A colorful dinner (and dessert)

Last night, I had a creativity spazz while thinking about what to make for dinner – I decided to make the fanned ratatouille dish from the movie Ratatouille!

I imagined it would be a complicated recipe, but there was practically nothing so simple and so colorful as this vibrant vegetable dish.

  

I used the recipe from smitten kitchen but adjusted it a little because I forgot to buy the yellow squash so I used cucumber instead, and I served it with quinoa as we didn’t have any couscous.

I ended up with a little much vegetable slices, so I really crammed them in there xD I had a bit of trouble with the huge pepper being much bigger than the slices but that just adds more texture and uniqueness to the dish – it’s a work of art.

One thing I do suggest is being not too generous with the spices – they taste good with the tomato sauce, but if you add too much onto the vegetables then the whole dish tastes too spicy and you can’t distinguish the softened vegetable flavours that well anymore. Also, next time I would use more tomato sauce – instead of just one cup, then the whole +/- 350ml can of tomato puree for example. I just loved the way the veggies tasted with it and with so many veggies in the ratatouille I made, the ratio just didn’t taste balanced enough.

The second recipe (dessert!) is one of my own creations. I’ve perfected the perfect plain muffin recipe already, so I wanted to try adding more flavours to it. So tonight, I made blue berry muffins!

I didn’t really plan the dinner to be such a colorful mix – it just so happens the blue is one of the only colors missing from the ratatouille xD. It looked well on the table. Too bad we were so hungry I forgot to take a picture of it xP

  

With the normal muffin recipe I usually end up with eight muffins. Since I added a bunch of berries and extra ingredients to this one, I ended up with almost a full batch. Maybe with one more beaten egg yolk in the batter, it would be just right for a full dozen.

They didn’t puff up as much as the plain ones do, but that’s probably just because the berries weigh the dough down some. (Again an extra egg yolk may fix this, or a bit more of baking powder).

Anyways, these tasted delicious 🙂

– 2 cups flour

– 1/4 tsp salt

– 1 flat tsp baking soda

– 1 (more generous) tsp baking powder

– 1 tsp lemon rind

– 1 (or 2) eggs, separated

– 1/4 – 1/2 cup sugar (depending how sweet you like your muffins)

– 1 cup milk (I always use goat)

– 1/4 cup oil (I used omega-3 oil)

– 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

– juice from 1/2 lemon

– 1 cup frozen wild berries (or to your taste)

– broken bits of half an 85% Lindt chocolate bar

Mix the dry (first five) ingredients in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, beat the egg white(s) until stiff peaks begin to form, then beat in the sugar one tablespoon at a time until the mixture is creamy and stiff-ish. Beat in the egg yolks and then mix in the milk, vanilla extract, lemon juice and oil. Add the dry mix to this wet mix and combine until smooth. Run warm water over the berries to melt the ice, let drain, and add into the mixture. Add the  chocolate bits and spoon the batter into prepared paper muffin cups until they are full.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. (I start preheating the oven once the egg whites are beaten so it heats up just in time and saves electricity.)

Some people may not like the dark chocolate, but I find it taste exquisite with the berries and lemon juice, adding a balance of sweet, bitter, and sour flavors for the ultimate taste experience, and something like a piece of art for the eyes as well ;D

Spanish weird pizza and matching appetizer

😀 I have no idea if this recipe actually exists somewhere outside of my dreams. I just know that I had pizza in Spain where they put eggplant slices on it and drizzled it with honey – and it was the best darn pizza I have ever eaten in MY LIFE. And apparently only that restaurant is risque enough to make such an awesome pizza :S And me. Because I made it for dinner a few days ago 😀

It doesn’t really taste like pizza…. this is a recipe that either you love it, or you hate it. It’s kinda hard to be neutral. It has such a distinct taste :O

You also have to like stinky/smelly/mouldy (and it’s supposed to be like that!?!?!) cheese. At least for the appetizers xD For the pizza just a good ratio is important so one flavor doesn’t overthrow the others.

Even if you don’t like eggplant or some other ingredient, don’t let that scare you away from trying this delicacy. There are people that hate an ingredient by itself but when it’s combined with something else it turns into heaven in their mouths.

Without further due, voilà the recipe 😀

Spanish eggplant and honey pizza

Crust:

– 1 tsp active dry yeast

– 1 tsp sugar

– 2/3 cups warm water

– 1 1/2 cups flour

– 1 tbsp olive oil

Toppings:

– 1 eggplant

– 1 small onion

– 1 garlic clove

– liquidy honey

– mini tomatoes

– gorgonzola cheese

– shredded pecorino/parmesan cheese

Mix the yeast, sugar, and warm water in a pot. Stir vigorously until the yeast is dissolved, or almost dissolved in the water. Put it on an element and heat it to the minimum; make sure it’s not so hot that you can’t keep your finger at the bottom of the pan without getting burned. When the yeast is dissolved, set aside and cover until little bubbles start forming in the mixture. Put the flour in a medium bowl and make a well in it. Pour the yeast and olive oil into it and mix with a spoon until it’s mostly incorporated. Knead with hands until it’s smooth and elastic. Leave in the bowl and cover with a cloth dampened with a bit of warm water until it nearly doubles in size. When the dough is ready, roll it out and place on pans (it makes two pizzas) and start preheating the oven to 450 degrees F. Cut up eggplant into round slices, plum tomatoes into halves, onion into small pieces and mince the garlic. You can try shredding the gorgonzola cheese but if it’s too sticky and bendy you can just cut it up with a knife or crumble it up with your fingers.

Once the dough has risen a bit on the pan, drizzle it with honey and gently spread with a knife. On top place the small bits of gorgonzola and stick in the oven until it’s melted. It should form a thin-ish layer all over the dough. If there’s not enough, add more (if you really like this cheese you can make a thick layer too.) Place the eggplant slices on the dough. On top, sprinkle a bit of the shredded italian cheese and scatter the tomatoes, onion and garlic overtop. Sprinkle on the rest of the shredded cheese. Put in the oven to bake for about half an hour or until the dough is golden brown and the onion is cooked to your liking (I baked it for half an hour and the onion was see-through, and brown at a few tips.)

The appetizer can be prepared while the pizza is baking and then put in the oven to quickly bake the mushrooms and melt the cheese after the pizza is taken out.

     

Mushroom gorgonzola caps

– a paper bag of medium mushrooms

– honey

– gorgonzola cheese (enough to fill the caps)

– 1 country bread baguette or ciabatta loaf

– 1 or 2 garlic cloves, chopped in half

Clean the mushrooms and carefully remove the stalks, so you have a little cup made of the top. Rub honey on the inside of the cap and place a chunk of gorgonzola cheese inside. Do this for all the caps and place on a pan or bakeable plate with the stalks. Bake until the mushrooms are baked or softened and the cheese has melted. While they are baking, cut the baguette/ciabatta loaf into slices and toast with a bit of oil in a pan. Once done, rub the cut side of a garlic clove onto the toasted side. Arrange on a plate with the mushroom in the centre and the bread slices around, or on two separate plates.

-> meant to be eaten as a mushroom placed on a slice of the baguette or bread

It makes a nice, artisan-looking, stinky (cause of the cheese –  it doesn’t actually smell bad :P) homemade meal 😀