Ratatatouille has always been a favorite dish of mine (and I enjoy pronouncing it with my best French accent)–but honestly, I consider it a bit of a pain in the you know where to prepare. I have terrible luck with mandolines, and usually not nearly enough patience to use my chef’s knife to thinly cut a ton of veggies for dinnertime, I usually just find myself opting for another meal instead. And this is unfortunate, because to my tastebuds, ratatouille is really, really good. The way the eggplant, peppers, and zucchini merge into one deliciously fragrant explosion of flavor is quite crave-worthy.
Today I’m excited to share with you a new book from the kitchen of one of my culinary heroes, Martha Stewart. Her latest book, Meatless, is quite unlike her typical tomes in that the entire book revolves around–as the title suggests–meat free recipes. And, even though every single recipe isn’t solely plant based, I can confidently say that most of the recipes within the pages of this beautifully illustrated book are vegan (even marked with a handy “V”), and pretty much all of the non-vegan recipes can easily be made vegan with non-dairy substitutions. There are also a ton of gluten-free recipes, also clearly labeled for your gastronomical enjoyment.
Tonight’s Dinner. It’s also my favorite dish to order at pretty much any Indian restaurant I end up at. I love the variations I’ve had of this dish, which simply translates to spiced okra. Although, I’m admitting right now, this doesn’t taste exactly like authentic Indian cuisine–because, ya know, I’m much better at Polish/German/Irish/American cooking.
But! It’s delicious, and pretty spicy in a mild kinda way. Feel free to add more chili powder to jazz it up. Before attempting to make my own Bhindi Masala, I learned some important tips from Manjula about okra cooking that I never knew the hundred other times I’ve made it. First, after you rinse your okra, be sure to pat them very dry, lest your okra get slimy while cooking. Also, you don’t have to cut your okra into cute little ferris wheels to make this dish. Hers looked pretty kickin’ with the pods cut lengthwise.
Since the weather outside has been too hot for even this heat junkie to handle — with temperatures reaching close to 100 °F — I’ve been avoiding my oven and stove-top and instead looking to water-packed raw fruits and veggies to get me through these sweltering days of summer.
This light summer salad is reminiscent of the pasta salad I used to enjoy as a wee one… except I left out the heavy pasta and replaced it with my fave go-to summer staple: zucchini “noodles”. If you don’t have a spiralizer, a vegetable peeler works great too.
The simplicity of this soup is what makes it so darn delightful. The cilantro imparts a wonderful citrus flavor and pairs well with the dense sweetness of the carrots.
The carrot soup alone is extremely flavorful, so if you have an aversion to cilantro, it’s not essential to add it at the end.
But, of course, if you LOVE cilantro… then by all means, add twice the recommended amount.