Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Poached Eggs on Ratatouille Bruschetta

Poached Eggs on Ratatouille Bruschetta
Poached Eggs on Ratatouille Bruschetta

Ratatouille has been one of my favorites for over twenty years. The first reference I had ever come across was in a Sunset publication that I picked up at an Atlantic Books warehouse that long ago. I recall thinking then that it was one of the most delicious sounding dishes I'd heard of. It was billed as a salad in that book and included no background whatsoever.

As the years passed I learned more about its origins and the slight differences and variations, but I always came back to making it close to the way I first learned. My own recipes can be found here and here and it is those I used to make this breakfast.

Poached Eggs on Ratatouille Bruschetta
Poached Eggs on Ratatouille Bruschetta

I've taken to eating ratatouille bruschetta-style, on toasted thick bread and there's nothing so satisfying to me at the moment. Until this particular craving is fully sated, I expect I'll find more new and interesting ways to consume this thick French stew.

Poached Eggs on Ratatouille Bruschetta
Serves 1 or 2
Printable Link

2 slices French batard
1 cup prepared ratatouille, warmed through
2 large eggs

1. Toast bread rounds until desired crunch is achieved.
2. Top toasted bread with ratatouille.
3. Poach eggs (slide gently into simmering water from a small bowl or plate - one at a time - and cook until whites are just firm and center is still soft). Remove with a slotted spoon and set atop ratatouille. Grind fresh pepper over the eggs. Serve.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dear Michael Ruhlman, This is Why I Cook

Food writer, Michael Ruhlman wrote about why he cooks and asked of bloggers to share as well why they cook. This is my response.

The first, and I'll admit, seemingly conceited thing that comes to mind for me is, "I cook, because I can." That's true and not so arrogant as it comes off ... really.

I cook because I love to eat.

I cook to nourish my family in the best way possible. Letting someone else do it removes me from the process of knowing exactly what goes into our meals.

I cook to earn money. I develop recipes and take photos for a living (and write about the process), and that end of it is ever fascinating and ever educational. I learn something new each day by doing.

I cook to remember. There is nothing so memory provoking as the aroma or flavor of a food loved as a child. Nothing. I make my grandmother's brownies or my great-grandmother's brown sugar cookies or my mother's fried chicken to recall all that was good and pure and wonderful about my childhood - even if it wasn't all good or pure or wonderful.

I cook to create new memories. Yes, the common thread here is that food is central to my feelings of well-being and health, and I aim to continue building those feelings in my children and their children. I want them to have memories of love and home and nurturing all rolled into one loaf of bread or layer of cake. The more I cook, the more chances they have to watch and learn and begin to cook for themselves.

I cook to live. Eating is truly secondary for me to the creation process that takes place each time I make a dish. I tell people often that cooking is an art like no other with an instant gratification (or let-down, whichever the case may be) that you can't get by creating with any other medium. Paintings can take days to months to complete. Books are the same. Recordings, movies, sculptures - they all take much more time to create and to be appreciated. With food, the 'yea' or 'nay' are immediate - you know if your creation was loved or liked or hated before the creation is gone.

I cook to bring others happiness. There's nothing else to say about that.

So, I echo Michael Ruhlman - what are your reasons for cooking?