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recipe help

my recipe says RATATOUILLE FOR TWO 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 small onion, cut in slivers 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed 1 Japanese eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thick 1 medium zucchini, sliced 1/2 inch thick 1/2 medium sweet red, green or yellow pepper, cut in slivers 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms, optional 1 medium tomato, diced 1 tablespoon minced parsley 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil Salt Freshly ground pepper

Heat 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, onion, garlic, eggplant, zucchini, sweet pepper and mushrooms. Saute until onion is translucent, adding more oil if necessary. Add tomato, parsley, basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Remove cover, bring to slow boil and cook until juices evaporate and oil reappears in bottom of pan. Serve hot, at room temperature or cold. Makes 2 servings.

question .....remove cover,bring to slow boil ,where should i be on my stove here?? or better yet please explain what i am suppose to do here....thanks

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  1. The way I read it is after you cover your skillet and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes, then you are to remove the cover from your skillet, bring the remaining liquids left in the pan to a slow boil (maybe turn the heat up a bit more than a simmer?) and let the moisture evaporate. All that should be left is the residual oil in the bottom of the pan.

    After covering everything, it'll pretty much steam in the pan and continue to cook. But with the cover on the steam won't escape and will end up kind of soupy from the trapped moisture. That's why it says to remove the cover and cook more.

    Am I missing something here?

    1. My understanding its that the recipe wants you to remove the cover after cooking 10-15 minutes, increase the heat, in order to reduce the liquids thus concentrating the flavors. Ratatouille should be thick, not soupy. Hope this helps!

      1. would i increase the heat to high

        2 Replies
        1. re: walnut

          if you're starting at medium and it's already at a simmer when you remove the lid, you should only need to increase it to medium-high to achieve a slow boil.

          1. re: walnut

            I would have heat on med-high for initial saute, which should take 8-10 minutes. One thing not mentioned that I would do is be sure the pan is hot before adding the oil, then add the veggies. They are less likely to stick to the pan if you do this.
            Turn down to med-low while covered, then increase to med-high for the last part of uncovered cooking.

            If you are very new to cooking, I would highly recommend Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything". He explains a lot of basic info in a straighforward manner. I learned a lot from this book.

          2. in regards to my other post... on peanuts the rec. said all the ingr. put in pot and bring to a low boil. What i got from the comments was go to high heat and drop back to appropriated temp. which in this case would be low boil. So in this recipe for the above i thought bec. it said slow boil i would the same kick it up to high and move downwards. how does a newbie get this stuff right....i know practice ,but has to be guide lines? How do u know like for peanuts why woulndt i just start off in medium heat and work up to a low boil? Sorry for all the questions ,but realy confused.

            1 Reply
            1. re: walnut

              Seriously... get this book and read it:


              I understand that you are confused, but I think you are working yourself up over these low vs slow boil issues. What cookbook are you working from? I think you need a good primer to familiarize yourself with the basics. I promise that it will get easier, but you need to brush up on the basics first.

            2. I have one quick question at this site its at you tube called how to make sloppy joes with beef sausage,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rkRVA... could some one tell me why the lady after added ketchup etc. to ground beef says now bring to a medium boil and shows on the video turning from high ,bec. was at medium before,did she really need to turn it up to high to get it to a medium boil ....wouldnt medium heat work just as well to get to a medium boil, why did she go to high,after all was on medium all this time ,i could see medium high heat but high? Any advice/

              1. RE "Where should I be on my stove here": standing right over it and don't go away. The recipe instructs you to remove the cover so the liquid will evaporate and the dish won't be too soupy. This means that it might burn if it goes too far or too fast so you need to watch it carefully and give it a stir once in a while. Don't answer the phone.

                1. "Slow boil" has nothing to do with a specific heat setting. It's a physical condition occurring in the sauté/fry pan after, according to the instructions, you've remove the lid. Just observe the ingredients and set the heat to the point where you achieve slow boil and watch it carefully so you don't end up with a burnt Ratatouille.
                  A "simmer" is something just under 200 degrees, a "slow boil" is something just above 200 degrees. So when you adjust the burner for the slow boil you should see some bubbling activity but nothing like the vigorous agitation you might see in a full boil (at or near 212 degrees) You're creating a reduction by evaporating the excess liquids to leave only the oil in the bottom of the pan.

                  1. Generally, I try to prepare a recipe as quickly as I can. This means I raise the stove heat as high as I can (allowing for the size of the pan) to get the pan up to the temperature specified in the recipe. Once the pan is hot and the ingredients are boiling or simmering, I adjust the heat to maintain that state. If there are distractions--phone calls, preparing multiple dishes--then I don't push the heat as fast to avoid catastrophes. You need to pay attention to what is actually happening in the pan and adjust the heat accordingly.

                    1. on the sloppy joe video the ground meat and vegetables are cooked on medium heat. She then goes to add the ketchup,mustard etc... and says to bring to a medium boil for so many minutes. (she turns the heat up to high for the medium boil). My question is could i just leave it at medium heat to get to a medium boil,or do i really have to turn it up to high? thanks ahead of time for your help and advice.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: walnut

                        How fast do you want to do it? How many other things are you doing?

                        1. re: walnut

                          There are way too many variables for anyone to give you a reliable answer. It depends on if you are using electricity or gas, how powerful your stove is, what kind of cookware you are using - and shape, and quality, and the amount of food vis-a-vis the shape and capacity of the pan. You just have to learn by experience. In general, do not try to rush things with high heat - unless it's a liquid, you'll probably burn your food. If you see that things are starting to burn, add a few tablespoons of water or other liquid to the pan. It will cool the cooking surface as it evaporates away. Move the pan off the burner for a moment while you lower the dial, to stop the overcooking. Do not stray far from the stove, so you remain aware of what's going on. Stir, and look at the spoon. Things may look fine on the surface and be scorching on the bottom. Use your nose and ears, too. When frying items sizzle, it's because water is cooking out of them. They quiet down when it's gone. When roasting or baking, most things are done when they fill the kitchen with a toasty aroma. Make notes on your recipes to remind you what worked and what went wrong so you do better the next time.

                        2. This is easy. The recipe is faulted because it should have said; "Bring to a boil." after adding the final ingredients, and "Reduce heat to low." before telling you to cover and simmer. As you will find out through more experience, you don't cover and simmer anything over medium heat. All you'll end up doing is making a big mess on your stove as the contents of your pan boils over. As for the slow boil? Just increase the heat (probably to medium) slowly, untill the contents of the pan just start to barely boil again, since they will have stopped bubbling as soon as you removed the lid.