Northwest NEWS

October 4, 1999

Home & Garden

Japanese Ratatouille

Dining In: Flavors from around the world

Japanese Ratatouille

   1 Tbsp. peanut oil
   1 small onion, halved and cut into 1/2-inch crescents (1 cup)
   1 medium red pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch strips
   1 garlic clove, minced
   1 medium Japanese eggplant, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices (about 2 cups)
   6-8 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch strips (if using dried mushrooms, soak them in warm tap water until soft)
   1 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch half-moon slices
   1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
   2 Tbsp. tomato paste
   1 Tbsp. soy sauce
   1 tsp. lime juice
   1 tsp. olive oil
   Pinch of sugar

   In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, red pepper, and garlic for 2 minutes. Add the eggplant and sauté 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and zucchini and sauté 2 minutes. Add the broth, or water, tomato paste, and soy sauce, stirring until the paste is dissolved. Reduce the heat and cook until the vegetables are tender but hold their shape, about 5 minutes. Set aside. (The ratatouille can be made one day ahead. Place it in a tightly covered container, and refrigerate.)

   To assemble the Bento Plate: Cook 3/4 cup long-grain white rice in 1 1/2 cups salted water. Mix 3 chopped scallions (green part only) into the pot of warm rice, along with 3-4 drops toasted sesame oil. Press the rice into 4 six- ounce glass custard cups. Unmold this cup of rice at the 12 o'clock position on each of four dinner plates. Dress 3 cups baby salad greens, or mesclun. To dress the greens, whisk together a Tbsp. lime juice, 1 tsp. of olive oil, and a pinch of sugar. Toss with baby salad greens and set aside. Place a quarter breast of roasted chicken, skinned, at 6 o'clock on each plate. Arrange the ratatouille in a mound at 9 o'clock and the salad opposite, at 3 o'clock. In the center, place a lemon slice, slit from the center to one edge and twisted in a spiral. Makes 4 servings.

Montana Meatballs

   1 1/2 pound ground chuck
   1 can (5-ounces) evaporated milk
   1 c. quick-cooking oats
   1 egg
   2/3 c. chopped onion
   1/4 tsp. garlic powder
   1/4 tsp. pepper
   1 tsp. salt
   1 tsp. chili powder
Sauce:
   1 c. catsup
   3/4 c. brown sugar
   1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
   1/4 tsp. garlic powder
   1/4 cup chopped onion

   Combine all meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl; mix well. Form into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Place meatballs in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Combine all sauce ingredients and pour over uncooked meatballs. Bake, covered, at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until meat is done. Makes 6 servings.

Pimientos Rellenos Horneados Baked Stuffed Peppers

   4 medium sweet red, yellow or green peppers (about 4 oz. each)
   1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies
   1 c. frozen kernel corn, thawed
   1 Tbsp. snipped fresh cilantro or parsley
   3/4 tsp. garlic powder
   4 eggs

   Cut tops off peppers. Remove seeds. Stand peppers upright in muffin-pan cups or custard cups. Reserving liquid, drain chilies well. In small bowl, stir together drained chilies, corn cilantro, and garlic powder. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the mixture into each pepper. Beat together eggs and reserved chili liquid until well blended. Pour over corn mixture. Bake in preheated 325-degree oven until knife inserted near center comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes. Makes 4 servings.