Sunday, June 20, 2010

Green Chili Ratatouille

Okay, someone asked me for the recipe so I did the art real fast, and then I remembered what my day's been like, and I started to giggle. Now aren't you sorry you asked? Jesus, I'm the goddamned king of too much information.

Okay, here's the deal. Since I'm not the kind of person who cooks by measuring and following recipes, I won't tell you how to cook anything until after you've cooked it. But I will tell you how I cooked it, and it is on that basis that I once wrote a recipe. I am starting to suspect I may have more of these in me.

And so...

Green Chili Ratatouille
for the Missus, my beloved Karen,
who puts up with me

So when you're shopping, the missus will ask you what vegetables you'd be interested in cooking. You've been struggling with a roasted zucchini, yellow summer squash, eggplant, and pepper salad, so you get eggplant, yellow summer squash, and zucchini.

When you get back to the cart, the missus is holding up a sack of ultrasoft tomatoes from the used vegetable section, where the produce is cheap and rotting. She asks if you would be willing to do something with the tomatoes and basil. Inspect the bag; cringe at the condensed droplets of fetid moisture on the inside surface; decide enough are salvageable to make a tomato sauce a possibility. Impulsively agree out of mingled culinary curiosity and the pliability induced by a waxing libido.

While in line, avoid staring at the young woman in the blue blouse and blue jeans two lines over by staring into the cart. Think about the idea that Mrs. Popeyehead is a sort of a Greek Chorus while Mr. Popeyehead is a Threshold Guardian. Wonder where the living fuck your copy of The Writer's Journey is; it seemed kinda shitty when you looked at it before, but Nancy Kress gave it kudos, and she's Nancy motherfucking Kress and all.

Looking at the eggplant, zucchini, yellow summer squash, tomatoes and basil, you suddenly remember MFK Fisher (oh, man. Back in the day... and she liked men. She liked artists and intellectuals, but the bit she did about that butcher meant that she also had at least an aesthetic appreciation of sweaty loudmouthed brutally masculine basically offensive types... Jesus. MFK Fisher. What would it be like to be with someone who could cook?)

The Missus will lean against you and ask you if you would want to be with someone who was really tall. Explain that as long as the woman is substantial enough so that it doesn't make you feel as though you're with a child, height is no issue. Remind her of the ex, who is exactly the same height as the missus. (Jesus, she was strong. You were stronger, heh heh heh, but it was always fun wrazzlin' around with her. Felt like you were accomplishing something. She always started it, and she always got mad when she lost. What is it in me that takes such delight in pissing off my objects of desire?) Look down at the Missus -- yep. Still the one you fell in love with. Give her a hug; yeah, we're in line at the grocery. Fuck you all. Go on; try me out, motherfucker. Ha!

Someone comes up and takes over bagging the groceries. Stare at the Missus. Yep, yep, yep. Stare around the store in general.

Oh, my lord. Does she even understand what that means, or is she just trying shit out? You're not complaining, just... Jesus. Fucking college kids look like they're twelve; briefly feel like the lowest, most bestial lecher on the planet.

Wheel the cart out to the car. Some motherfucker in a car just keep coming at you. Push the cart right into his fucking car -- his window's open, so you can grab his fucking head, pull it out, and lean on the motherfucker...

Jesus motherfucking christ, dude. Don't do that. That's horrible! You're a horrible fucking vicious animal and if they're smart they'll pin you down in a steel net and systematically blow you apart with a shotgun. Anyway, it would piss the Missus off and you want to stay on her good side.

What was that about MFK Fisher?

Eggplant, zucchini, yellow summer squash. Soft, ripe red tomatoes. Oh, yeah -- she had a recipe for something called Minorcan Stew, sort of a ratatouille thing with red peppers in it. You know who was hot? The Willendorf Venus. Don't kid yourself.

... it would be easier to just cut that shit up and put it in a crock pot than do the roast vegetable salad. And it would use up those tomatoes, and if you threw some of that fresh basil down on it when you serve it up...

