Everyday life can be an adventure. Things we do routinely might be boring but in the end it defines our lifetime. In The Sims series, we take the roll of an ordinary Sim and help them advance in life. On paper the game sounds a bit dull, but this franchise has been extremely popular. My sister doesn’t really enjoy playing games but something about The Sims franchise catches her attention.
Every time I’ve played The Sims, my character always found work in the culinary world. They would spend their spare time watching culinary shows, reading books about new recipes or going off to the market to buy fresh ingredients. Soon with all this knowledge they would be hosting parties with the best food in the neighborhood. When creating their house, the most important element to me would be the kitchen. I would sacrifice living space to have the best kitchen I could afford. I guess you could say I was dreaming, because let me tell you I hope to have a super awesome kitchen one day!
There are several recipes that I really like in The Sims (and will be exploring later down the road) but today we are going to focus on ratatouille. For those wondering, ratatouille is a traditional French vegetable stew. There are two schools of thoughts when it comes to making a ratatouille: either you simply sauté all the vegetables together or the layering and baking method which I will be explaining. I will forewarn that this is a bit of a time intensive recipe and there is a lot of prep work (you have a lot of cutting ahead of you). Trust me, once it is done and ready to serve you will understand why that little extra work is worth it. When I prepare this recipe I give myself about 3.5 hours of time before I want to serve it (considering it sits in the oven for 2 hours).
2 bell peppers (red, orange, or yellow)
12 ounces of tomatoes (about 3), seeds removed and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
½ large onion, chopped
1 tsp thyme
4 tsp parsley
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1 zucchini (4-5 ounces)
1 chinese eggplant (4-5 ounces)*
1 yellow squash (4-5 ounces)
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
* You can substitute the Chinese eggplant for normal eggplant. The Chinese eggplant sizes up much better with the zucchini and squash.
Heat an oven to 450°F. Slice the bell peppers in half and place on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the bell pepper from the oven and allow to cool.
Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil and once warm toss in your garlic and onion. Allow this to cook for about 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes, parsley, thyme and bay leaves. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes or when the liquid of the tomatoes has reduced.
While the tomato mixture is simmering take the cooled bell peppers and remove the skin. This should be relatively easy because during its time in the oven the skin will have loosened up. Once removed, chop the bell peppers.
If your mixture is still simmering this is a good time to start cutting all the vegetables for the top layer. You want to cut evenly at about ¼ inch per piece. If you notice my picture has a bit of vegetables. I accidentally bought enough vegetables to make two ratatouilles so I’m sure it looks like a lot. Also, the grocery store near me did not have Japanese eggplant so I used the regular eggplant and split the circle cuts into fourths.
Once the tomato mixture is ready, add the bell peppers and mix. After mixing, place in the bottom of the baking pan you will be using. At this point, turn your oven back on and pre-heat to 275°F.
Start organizing your vegetables on top of tomato mixture. As you can see in the image I did tomato, eggplant, zucchini, squash around the pan. After that is complete, in a small bowl, mix together 3 tbsp of olive oil, 3 cloves of minced garlic, and thyme.
Drizzle the mixture over the vegetables. Cover and place in the oven. Cook for 2 hours. You’ll know it is ready when you can easy poke a fork through the vegetables. This dish might require a lot of work but the look and taste makes it 100% worth it.