I had a great meal planned for last night. Slow cooked ginger scallion pork was to be turned into pan fried dumplings with crunchy sesame cabbage. That dish will happen, perhaps tonight. But the two of us were so under the weather, that even the thought of the smell of the pork made me want to faint. I didn’t feel like eating anything with meat in it, and my poor husband could not fathom the thought of food at all. So instead of making cute little dumplings, I instead dug into my Wine & Food Affair cook book once again, and came out inspired by a recipe for ratatouille with lemon pepper polenta.
I decided to make it with lemon pepper quinoa and veered off on my own, making a massive pot of food that will be good for us, once our appetites are back. In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that while I was cooking, I may have snacked on a Syrah chocolate cupcake and ruined my appetite for dinner. The fudgy goodness was worth it.
My ratatouille was a simple mix of chopped eggplant, zucchini, and red pepper, a bunch of dried herbs and spices, and a can of diced tomatoes, juice and all.
Since I abhor eggplant that is not cooked all the way through, I started it sizzling by itself in my Le Creuset French oven, coated by a generous drizzle of olive oil. As you would imagine, the eggplant started soaking up the oil, and after awhile, I just had to add some wine, leftover Syrah from the cupcakes. Wine always comes in handy.
I cooked and cooked the eggplant, then poured in the tomatoes and cooked it for about 20 more minutes, slowly adding dried oregano, garlic powder, and this Napa Valley herb mix that includes lavender and dried lemon peel.
I added in the zucchini and peppers, stirred it up, and then let it simmer for 30 more minutes. Somehow, the eggplant still was not cooked enough for my liking!
While the ratatouille simmered, I started on my quinoa. I simply made it according to the package directions, then, at the end of cooking, added the juice of one juicy lemon and about a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
I served a ladle of the ratatouille atop the peppery quinoa and garnished it generously, very generously with kalamata olives. I could eat olives with everything. These kalamatas from Mezzetta are incredible.
There you have it, my Meatless Monday meal. It was nice to get a bunch of veggies and grains in. Fingers crossed I will not follow suit with the rest of my family and many of our friends who have been stricken with the stomach flu. I will stick with a regular old sniffles, cough, aches and pains flu, thankyouverymuch.
Do you actively participate in Meatless Monday? Or just often find yourself eating vegetarian after big weekends meals?