Ratatouille From our French Friends

July 27th, 2011

While on our motorcycle trip to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest we met Carole and Laurent on the ferry trip down the Inner Passage toward Vancouver Island.  We thought we were brave souls for making the trip to Alaska, but Carole and Laurent have us beat by miles.  They have taken a year off from their jobs, shipped their bike to Montreal, ridden across Canada, toured Alaska and now have ridden from West to East across the United States.  We invited them to stay with us on their trip South.  They are on their way to Florida to stay for a few weeks and then will head west again through Texas, into Mexico and Central America.  They will then load their bike on a boat to South America and spend the remainder of their trip exploring that continent.  Not only do they have all of their clothing for all kinds of weather, camping gear and supplies with them, but they travel with panache.  Carole always wears her pearls and her hair is cut in a short style that defies the evil effects of helmet head.  They have a blog which chronicles the trip and Carole has a separate section “just for girls” that tells you how to travel with very little and still look good.

Carole’s silver fox helmet attachement is tres chic.  As is her recipe for ratatouille.

Ratatouille has it’s origins in Provence and uses a melange of summer vegetables.  Eggplant (Aubergine), zuchinni (corgettes), peppers, onions and tomatoes.  Carole and Laurent live in Tours which is in the heart of the Loire River Valley.  They have invited us to stay with them when we visit France next summer.  Carole’s version of ratatouille differs from the recipes I have seen before only in the seasonings.  Most ratatouilles are seasoned with thyme and bay leaves.  Carole uses cumin and cilantro.  That is “so individually Carole” and so good.  Here is her recipe.


1 eggplant cut into small cubes
1 onion, chopped
3 zuchinnis cut into small cubes
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 tsp cumin powder (or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
Olive oil for sauteing

In a large skillet coated with olive oil saute the eggplant and onions until they are soft.  Remove from pan to a bowl.  Add more oil to pan and in it saute the zuchinni and and red pepper until they are soft.  Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 1 more minute.  Add the cumin and the cilantro.  Stir.  Return the eggplant mixture to the pan along with the can of diced tomatoes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer and cover.  Cook over low heat for about 45 minutes.  Serve as is or over rice.

Dinner was delicieux, tres magnifiques.

We said our au revoirs this morning.  We hated to see them leave.

Rendez-vous l’annee prochaine.  See you next year.  Bon Voyage Carole and Laurent!  You can follow their blog and adventures here.

Printable recipe

8 responses to “Ratatouille From our French Friends”

  1. Susan says:

    I just have goose bumps reading this. Do you know how lucky you are to meet such interesting people? And her ratatouille looks very nice. Merci. Susan (Oh yes, on my way to their blog)

  2. Cathy says:

    Wow, I can’t even imagine a trip like that. They will have a lifetime’s worth of stories by the time they return home. It will be fun to follow their journey. Love your post, Penny.

  3. They are adventurous souls…I’m so happy that you got to meet these interesting people on your trip. The ratatouille looks delicious. Would cumin and cilantro give it a little Mexican twist??


  4. bellini says:

    Such an adventurous couple with good taste in friends and food!

  5. Pondside says:

    I love it that your Alaskan adventure still goes on with a visit from your French friends. Ratatouille is one of our favorite dishes, so I’ll definitely try this recipe – and I’ll have a look at that link too!

  6. Big Dude says:

    Wow, that is a real adventure they are having – I can’t imagine doing it in a car, much less on a motorcycle. I’d be afraid to ride thru Mexico without an army escort. It’s always great to make new friends like that.

  7. What a cool couple and what an adventure. Free spirits with a great attitude. Fun post Penny.

  8. Barbara says:

    What fun new friends, Penny. They certainly are taking the trip of a lifetime, aren’t they?

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