Sunday, May 03, 2009

Moosewood Memories

When I went to Cornell Law School in Ithaca, New York (more years ago now than I'd like to think), I was a vegetarian. And handily enough, there was a wonderful vegetarian restaurant that quickly became one of my favorite spots, the Moosewood Cafe.

Nowadays, Molly Katzen is in the vegetarian chef hall of fame, and she's produced a whole bunch of really great cookbooks. But the first classic Moosewood Cookbook is still a favorite of mine, along with book #2, the Enchanted Broccoli Forest.

Anyway, I've been craving ratatouille and when I pulled the Moosewood Cookbook off of the shelf to make sure I had the ingredients, it brought back such great memories. My book is worn and spattered, and the ratatouille page is the most rumpled and spotted of them all. So, in honor of the wonderful Moosewood restaurant, here's the ratatouille recipe we're having tonight:

3 Tb olive oil
4 med cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped onion
1 bay leaf
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp basil
1 tsp marjoram or oregano
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
2 medium zucchini, cubed
2 medium bell peppers (I usually use red), seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes (with juice)
black pepper
fresh minced parsley (optional)
sliced olives (optional)
fresh parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

1. Heat olive oil in a deep pan. Add garlic, onion and bay leaf and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

2. Add eggplant, salt and herbs and stir. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes until eggplant is soft.

3. Add zucchini, bell peppers, black pepper, and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for about 10 more minutes, or until zucchini and bell peppers are tender.

Top with grated parmesan cheese and/or other goodies to serve.

Can serve alone (as stew), over pasta (my favorite), or even on crusty toasted french bread, as bruschetta.

Prep time: about 45 minutes
Serves 4-6.

It's vegetable-y, and healthy, and delicious. Enjoy!


  1. I have every one of their books and never miss an opportunity for lunch there when I am visiting family in Central NY.

  2. Favorite books of mine as well! My daughter, the recovering vegetarian loves them even more. I was able to get her one of Mollie Katzen's newer books several years ago and have her sign it at a book seller's show I went to with a friend. Emily was thrilled! The ratatouille is yummy. Enjoy!

  3. I'm not a vegetarian but vegetarian and vegan meals are key to my cooking reportoire. I shared a house with a bunch of others when I was at university and we had a well functioning cooking roster. One of my most infamous endeavours was when I made the Katzen's Enchanted Broccoli Forest dish. Somehow I don't think it turned out the way it was meant to. Certainly, I was implored never to make it again!

  4. I have this book and Moosewood Cooks at Home. This is a classic - I love the veg chili, too! But when my son was at Cornell Law School we went to the restaurant and were very disappointed. Hopefully, it has gotten back to its original good self in the 15 years since he left Ithaca.

  5. thanks for the seasonal reminder to make ratatouille. Recently went to an estate sale where I snapped up a Moosewood cookbook that still had its binding; unlike mine!

  6. What great memories--a well splattered cookbook is a very good cookbook!

  7. Always a favorite here too! Mine is missing, borrowed no doubt long ago and not returned. But this is a favorite cherished recipe!

  8. I learned to cook with this book! I still pull it out for things. A real classic.

  9. it is a great recipe, but noticed you have canned diced tomatoes rather than the fresh tomatoes specified in the cookbook. curious as to why the substitution? You've also adjusted spice amounts and added thyme. You should identify where you've changed the original recipe and why.