I’m losing my mind. I have been so forgetful lately. And I feel like it’s only getting worse. I’ll think of something that I need from the bedroom, walk to the bedroom, and completely forget what I needed in the two seconds it took to walk to the bedroom. I know the example is a common problem for a lot of people. However, I seem to be doing this many times during the day, several days a week! Here’s another example that I have been doing a lot of lately… I go to the grocery store with a huge list of items to purchase, gather all the stuff, place all the items on the belt at the cash register station, and just as I am about to pay I realize that my wallet was left at home! It wouldn’t be so bad if I went to the grocery store a few blocks away, but the two places I love to shop at is a 15-20 minute drive EACH way. So what should be a 45 minute endeavor, ends up being an hour and a half grocery store trip from hell! No bueno. This cuts into my limited cooking time.
Ratatouille Bisque with Parmesan Crisps (adapted from Modern Comfort Food)
For the soup:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, cut into quarters
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 red bell peppers, seeds and pith removed, sliced
1 small eggplant, peeled and diced to large cubes
1 medium-sized zucchini, peeled and diced to large cubes
2 1/2 pounds of fresh tomatoes (mix of heirlooms, cherry, vine and plum tomatoes), cut into halves
6 sprigs of thyme
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
3 cups of chicken broth
1/4 cup fat-free half and half
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Spread the tomatoes, red bell pepper, eggplant, zucchini, garlic cloves and onions onto a baking tray. Use two baking trays to not overcrowd the baking tray with too many vegetables. I find that when I “crowd” the baking tray, the veggies tend to “steam” rather than roast properly. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized.
Remove vegetables from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot. Add 3/4 of the chicken stock, thyme, cayenne, and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.
Remove sprigs of thyme from the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Return soup to medium heat, add cream and adjust consistency with remaining chicken stock, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with a parmesan crisp. Forget the crouton. Do the crisp.
For the parmesan crisps:
2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner. Sprinkle four 1/4-cup mounds of parmesan about 2 inches apart onto each prepared baking sheet; slightly flatten with a spoon. Bake until golden-brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool for 30 seconds. Using a thin metal spatula, drape the crisps over a rolling pin until hardened into shape, about 3 minutes.
Makes 4 servings.