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dinner : caribbean ratatouille


Now, I know you're scratching your head at the name of this dish, but bear with me.  I'd been craving ratatouille for a few days and planned to prepare it tonight, but as I was writing up my shopping list, a minor mental slip turned into a spark of inspiration.

The first item on my list was meant to be 'eggplant', but for some strange reason, I typed the word 'melongene' which is one of the words we use for eggplant in the Caribbean.  In the U.S., I never have reason to call it that, since most Americans would have no idea what I'm talking about, but there it was, sitting on the blank page, staring back at me.  And I think you can follow my train of thought from there.

So this ratatouille came together using produce that is readily available in the Caribbean - melongene, onion, red bell pepper, chayote (which we call 'christophene'), calabaza (West Indian pumpkin), garlic, and tomato (I used canned, diced).  I also added a few tablespoons of diced green chiles and some red pepper flakes for a bit of a kick.

The end result was really delicious.  The chayote was so tender and juicy, and the pumpkin added a bit of sweetness.  However, the next time I make this dish, I might add some minced recao leaves, to give it an even more Caribbean flavor.  I'm thrilled that my little cooking experiment turned out so well, and I'm looking forward to compiling my next shopping list!
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