Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Grilled Ratatouille

Summer in the Pacific Northwest has been elusive, but the sun is out NOW so we’d best break out the grill while we can!

Since my previous post oh-so-long ago on the new MyPlate model, I've been working on getting half my plate full of veggies.  I know that the federal government's picture shows part fruit and part veggies on one half of the plate, but I don't think fruit belongs at every meal. To shore up the difference, I fill up the entire side with delectable vegetables instead!

Grilled Ratatouille (with Carne Asada from Trader Joe's)
You may notice that this particular plate doesn't have a grain or starch.  I chose to have wine with my meal and used that as my carbohydrate.  It's important to remember that booze has 7 calories per gram (protein and carbs have 4 calories per gram and fat has 9 calories per gram) and tons of sugar.  In the context of a healthy diet it's reasonable to eat a whole grain with your meal, but remember to drink a reasonable portion when consuming liquor as well. 

How does alcohol fit into your meal plan? 

In the Beginning...

We've been doing a lot of our shopping at Trader Joe's for the price and variety.  I love seasonal, fresh produce, but a girl can only eat kale and cabbage for so many months without going a little bonkers! We'll start going back to the farmer's markets again now that the selection is improving, but we're going to continue to do some of our shopping at Trader Joe's because fresh produce can be expensive!  Just because you can't afford the organic everything doesn't mean you shouldn't eat enough fruits and veggies.  Wash your produce well and enjoy the bonanza of colors and textures vegetables have to offer, wherever you buy them!

Where do you like to buy your produce?

Grilled Ratatouille

Grilled Ratatouille

1 large eggplant
3 medium zucchini
1 large fennel bulb
½ pound cherry tomatoes
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 clove garlic, crushed

  1. Cut eggplant into ¾-inch thick rounds and zucchini into ½-inch thick rounds.  Chop the bottom off the fennel bulb and cut vertically into ¼-inch thick slices.  Thread tomatoes onto a wooden or metal skewer.
  2. Lightly coat all veggies with olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Grill over medium heat, turning vegetables once during cooking.  Grill eggplant 8 to 10 minutes, zucchini 8 to 10 minutes, fennel 7 to 9 minutes and tomatoes 3 minutes.
  4. To make the sauce combine balsamic vinegar, basil, thyme and garlic.
  5. Remove veggies from grill, cool slightly, and cut into bite-size pieces.  Toss with sauce and serve warm.

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated July & August 2011

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