My husband and I recently had a date night in Denver and we decided to make reservations at Duo, which is a nice seasonal farm to plate restaurant. We both really enjoyed the meal from start to finish and the service was also excellent. They really did a great job with highlighting the fresh, seasonal Colorado ingredients without over-seasoning anything. I’m usually hesitant to get dessert because a lot of the times I’m disappointed, but I can’t say enough how excellent their desserts were as well! Just like our appetizers & main courses, the desserts were a perfect balance of flavors. More importantly, they were not overly sweet! This was hands down the best meal we’ve had in a Colorado restaurant (so far)! There are so many restaurants to explore here, of course! I can’t believe we haven’t gone to more restaurants in Denver and Boulder and we’ve been here a year.
Our dinner also brought back a rush of memories of when I used to work in restaurants in NYC. Front and back of the house. It seems so long ago and I suppose it really was! What good, brief, and crazy times those were. I literally fell into those jobs mostly by accident, but I thought I was going to be a professional chef. In the end I realized that wasn’t for me.
Anyway, I recently found a few notebooks that I used to jot down recipes or thoughts in and I found a ratatouille recipe from a French sous chef. Well, it wasn’t so much a recipe but a list of ingredients and funny comments. I figured since we had so many lovely vegetables from our CSA, I needed to make a batch.
Ratatouille is always so much better 1-2 days after preparing it, especially at room temperature. I like roasting the eggplant while I sautée the other vegetables separately and then cooking the ingredients together so that the flavors blend nicely. I used 1 eggplant, 4 different kinds of smallish squash, a green bell pepper, 3 small leeks, 4 crushed garlic cloves, dried thyme, fresh basil, and a few tomatoes. I like adding some dried chili flakes as well to give it a bit of a kick.
We ate it with a fried egg on top and a bit of California mission extra virgin olive oil. The leftovers will be eaten with some grilled pastured pork chops. So simple and satisfying!