Ratatouille Confit Byaldi

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Piperade sauce,  perfectly cooked vegetables, and a herbal vinaigrette. 


I don't think I could prepare these vegetables any other way and enjoy them as much.

Let's start with the Piperade sauce. You'll need 


Olive oil, bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, fresh thyme, parsley sprigs. The recipe calls for different colors of peppers. I used all red, they were on sale.  

I was tempted to use some of the jarred roasted red bell peppers I have in the cupboard but I'm glad I didn't. These little blackened bits add a lot of flavor. 


After the onion and garlic are cooked until the onions soften but not brown, add the tomatoes, their juices, and the herbs. After this cooks down a bit add the peppers, salt, and pepper and cook until the peppers soften. Take out the herbs. 
My tomatoes weren't very juicy so I had to add a splash of water. Also, don't do what I did and forget to set aside some of the sauce for the vinaigrette. 


Speaking of which, for the vinaigrette, you'll need olive oil, garlic and I added a pinch of fresh thyme, salt, and pepper. 

Now let's get the vegetables ready. 

The vegetables needed are tomatoes, Japanese eggplant, yellow squash, and zucchini.  I wasn't going to run all over town looking for Japanese eggplant so I bought the one and only eggplant Smith's had. It was a nice one too. 


I used the spiralizer for the squash. The one I have slices, peels, and cores. All I had to do was slice down one side of the "slinky" and I had nice even pieces. Easy Peasy

I used the mandoline for the tomatoes and eggplant. Since the eggplant was so big I had to cut the slices in half and that worked just fine. 

Spread the piperade in the bottom of an 8" square baking dish and arrange alternating slices of the vegetables over it and sprinkle the vinaigrette over the vegetables. Cover tightly with foil and bake

Hot out of the oven and it's as delicious as it looks. 

What would I do differently next time you ask?
I would peel the tomatoes for the ratatouille as well as the piperade, and I would peel alternating strips off of the eggplant. 
Have you tried peeling a tomato with a potato peeler? It works a charm, you don't have to go through the boiling water routine. 

I'm posting the original recipe but I'm also including the other recipe I mainly followed from the blog Just As Delish

I strongly encourage you to read through both recipes. The main idea is there, just some little differences. 

Thomas Keller's Ratatouille Confit Byaldi


  • Piperade

    • 1/2 red pepper, seeds and ribs removed
    • 1/2 yellow pepper, seeds and ribs removed
    • 1/2 orange pepper, seeds and ribs removed
    • 5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    • 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic, divided
    • 1/2 c. finely diced yellow onion
    • 3 tomatoes (about 12 oz.), peeled, seeded and finely diced, juices reserved
    • 1 sprig fresh thyme
    • 1 sprig flat-leaf parsley
    • 1/2 bay leaf


    • 1 zucchini (4 to 5 oz.) sliced in 1/16-in. rounds
    • 1 Japanese eggplant (4 to 5 oz.), sliced into 1/16-in. rounds
    • 1 yellow squash (4 to 5 oz. ), sliced into 1/16-in. rounds
    • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/16-in. rounds
    • 1/8 tsp. dried thyme leaves
    • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Directions

    Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the peppers cut side down on a foil-lined sheet. Roast until skin loosens, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Peel and chop finely.
    Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon garlic and onion in medium skillet over low heat until very soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, their juices, fresh thyme, parsley and bay leaf. Simmer over low heat until very soft and very little liquid remains, about 10 minutes. Do not brown.
    Add peppers and simmer to soften them. Season to taste with salt and discard herbs. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the mixture and spread remainder in bottom of an 8-inch skillet.

    Reduce the heat in the oven to 275 degrees.

    Down the center of the skillet arrange a strip of alternating slices of zucchini, eggplant, yellow squash and Roma tomatoes, overlapping so that 1/4 inch of each slice is exposed. Around the center strip, overlap the vegetables in a close spiral that lets slices mound slightly toward center. Repeat until pan is filled.
    Mix 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 teaspoons olive oil in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over the vegetables.
    Cover pan with foil and seal well. Bake until vegetables are tender, about 2 hours. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more.

    For the final topping combine the reserved tablespoon of sauce with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Drizzle around plate. Serve hot.

And that's that!

Mexican Watermelon Cucumber Salad

Jump To Recipe  Print Mexican Watermelon Sala1

Citrusy, crunchy, and spicy with cooling watermelon and cucumber. 

