But before we start, I suppose this post might need a small subtitle. Or a caveat. Or a warning sign.
Some people need their food to be picture perfect. Nothing wrong with that! As my mother said to me once, " If it doesn't look good, no one will eat it." (Of course, this doesn't apply to teenage boys, hungry men, or myself past the midnight hour.)
This post is for those times that you want to cook something wonderfully tasty that looks a bit... ugly. Some dishes are just not going to be on the cover of Gourmet magazine any time soon. Now that you're ready to get down and dirty (or ugly), let's start!
I hear you screaming already! Take a deep breath. I'm not cooking anything with tails. Today. But if anyone remembers this movie, the little dude's name was Ratatouille. Which is a delicious, fresh veggie saute, usually over rice, couscous or polenta. It USUALLY looks like this:
But who ever gets it to turn out that way? Not me. So, let's ignore the unreal expectations and cook something a little less perfect-looking!
Ah, a sideways pan filled with one chopped sweet onion and minced garlic, along with a few TBS of olive oil. While that heats up, let's go looking for veggies.
These are fom the garden of my beautiful friend Barbara. Her husband, Larry, can grow just about anything, including GIANT PUMPKINS. I stopped by one day and was the happy recipient of a trunk full of produce.
Love gardeners. Super love generous gardeners! My dad and his wife keep me supplied with cucumbers from June until the end of August. I haven't seen our grocery produce section in MONTHS.
Wash and choppity, choppity, choppity.
Assorted sweet bell peppers join the party.
With a few big tomatoes, into the pan they go.I took 3 cups of chicken broth left over from trying out Missy Tippens' dumpling recipe and added that to the group. If you don't have broth, you can dissolve two cubes of boullion into 3 cps of water. You can add more salt later, if needed. Turn the burner to medium high. This should get simmering pretty quickly. ( I like a lot of tomatoes so at this point I added one can of diced tomatoes.)
Now, you can definitely eat your ratatouille (the dish, not the chef rat!) plain, but it's usually over the top of a grain or pasta. I love polenta (cooked cornmeal). It's so... filling. And possibly caloric. I refuse to check.
Slice and lay in a skillet over 2 TBS of olive oil. (We're trying to be healthy! I've heard it's best with real butter and browns beautifully but I'm pretending I don't know about all that.) Sprinkle on some salt and pepper and parsley flakes. It doesn't take long to warm up/cook. About five minutes, and flip.
I know you're thinking none of this is particularly UGLY. But remember our veggies simmering away? We've been stirring them carefully, and waiting for the broth to reduce so it's nice and savory. No matter how careful we are, zucchini just doesn't like to be simmered and stirred.
Ta-DAH!Mmmmmm.... goodness. All garden fresh, with polenta on the side! It's just not quite 'picture perfect' so don't surprise any picky five year olds with this dish. Just make them a PB&J sandwich. That leaves more for you anyway.
What's your favorite 'ugly' dish? Have you ever made anything delicious that looked... inedible? We're all friends here. I promise I won't laugh. Much.
Oh, P.S. A little bitty post on DESSERT. :) Piper, here's the fruit syrup/compote we were having this weekend in Seekerville to celebrate Rose's new sale.
Oh, MERCY. Vanilla ice cream and blueberry syrup. (You can always strain out the berries if you just want the liquid, it's just as good.)
Another view. This is a very small glass. Really. It just LOOKS big. *innocent face*
Okay, I'm really done now! Back to discussing ugly food...