Saturday, July 16, 2011

What is Provencal? What the heck is a Ninja Storm?!?!

Some times, things don't sink in for me.  I often find myself asking What the heck is a Ninja Storm?  And yes, I did just link to an answer of sorts.  I'm actually (being a huge geek, but you've been warned before) a Power Rangers fan, but my brain can't wrap around it.

Another concept readily explained but constantly going over my head is Provencal.  Provencal this food.  Provencal that food.  Wiki seems to think it involves France in one of several ways.  

I don't know what it is... which is why I was puzzled when The Husband selected this as his chosen dish in our Appetite for Reduction journey.

Is this right?  Does it look like this?
(By the way, yes.  I know I'm not reducing anymore.  This does not mean I'm not continually interested in lean and healthy dishes... especially of the vegetarian and vegan sort!)

So, without a picture to go by or any real clue (despite having the whole of the internet to just confuse me more on the topic, I made Isa's Eggplant Provencal.

Here is where I started learning something about the book I'll reveal later.  All I know is that I tend to be... slightly... anal retentive.  I know at one point Mark Bittman made a joke on one of his The Minimalist clips taking 2 or 3 hours to precisely dice carrots.  Except I did not laugh, because, some how, that is my life.  

Apparently, Provencal involves chopping.  A lot of chopping.

It also involved red wine.  I added my favorite red wine and all liquids into my dutch oven.  I'm told by the book not to worry if the veggies poke out a little, as they would cook down.

I look into my pot.  They are poking out more than a little.  More to the tune of a helluva lot.

I do like a lot of veggies (yes) but I was trying to be as true to the recipes as possible and thought I was using an appropriate amount.  I ultimately wound up adding more veggie broth (or water... or some liquid, maybe wine?) so I got the point of poking out a little.

After all, I do not know what a provencal is!

After much cooking... much, much cooking, I swear three days passed between the chopping and the cooking, I looked at my dish and thought... it's stuff.  I placed it in a bowl.  I didn't have anything in the way of cool bread.  So I stuck an English muffin in.  Because in the world of Provencal, English and French go together.  Right?  Right?!

So, 8 weeks later, I sat down and had my first bite of Provencal.  And do you know what?

English invades France!  Is that right?  Is that provencal?
Is this a Ninja Storm?
I did not like it.

It tastes... sweet.  Is that right?  Should it?

I take 2 more bites.  I don't like it.  It's warm... eggplant is mushy... but doesn't that normally happen.

I take another bite.  I scoop some on top of the English muffin.  It's not bad.

I take 2 or 3 more bites.  Actually, it's not quite so bad.

The dinner goes on (very long, I take a while to eat) until my ultimate decision is that it's warm, filling, slightly sweet, slightly mushy.  Potatoes and carrots cooked to perfection.  It does go good with bread.  It's actually very, very good.

Which is my way sometimes, which is why I like to take more than 3 bites.  Unless it is really, really bad.  That usually takes just 2 bites.

So, I recommend this... provencal thing to people.  But really, can you answer me a question?

What the heck is a Ninja Storm?!*

*  Yes.  I am crazy.  Thank you for noticing.

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