I call this Eggplant Ratatouille, but I could have called it Eggplant Stew. Or Cacciatore. Or Gazpacho. Or Goulash, or Pottage, or a dozen other things. Only the country, seasoning, temperature and language differ. Insignificant things, really.
The point is, vegetables in season, mixed, heated, seasoned, served and eaten.
No oil. No meat. No salt.
Variety. Availability. Cost. Freshness. Eaten with my true love, my family.
These are the things that really matter.
To think that a recipe always matters is to lose something of the intent and possibilities. Not that I'm opposed to recipes. But sometimes it's just right to go with what you've got.
This time it was eggplant, onions, tomatoes, tomato sauce, mushrooms and seasonings. We just chopped them, put them in the pan, heated them up, added a little seasoning. We ate it hot, we ate it cold, we loved it. Even made more the very next night. We had more eggplant, after all.
Here's another principle. We often engage in "recipe roulette," where we take a CD titled 1 Million Recipes, put in a list of ingredients we've got on hand, and see what the possibilities are. Or we play "recipe roulette" by Google search.
Here are some other principles.
- More important than a recipe is to be flexible.
- We almost never make it exactly as it says.
- We never fry or sauté in oil.
- We cook fresh veggies by "flash steaming" (use your imagination)
- We cook things less and at lower temperatures than we did.
- We don't add salt in cooking. If one of us wants salt, we add it after, and in small quantities.
- We never serve food with or over rice, or potatoes, or starchy foods in general.
- We eat generous portions, but don't stuff ourselves.
- We enjoy talking together as we eat.
- We congratulate good eating decisions.
- We don't criticize or even acknowledge each other's bad eating decisions, only our own.