Well, today is the big day. Big brother headed off to Spain bright and early this morning with Big Cousin and Papa.
I shared a bit last week how him traveling abroad, so far away, was going to be difficult for me; however, something great happened last night. Late last evening as Big Brother and I were packing up his clothes and arranging his backpack filled with his most treasured essentials, God gave me peace. He stripped away my worries and completely made me aware that he loves my son more than I’ll ever know. Man, that seriously allowed me to send him away, joyfully. In the midst of that overwhelming peace, we prayed together and then started chatting about all the wonderful things he was going to experience with his Abuela and Papa. I asked him what he was most excited to see in Spain. He told me, “my Abuela.” I started to cry.
He loves my mami so much and it’s the same sort of feeling that I had for my own Abuela Isabel. In a way, this trip means just as much to me as it does to him. You see, my Abuela passed away of breast cancer when I was 7 or 8 years old. I never had the chance to make those trips abroad to spend my summers with her – to depend on her, pray with her, take to the beaches, cook, eat, and laugh with her. I’ve dreamt about what those times could have been like. What she would have taught me, memories we could have created. It’s ok. I know where she’s spending her eternity and I know I’ll see her once again, but for now, my son gets to make those memories with his Abuela and I’m so blessed by that, so happy that he’ll have those treasured moments to keep with him, forever.
So, earlier this week I asked Big Brother what special meal we could make together before his departure. He told me he wanted to make a ratatouille just like Remy’s. Now that’s my boy! Together with Little Brother, we all went away to making one of the most delicious meals we’ve had all summer.
If you haven’t seen the Disney/Pixar film, Ratatouille, you really need to. It’s the sweetest animated film about a rat named Remy that can cook. My boys and I love to snuggle in my bed while watching this movie and I love the message behind the film that yes, anyone can cook! It’s definitely given my boys inspiration to cook in the kitchen.
Remy’s ratatouille is not so much different in flavor than the Spanish pisto/ratatouille that I usually make late summer. They both have a deep robust flavor from the fried tomato sauce; however, unlike my pisto where I simply chop up summer vegetables from the garden, Remy was a chef and made his by slicing the vegetables very thinly and arranging them in a beautiful circular pattern. This was the ratatouille Big Brother wanted to recreate at home.
So together, my boys and I started by making a fried tomato sauce full of flavor and depth.
I then chopped up a zucchini and eggplant in my food processor and the boys went away to arranging them so that just the top color of each vegetable shined through.
It took a lot of time and patience, but they were determined.
We were so happy once the last piece was placed. The boys took turns adding a bit of olive oil over the top with a sprinkle of large granule sea salt.
Into the oven it went at 350F for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
It may seem like a long time to wait for a humble dish such as this, but just as Anton Ego’s eyes widened with the first taste as the memories of his childhood came flooding back, this ratatouille had the same effect on my boys. They absolutely loved it.
Remy's Ratatouille. The perfect summer meal to use the abundance of summer vegetables, made robust and savory by a fried tomato sauce then baked until soft and creamy.
- 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 18.3oz jar of tomato sauce
- 1 tbls fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 large eggplant, quartered, and then sliced very thinly
- 2 thin zucchini's, sliced very thinly
- olive oil and large granule sea salt to top
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a large ovenproof skillet or cast iron pan, gently heat 2 tbls of olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions just start to turn translucent; 3-5 minutes.Add the tomato sauce, thyme, and salt, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook until the sauce fry's and thickens to the point that you can pull the sauce away from the pan; 10-15 minutes.
- Once the sauce has fried, remove from the heat and set aside to begin layering the zucchini and eggplant slices.
- Starting on the outside, begin to layer the eggplant and zucchini slices making sure to overlap them so that only the top color of each slice shines through. Work your way in.
- Once the zucchini and eggplant slices have been layered, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of large granule sea salt.
- Place a cut piece of parchment paper on top of the ratatouille and bake, covered, for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the parchment paper and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
The tomato sauce I used for Remy’s Ratatouille is the 18.3oz jar of organic crushed tomatoes from Jovial. As a reminder, Jovial Foods once again offered My Humble Kitchen readers 10% off PLUS FREE shipping by using the online coupon code, HumbleK.