Let's start with spicing up the pepitas.

Just a bit of ancho chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, oil, and fresh lime juice. 

Combine them all in a bowl and mix well. 

The recipe calls for raw pepitas and toasting the spiced pepitas in the oven. Since the pepitas I have are already roasted and salted, I just gave them a little sauté in a non-stick skillet to bloom the spices and get a little more color on the seeds. 

While the seeds are cooling let's attend to the melon. 


In the bowl are the watermelon, cucumber, and red onion slices that had been chilling out in some ice water. To that, you are going to add the oil, ancho chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, lime zest, and juice.  

Sprinkle on the spiced pepitas and chopped mint right before serving. 

Make it, you'll be happy you did 

Mexican Watermelon Salad


  • Ingredients

    For the Smoky Lime Pepitas
    1 cup raw pepitas
    1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
    ¾ teaspoon Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt
    ½ teaspoon smoked paprika or ancho chili powder
    ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    Juice from1 medium lime

    For the Mexican Watermelon Salad
    ¼ cup thinly sliced red onions
    1 small seedless watermelon about 5 pounds, cubed
    1 English or Japanese cucumber cut into ½-inch slices
    ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
    ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
    ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    2 medium limes finely grated zest and juice
    2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves


    1. Let’s make the spiced pepitas first! Preheat the oven to 325°F with the rack placed in the middle position. In a medium bowl, combine the pepitas, olive oil, salt, paprika, cayenne, and lime juice. Mix well.
    2. Spread the seasoned pepitas in a single layer on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Toast the seeds for 12 to 15 minutes in the oven, stirring at the halfway point, until fragrant and crunchy.
    3. Cool to room temperature. Reserve ¼ cup for this recipe, and keep the rest in a sealed container for up to 1 week to munch on.
    4. While the pepitas are in the oven, soak the onions in a bowl of ice water for about 10 minutes to take the bite off ’em.
    5. In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, cucumber, drained onions, olive oil, chili powder, salt, cayenne pepper, lime zest, and lime juice. Toss to mix. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary.
    6. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and toasted pepitas. Serve immediately!

    Michelle Tam Ready or Not Cookbook

And that's that!

Havasu Olive and Garlic

Havasu Olive and Garlic was high on my list of places I wanted to check out when I moved here to Lake Havasu City. It took a few months, but I was finally able to check it out this week. 
It's a family-owned business and soon they will be celebrating 10 years in business. 

The first thing that hit me when I walked in was the wall full of vats of olive oil. 



If I counted right, there are 30 different types.

Then there are the olives and garlic, and the olives stuffed with garlic and other things. 

Not to mention the wall of different flavored pasta and even some gluten-free offerings. 


Have I told you about the variety of pickled veggies like okra, asparagus, pearl onions, etc...


Then there are the flavored salts, BBQ sauces, and other condiments. I think I'm getting dizzy with all the options available. 


I really wanted to buy one of everything they have, I probably eventually will but for now, this is what I bought. 

I have never seen gluten-free orzo so of course I have to try it. I love the shape of Mafaldine and decided to Google it. It's a sad story but there's a great recipe attached to it.

I haven't met a gadget yet that I didn't like so, of course, I had to get the olive stuffer. I'm thinking I could use it for stuffing garlic slivers into lamb and pork roasts too, why should only the olives have all the fun. The black truffle oil is going into the safe along with my treasured saffron. I've not seen green pea pasta before so I have to give it a try. 


I'm surprised I have any olives left, I could eat them all in one sitting if I let myself. They are garlic stuffed gordal olives I'm going back for more.


I picked up 3 bottles of olive oil, two flavored, and one unflavored. the unflavored is made from Cobrancosa olives.
I did a taste testing of the oils and the first words that came to my mind were rich and buttery. It will be really hard for me to get an olive oil off the grocery store shelf now that I'm spoiled.

Next oil I get will be one of the savory ones, I'm leaning toward the wild mushroom and sage. We'll see. 

I'm sure I'll be posting a pasta recipe pretty soon, I'm already working out some recipes in my head.

And that's that!

Grilled Salmon Patties

Jump To Recipe  Print Fried Salmon Patties


Salmon patties using grilled salmon is deeeevine. Grilling the salmon first adds just a little more interest to the patties. 
So the next time you grill some salmon, plan on grilling a little extra to set aside for these patties. 