So when you get home, you start off by taking the tomatoes -- oh, those are soft -- and sorting and rinsing them. The missus comes up and says she forgot to get tomatoes for her salad. Invite her to take her pick of those you've cleaned; damn. There's this and there's that and she's still fucking got it...

You're got two long Chinese eggplants, seven tiny zucchini, and six medium yellow summer squash. But you didn't get any fucking red peppers. Ratatouille? Minorcan stew? Oh, fuck, you need peppers, dude, or the whole flavor profile will be fucked. Maybe there's a jar of roasted red peppers in the pantry...


But there are those canned Hatch chilis from Trader Joe's. Hmmm... Hmmm...

You know who's hot? That lady on Modern Family, Sophia Vergera or something. She seems like she's got a sense of humor, too. Someone you could actually fucking stand to be around... Ruben's wife was hella cute but she was probably a total dope. Fucking a stupid person is the crassest form of bestiality... no matter how big her ass is.

Right. Right. Back to work.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the tomatoes. Rub it in until they're coated and slippery all over. Put 'em in the oven at 550 -- as hot as it gets.

Dude, get a fucking grip. Maybe you should think about pulling Nixon's face apart jowl by jowl. They'd stick together like Velcro...

Heh, heh, heh. You really are a sick fucker, you know? What a visual imagination -- 's like watching a movie. That paranoid fuck taught America to expect and accept criminal behavior from its presidents, and that legacy led directly to the horrors of the Bush regime. Bastards...

The missus comes in and asks if she can cook beets in the oven with the tomatoes. Sure, sure... Huh. This is okay; usually she just kind of barges in and gets in the way but this time it seems like she's got the dance, where both can work continuously without making each other get out of the way... Cool. You're not gonna expect it to happen again, but hey. She's got the dance.

If your hands weren't so greasy... She'd fucking kill you if you got greasy handprints all over...

Okay, chop up one yellow onion, and one Vidalia onion. Heat up the big skillet, then add a drizzle of olive oil and throw in the onions. Chop up two big shallots -- jesus, the shallots you bought today were pathetic, when they're that small they aren't worth fucking with. Wait until the big ones come back in season, dude.

Throw the shallots in with the onion; stir, scraping up the caramelized juices from the bottom. Hmmm... Add a little water and deglaze the pan. Let it brown again; deglaze again.

Thinly slice six cloves of garlic. Chuck 'em in the pan, stir, deglaze, caramelize.

Take the tomatoes out of the oven. The missus will come in and offer to peel them. "The peels come off the way skin skin comes off," she says.

You say, "Well, then, just imagine they're boils." She laughs. Some people appreciate a sick fuck, thank god.

Slice the vegetables. Remove cores from the tomatoes and squeeze the juice into the pan with the bouquet of stinking lilies, using it to deglaze. Damn, those are still hot. Ow, ow, ow -- pain is good for you, you fucking... Ow. Don't be a pussy, dude.

Crush the tomatoes. Use them to scrub up the traces of caramelized tomato juice from the bottom of the pan.

Get out the big crockpot. You were going to make beans today, but there's no way to fit all this crap in the small crockpot. Put down a layer of caramelized onions, etc. Put down one can of Hatch green chilis. You'll eat Ortega if that's what there is, but still. Fuck Ortega.

Put down a layer of squashes and eggplant. Put down a layer of tomatoes. Salt heavily. Repeat. Pour all the various deglazings and juices over the top and shit that smells good already. Put the top on the crockpot and put it on high.

You know who's hot?

Four hours later, it's the fucking green chili ratatouille that's hot. Oh, man. That's actually way better than the salad would have been, and the green chilis really work. Oh, man, that is sweet...

Is it you or did spring come late this year?


ChiaLynn said...

Right. Squash and eggplants and green chilies and lust. Got it.

Novysan said...

I can't admit the lustful thoughts I have about the Venus of Willendorf in public.

ps. the kaptcha phrase below includes the word "kink." It's like magic or something.

Sean Craven said...

I say it over and over again, compulsively; I always plead guilty.