4 inch thick
  • Mushrooms
  • Plum tomatoes, sliced
  • Yellow peppers, sliced thinly
  • Zucchini
  • Red onion, sliced
  • Garlic
  • Fresh thyme and oregano
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan, grated
  1. Toss all the ingredients together except for the parmesan.
  2. In a baking dish, layer the vegetables in the following order; potatoes, mushrooms, 2/3 of the onion and green peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and finally the remaining onion and peppers.
  3. Top with grated parmesan.
  4. Bake covered in foil at 350 for 40 minutes. Increase the temperature to 400, remove the foil and bake for another 25 minutes.

This was pretty tasty. The recipe is simple enough to let the flavours of the fresh summer vegetables shine through. Next time I make this I think I’ll add some goat cheese to the mix, or maybe a layer of ricotta and spinach, just to make it a little more substantial.

I’ll be sending this post to Cream Puffs in Venice for Magazine Monday. For those of you who don’t know, Magazine Monday is a chance to get through all those magazine recipes we all have earmarked to make and then share your creations. Head over to her site to check out what everyone else is up to!

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