 This is the recipe I keep returning to. It's tried and true and always gets rave reviews. I also use it for tuna patties. 

So, you'll need


Salmon, of course, mayonnaise, scallions, eggs, parsley, onion, flour, paprika, dill, salt, dried mustard, garlic powder, black pepper, and lemons. 

I used JUST egg replacer,(eggs and I don't exactly see eye to eye) One whole egg is approximately 1/4 cup so I poured out almost 1/4 of JUST and gradually added it the mixture, don't add it in all at once, it is a little "tacky" and you'll have to add more binder to the mix which I don't think is a good idea. Add just enough (no pun intended) to moisten the mix. 

That crumpled up red bag is the paprika the Hungarian student brought for me from Hungary, I'm miserly with it. The last time he was here he brought me some more so I guess I can start being a little more generous.


Gently shape into patties and fry until golden brown and heated through. 

The recipe is Paleo but you can use non-paleo mayo and regular flour, or even smushed up crackers (yes smush is a legit culinary term, I think) 
and it will be just as delicious. 

I want to show off the beautiful dinner plate the salmon patties are on. I found it in a thrift store, and they had only two of them so I got both. 



Fried Salmon Patties


  • Makes 4 servings

    Hands-on time: 30 minutes 

    1 ½ pounds canned boneless, skinless wild sockeye salmon packed in water, drained and broken up into small chunks
    ¼ cup Paleo Mayonnaise
    2 scallions , thinly sliced
    2 large eggs , lightly beaten
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
    ¼medium yellow onion , minced
    ¼ cup coconut flour , divided
    1 teaspoon paprika
     ½ teaspoon dried dill
     ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    ¼ teaspoon dried mustard
    ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons ghee or fat of choice
    2 lemons , cut into wedges



  1. In a large bowl, mix together the salmon, mayonnaise, scallions, eggs, parsley, onion, 1 tablespoon of the coconut flour, the paprika, dill, salt, dried mustard, garlic powder, and pepper.

    Divide the salmon mixture into 8 equal portions, and use your hands to form each into a patty roughly 3 inches in diameter and ¾ inches in height. Place the cakes on a parchment-lined plate. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up the cakes.

    When you’re ready to cook, spread the remaining coconut flour in a shallow dish, and lightly coat the cakes, shaking off any excess. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large cast-iron skillet. Once it’s shimmering, fry the cakes in the ghee for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to drain off any excess oil.

    Serve with lemon wedges

    Not a salmon lover? Substitute tuna or lump crab meat instead!

    Nom nom paleo: food for humans cookbook

And that's that!

Tomato Salad with Cucumber


Jump To Recipe Print Tomato Salad

Tomato salad with cucumbers, olives, and an herbal vinaigrette. 

Don't we all love a good bargain? Well, be sure and check out the marked down produce section in your supermarket


I got 4 lbs of hothouse tomatoes for .99, yes that's 99 cents for the whole bag and they were all usable. 
You need to check them over pretty good but I figure that if about half of what I get is usable, I'm still money ahead and my friend's chickens love me because they get the rest. 

Just an F.Y.I. you can freeze the tomatoes whole. They will be good for stews/soups and salsa, but won't hold up to being sliced or be good in salads. 


This is a popular Middle Eastern salad and according to the cookbook, it's Turkish in origin. The lemon-based vinaigrette is fresh and tangy.
I think it would be good for potato salad also. I like a mayonnaise alternative during the hot summer months. 

Besides the tomatoes and cucumbers, you'll need a lemon, mint, parsley, olive oil, salt, and pepper and black olives. 

Onions are not listed in the ingredients nor mentioned in the instructions but are typically used. 



Tomato Salad


  • 4 tomatoes, sliced
    1 cucumber, thinly sliced
    juice 1 lemon
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
    1 teaspoon mint, finely chopped or ½ teaspoon dried mint
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    a few black olives
    Garnish pinch cumin


  1. On a large plate arrange the tomato and cucumber slices decoratively.
    In a cup mix the lemon juice, oil, parsley, mint, salt, and pepper.
    Pour this dressing over the tomatoes and cucumbers and chill for 1–2 hours.
    Just before serving arrange some black olives on the plate. Sprinkle with the cumin and serve.

    Middle Eastern Cookery, Arto der Haroutunian

And that's that!