Random Notes (and Slow-Cooker Ratatouille)

Random Notes (and Slow-Cooker Ratatouille)

… Is anybody still out there? I know, I know, I’m a sorry excuse for a blogger.

So life is pretty good around here, if extremely busy—Harry’s 7 1/2 months old and he’s become quite a pistol. We lucked out and got one of those happy babies you hear about but rarely see. He’s sitting up and eating solids (favorite food: mango!) and babbling and laughing and learning new tricks every single day, and between him and my work I just don’t have the time to blog. By way of apology, here’s a video of the boy—a food-related clip of him eating his first biscuit, a British invention called a Farley’s Rusk…

(I discovered later the rusk has added sugar in it, so he won’t be having another for a while—but that might explain why he was so fond of it!)

Even though I’m not blogging, I am cooking—the slow cooker my mom gave me when Harry was born is my new best friend. When she first offered it to me I said no thanks—giving birth didn’t ease my food snobbery, apparently—but pretty soon I realized that a slow-cooker meal is better than no meal at all. Harry’s morning nap is by far the most reliable, and it’s so lovely to just toss some stuff in the pot, turn it on, and know that we’ll have a healthy, fresh dinner waiting for us when I’m totally beat at the end of the day. Lots of stuff out of Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook. The ratatouille is the best we’ve had—I make that a couple times a month. And the brisket (the old-time recipe, with chili sauce & French onion soup mix), and the pot roast… So far chicken has been less successful (it overcooks every time), but it’s saved my life, that electronic object I’d scorned.

Some non-Harry stuff, a couple of press sightings:

I’ve got a piece called The Skinny on Eggs up on WeightWatchers.com.

And in the April Natural Health magazine, I’ve got a feature called Special Delivery, about pain relief techniques for unmedicated childbirth (which I did NOT do, in case you’re curious—I never would’ve made it without my epidural).

As a further apology, here’s the recipe for slow-cooker ratatouille, adapted from Not Your Mother’s:

Slow-Cooker Ratatouille
Adapted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook
Serves 4-6

1 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium-to-large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into big squares
1 14.5-ounce can of diced plum tomatoes, drained (I’ve used both the fire-roasted canned kind, and most of a package of Pomi chopped tomatoes, and both work great)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
3-5 zucchini, ends trimmed, cut into thick rounds
A handful of fresh herbs (recipe calls for basil but I almost never have that around in the winter, so I’ve used rosemary, thyme, and even parsley)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Combine the eggplant, onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, and garlic in the slow cooker (mine is 5-quart oval). Pour the olive oil over and toss to coat. Cover and cook on high 1 hour.

Add zucchini, cover, and cook another hour on high.

Add herbs, salt & pepper, and cook on high another half-hour to an hour.


(The recipe says you can do this on low for 2-3 hours before adding the zuke, then another 2-2 1/2—adding the herbs during the last hour—but mine came out too wet that way. My solution was to add orzo & leave it bubbling on high for 20 minutes, which created a wonderful one-pot meal…)