Today I woke up inspired to get a little cooking done before I left for work so I wouldn’t have to come home once again famished and eat everything in site.  I had a small eggplant sitting on my counter that was in danger of going bad as it started to show signs of softness and bruising. You really can not keep eggplant around that long and I try to cook it within a few days of buying so I wanted to use this before I had to lose it, as has happened far too many times (a crime in my book).

I simply cut the eggplant into cubes and started to saute over medium heat in a pan with a generous amount of EVOO, knowing the eggplant would soak it right up. I also added sliced baby portobello, or crimini mushrooms, which also require some time to soak up the liquid and then sweat it back out.  To get the sweat going quicker, I salted at this stage (some say it’s a no no) and covered to make a little steam bath for my veggies.

Meanwhile I found a stray yellow pepper and diced that, along with a few cloves of garlic and some scallions.  You might say I’m wrong to use scallions in this kind of dish, but it was all I had on hand in the onion department and I’ll be damned if I am going to go without some sort of onion. I made sure to add it last so it didn’t completely wilt and lose all flavor, however.

After adding a bit of thyme, parsley, salt and pepper, I realized I had made my version of Ratatouille, but I was missing zucchini and tomato.  I actually had a little leftover tomato sauce and considered dumping that into the pan, but this dish looked so fresh, that I couldn’t ruin it by adding something that had seen better days.

The moral of this story is that you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with flavors and throw together what you have on hand.  I can’t wait to eat this over polenta when I get home tonight!

For a more traditional Ratatouille, see Rachael’s MANY recipes and ways to serve.

Rosemary Maggiore is our Last Minute Lady.  A single mom of two kids plus a full time job (she runs this website!) keep her busy and usually pushing things to the last minute.  Somehow she manages to keep her cool and her sanity while she enjoys good food, wine, friends and most importantly, family.

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