Anyone Can Cook

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I’m
not much of a movie-goer. I think I have
some sort of brain defect that prevents me from sitting still for long periods
of time while recorded images unfold before me. At the tender age nine I got up in the middle of My Fair Lady and walked home from the theater alone and I’ve been
walking out of movies ever since.

That’s
not a particularly interesting fact about me, but it does mean it is just a huge
deal that I saw a movie tonight that I LOVED. I watched it all the way through
and I intend to watch it again and again.

It
is a wonderful story all about food and redemption, and creativity and art, and
being who true to who you are.

It’s
also a cartoon about a rat. It seems that rats have come a long, long way
in the animated world since the days of Mickey Mouse.

The
movie is Ratatouille, and it is about
Remy the rat who is grossed out by the garbage his (very) extended family likes
to eat. Remy is probably a supertaster,
or at least a supersniffer, and he is called to the art of cooking. But what human would eat a meal prepared by a
rat?  In a kind of Cyrano-esque twist, Remy
hides in the toque of Linguini, the hapless dishwasher boy in a fancy Parisian restaurant, and Linguini becomes a star.

The
story is a lovely one, the scenes of Paris are breathtaking – all aglow and asparkle with the lights of that city – and
the kitchen scenes (on which Thomas Keller consulted) are absolutely perfect.

Since I don’t see movies, I don’t know how to review them, either. You can see professional reviews here and
here.

But please, go see this movie!

Oh,
and here’s a recipe for ratatouille – not as good as Remy’s, but
pretty damn tasty all the same.

Ratatouille

3 medium eggplants, or 1 large globe eggplant, cut
into 1 inch cubes (leave the skin on if you can)

4 medium zucchini or other summer squash, cut into
1 inch cubes

1 large red onion, cut into large dice

3 bell red bell peppers, seeded and cubed

A basket of sweet cherry tomatoes, or 3-4 medium
tomatoes, cut in half

3-4 cloves of garlic, slivered

3 Tbs chopped fresh herbs (basil, mint, thyme)

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Salt

Pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

Keeping each kind of vegetable separate from the
others, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper (this really requires getting your
hands oily, but you want each piece coated lightly.) Place on separate baking sheets.

Roast vegetables until soft and beginning to
caramelize, or even char, depending on the vegetable and your preferences. Vegetables will get sweeter as they cook, but
they will burn. Watch closely.

Put tomatoes on a baking sheet, cut side up, stick
with slivers of garlic, salt pepper and drizzle with oil. Roast until beginning to char on edges. If you are not using cherry tomatoes, chop
them up after they are cooked. You can
always make a tomato sauce of the fresh tomatoes and garlic on top of the stove
instead, and add it to the cooked vegetables, but I like the intense sweetness
that comes from roasting.

As each vegetable comes out of the oven, add to a
large mixing bowl. Toss vegetables
gently with chopped herbs, and salt, pepper and vinegar (just a tablespoon or
so) to taste. Refrigerate, preferably
over night for the flavors to come out, and bring to room temperature before
serving. Adjust seasonings to
taste. Serves 6-8, and makes great
leftovers.

15 Comments Add yours

  1. sam says:

    we don’t go to the cinema ever either and we saw it yesterday and we were so hungry after we left the cinema we had to stop for dinner on the way home.
    All I can think about is next week’s market visit and getting the ingredients to make a ratatouille!

    Like

  2. Lydia says:

    Haven’t seen the movie yet (I usually wait for them on Netflix), but with so many ratatouille recipes showing up now, I might just have to go and see what all the fuss is about!

    Like

  3. Ellie says:

    Awww, I am literally bouncing up and down in my chair waiting for it to open here in Australia – all the reviews I’ve read so far have been glowing, and the clips that I’ve seen are just so adorable!! I’ve never actually made a ratatouille before…but I guess I should really give it a try before I go to see the movie 😛

    Like

  4. Nora B says:

    I have been known to fall asleep at movies… luckily, I don’t snore. This recipe looks good. I’ve not made ratatouille before, so this will be a good place to start.

    Like

  5. yum yum ratatouille! Loving it already!

    Like

  6. Susan says:

    It’s easy to convert this from side dish to meal; Elizabeth David has a great recipe w/ potatoes and eggs.

    Like

  7. Kalyn says:

    I loved the movie too! And my taste in movies tends towards darkish dramas, so that’s saying something. Your oven-roasted version of ratatouille looks great!

    Like

  8. interesting
    I don’t go to movies either (though I like the idea of it, I just don’t like to DO it). This one looks like a nice escapist thing.
    As for the recipe… maybe this weekend I’ll try.

    Like

  9. Cynthia says:

    I even more determind to see the movie now. Those are high compliments from you, a self-confessed non-movie goer. Thanks!

    Like

  10. Alanna says:

    I bet I’ve not seen in a movie – in the theater or otherwise since, um Christmas, maybe Christmas a year ago? But there was no way I was missing this one and yes, agreed, totally totally agreed, it’s just a big smile the whole way through, with lots of laugh out loud spots too. Who knew a rat could be adorable?!!

    Like

  11. Like you, I’m not much of a moviegoer, though this is one flick I aim to see on the big screen. And did you hear sales of ratatouille in NYC restaurants are skyrocketing? People are in love!

    Like

  12. susan gillie says:

    This movie is the foodies version of “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
    We’ll all dress up in charactor, go to the theatre at midnight, prance around the stage in front of the film. I can’t wait.
    Since every woman wants to be sexy/sultry/bitchin’ Colette, I’m getting outfitted for a cute blue rat suit!
    Thanks, Christine, for your review.

    Like

  13. I was thinking of going to that movie, and now you’ve talked me into it. Love your recipe too!

    Like

  14. I can’t even remember the last movie I saw at the theater… Maybe Titanic.
    But this is one I am going to see!
    Thanks for the review~ and the ratatouille.

    Like

  15. J. Bo says:

    FYI, Keller’s recipe for the movie’s version of ratatouille, “Confit Biyaldi,” can be found in the Bouchon cookbook, and here:

    Like

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