Team Lexington Burlesque Dinner – Ratatouille

“It’s harvest time. These are all things in my garden right now. All the herbs, vegetables, everything is in season. Eggplants, zucchini’s, peppers, basil, marjoram.” – Melissa Duscha

Melanie Neault and Melissa Duscha showed up to Martini Oaks with baskets of veggies under one arm and floaty feathers piled into their hair. They eased around the kitchen, dresses swirling, fishnet legs darting and ducking, feathers trying desperately to keep up with heads that swiveled to talk and concentrate on chopping.

Duscha, is recently returned from living in Shanghai. She peppered our conversation with asides from living in China. Though she learned this ratatouille recipe from a fellow student, during a study program in France.

Here are her tips for a delicious french vegetable stew:
1. Chunks: all the vegetables should get cubed up into manageable pieces
2. Be really liberal with the herbs de provence
3. Don’t be afraid of olive oil or garlic. Fry them up together.
4. Use home grown vegetables when possible, they have more flavor.
5. It’s easier to cook half naked about 10 minutes into it. You are concentrating more on what it’s front of you and less on what’s jiggling behind you.

Mel’n’Mel Ratatouille

Ingredients: tomatoes, eggplants, zuchini (or in-season squash), belle pepper, chilis, garlic cloves, olive oil, pepper and salt, lemon juice (to taste) , pinch of sugar, white wine (to taste), herbs (fresh marjoram, basil, rosemary, oregano & bay leaves)

Instructions: Heat olive oil in a skillet and add (chopped) garlic and (chopped chilis). Control the spiciness of the stew by adding fewer or more chilis. Let fry for a bit (3-5 minutes). Do not let burn. Add eggplant and bell peppers and saute for 7-10 minutes depending on amount and heat. When soft, add remaining vegetables. Let cook down for another 15 minutes. Add wine, lemon juice, herbs and salt & pepper. Let simmer another 30 minutes. Serve.

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