Today’s Recipe: Ratatouille

This morning we woke to 40 degree weather with a wind of around 18 mph.  A good day for a warm and hearty stew recipe. I had all the ingredients for a wonderful Ratatouille so that is what I have made.

If you like zucchini and eggplant you will love this recipe. The cutting up of the veggies takes the most time, the cooking time is super fast and you end up with a very hearty meal.

Ratatouille

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Adobo seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 6 large cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 large red pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 large green pepper, sliced
  • 1 large eggplant, cut into sticks
  • 2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 zucchini, cut into long sticks
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped including leaves
  • 1/2 lb ground beef (use better quality)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Parsley chopped for garnish

Use part of the olive oil to sauté the beef with the dry herbs. Set meat aside on a plate when almost cooked.  In the same pot add the balance of the olive oil and sauté the onions, celery and peppers for 2 minutes, add the balance of the veggies and cook just a few minutes, stirring occasionally. At this point you may need to add 1/4 cup of water but the veggies will release more of their own juices making more sauce. Add the ground beef and stir, cover and cook for 10 minutes.  Check the tenderness of the veggies, they should hold their shape but be tender.  This is the time to make adjustments to the seasoning, adding salt or pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley and a grating of Parmesan cheese.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

This tastes even better the next day.  You can serve over a baked potato or rice to make a more filling meal.

This recipe is from Sandy Hill who we met in South Miami years ago.  We have lost contact over the years but this recipe has lasted the test of time.  Of course I have made several additions to make it my own but the basic recipe is the same as when Sandy had Joe and I over for dinner back in the late 70’s.

Oven Baked Zapallitos

Something new for us are these little green squashes.  Here they stuff these zapallitos with all sorts of things and bake.  I bought several and used a few in my ratatouille recipe.  Had two beauties left so I decided to make my own version of these little baked babies.

Oven Baked Zapallitos

  • 2 nice sized Zapallitos – cut tops off. Remove interior add this to other ingredients
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 red onion cut up in small pieces
  • 1/4 of a large red pepper
  • 3 oz. ground pork
  • 3 oz. ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • little cubes of cheese 2 oz or so
  • a few slices of mozzarella cheese for the top

Set the zapalittos aside. Place the olive oil to heat in a frying pan, add the oregano, garlic and sauté for one minute add the chopped meat and cook until the meat is no longer raw.  Move to a plate.  Add all the veggies and sauté for just a few minutes add the meat back and cook for just a few more minutes. Add salt and pepper and check to see if it needs more.

Add a few small cubes of cheese to the bottom on each squash. Add one large tablespoon of the filling, more cheese, continue filling until the mixture reaches the top of the squash. Press down to use all filling. Place the lid on top and put in a 350 oven for 30-45 minutes.  The squash shell should keep its shape.  Right before serving remove the squash top and add a slice of mozzarella cheese. Put back in the oven and allow to melt.

Serve alone or with rice or mashed potatoes for a great lunch or dinner.

 

Fish Market at the Buseo Port

montevideo-2-12-28On Saturday we walked down to the Buceo Port as Joe was asking for fish. We got the salmon again, and just like the first time, it was fabulous.

montevideo-2-12-31 montevideo-2-12-30 montevideo-2-12-26All the fish looked good and even things like calamari, octopus and the mussels looked fresh and very appealing. Prices are in Uruguay Peso, convert to US Dollars by dividing the number on the card by .28.  All of these prices are for a kilo which is a little over 2 pounds.

montevideo-2-12-27You can buy a whole fish or you can buy steaks or fillets.

montevideo-2-12-33 montevideo-2-12-32There are two other stores including a store with local trinkets as well as a vegetable and fruit stand that carries spices, herbs, a few live herb plants and has a cooler with drinks.

montevideo-2-12-29A new addition from the other times we were there was a van backed up to the sidewalk and the back door opened. As you can see it had a variety of cheese, wine and salami.

We got our salmon and ran home to have lunch.

Sunday Market or Feria

Early Sunday morning Joe and I headed out for our daily walk. Joe had several places in mind for us to at least walk by if not visit.  One was the planetarium another the zoo and the third was……..  But instead we got totally side-tracked as we discovered a Sunday Market about five blocks from our apartment.

montevideo-2-4-23The vendors block off the several streets and set up their tents, some even come with what looks like a food truck that opens to show cold cases for cheese, meat and fish.montevideo-2-4-24The first thing that caught my eye was the flowers, but I only picked up one plant and that was thyme.  And it joined my other herb basil on the washing machine in our laundry room.montevideo-2-4-25We figured a tray of 30 large eggs would cost $3.00 and they even had one man selling household products, cleaning, TP, paper towels.  montevideo-2-4-26There were several vendors set up selling cheese, pork, chicken, beef and even fish.montevideo-2-4-27 montevideo-2-4-28The fruits and vegetables looked fresh but we had just gone shopping on Friday and our refrigerator was filled with everything we needed for the week. I have not had the time to check prices but I am sure this Sunday Market is cheaper than Tienda Inglesa.montevideo-2-4-29Grapes run $1.42 per kilo, that is cheap cheap cheap.  They are grown here so maybe that is why they are so inexpensive. Next Sunday these will be on my shopping list.montevideo-2-4-30Everything is marked so you know what you’re spending.montevideo-2-4-31I just could not resist the strawberries, they are one of my favorites.  They were small with a hint of tartness. Just perfect to eat with sugar and cream, and that is just what I did.montevideo-2-4-32$1.60 a kilo for peaches. That works out to about 72 cents a pound.montevideo-2-4-33 montevideo-2-4-34 montevideo-2-4-35 montevideo-2-4-36This stand was selling all different dried herbs and even had nutmeg nuts in this bowl above.  Need to spend some time finding out what these are but I did buy some of the adobo which I knew had red pepper flakes and seeds in it.  I have used it on several things and it does pack a punch.montevideo-2-4-37 montevideo-2-4-38This will be our Sunday morning ritual.  Buying fresh fruits and veggies five blocks from the house.  Now all we need is one of those Old Lady Carts, yes, I am prepared to drag it around. ha ha

Oh BOY! Salmon

A quick walk from our apartment we come to the port in Buceo, Montevideo. At the port there are several fishmongers, a small fruit and vegetable stand, a trinket shop as well as El Italian Restaurant.  Our first visit I saw the most beautiful salmon filet that looked fresh and I HAD TO HAVE IT.

montevideo-1-22-1The small fruit and veggie stand had some very nice green beans so that is what I bought to have with the salmon.

montevideo-1-22-5Most things here are sold by the kilo and that was not a problem with me because I was open for fresh fish for a few days in a row.

montevideo-1-22-8For lunch that day I made it with this outrageous Asian sauce.  It had soy sauce, fresh grated ginger, garlic, a few slices of hot red pepper for a nice punch, honey (sorry I miss Eva Honey, Eva is our neighbor in San Clemente and that is the most flavorful honey I have ever had) a grind of salt and a bit of pepper.  Heat that in a small sauce pan and top your sautéed salmon with it.  YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY

So we had two nice pieces for our next lunch, yes I can eat fish every day of the week.

montevideo-1-23-2I served the same sauce but a bit more ja ja as I love the sauce as much as the fish.  And I served it with a fresh salad and even added peach slices to the salad and made a yogurt dressing with a bit of honey and herbs and spice.

Well the salmon was a huge success and we will have it again very soon. One problem we really need to try more of the local fish as well. So we will see what I pick next.

PS I know this is farm raised in Chile. I know all about the antibiotics but honestly we just had to have it.  We will not be eating it every day so once in awhile I will take the plunge and have salmon….