Weeknight Cooking

Rebellious Ratatouille

September 26, 2013

Every week we take a peek inside the lunches of the luckiest kids in Brooklyn. Read on, suppress your jealousy, and get a little brown bag inspiration. 

Amanda's Kids' Lunch

My favorite lunches are when I can cobble together a few leftovers in a way that feels right and fresh and like it was meant to be. This weekend, I had the last of summer's bounty -- zucchini, eggplant, corn, and peppers -- jammed in my fridge, and they needed a way out. This is why ratatouille was invented. 

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I'm a rebellious ratatouille cook because I can never follow a recipe. My approach is to find the best way to extract the most moisture from each vegetable and to get it to relax without turning to total mush. With the eggplant, I sliced and salted it, then roasted and chopped it. For the peppers, I cut them into large chunks and sauteed them in a deep pot over high heat in lots of olive oil and garlic. I blanched the corn and cut it from its cobs (yes, corn is untraditional but it was in the fridge and needed a home). And with the zucchini, I grated it and salted it, then squeezed it dry and stirred it into the hot ratatouille. I rarely cook the ingredients in one pot; rather, I prepare them separately and fold them together at the end.

On top of the leftover ratatouille was this leftover Spanish Tortilla, a recipe that, as you'll see from the comments, people feel very passionate about. 

And for dessert, a lemon tart from one of my books -- a dinner party leftover. 

What's in your lunch today? See some of the twins' past lunches

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Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.


SallyM September 26, 2013
Antonia, do you have the Chez Panisse Desert Cookbook? Lindsay Shere has some excellent Meyer Lemon recipes in it, including a pie and ice cream (I've tried both and are delicious).
AntoniaJames September 26, 2013
Wow. I wholeheartedly concur with the description, "luckiest kids in Brooklyn," though I might amend that to read, "luckiest kids anywhere." (Note to self: run down the recipe for that positively mouth-watering tart. My Meyer lemon tree is dripping with blossoms and heavy with infant fruit.) ;o)