The Dish on Camp Culinary
By Chef Michael DeBoer
Ratatouille is one of my favorite vegetable side dishes to prepare because of all the different flavors that go into making it. August is the best time of year to make this dish, because almost all of the produce used to make it is at the peak of its seasonality. Summer squash and garlic is readily available, eggplant, sweet bell peppers and onions are starting to make their presence known, and tomatoes are not far away. So we have everything to cook up a classical dish from the Provencal region of France; add to that a bit of herbs and some olive oil, and we are off and running.
One of the most frequently asked questions at our market cooking demos is: “What type of oil are you using?” People are a bit stunned when I tell then canola or safflower. “Why not olive oil?” is normally their next question. Olive oil is lovely--its flavor is second to none--but that doesn’t mean that olive oil is the be-all, end-all as far as oil goes. Its main drawback is the fact that it has a low smoking point compared to other oils and, when sautéing or stir frying, two high heat techniques, olive oil is not your best choice. In our Ratatouille demo, outside of teaching how to make a world-class vegetable side dish, we work through how to best to maintain proper heat when cooking with olive oil so you don’t undercook your dish on one end or create carcinogens on the other.
With that said, there are some things you just can’t
make without olive oil and Ratatouille—this upcoming weekend’s Camp Culinary
cooking demo—is one of them.
- Saturday, August 13, 2011- 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - 5 and 6:30 p.m.
Each demo is a free mini cooking class, taught by a professional chef, using fresh Boulder Farmers’ Market produce, and when the lesson is over, the eating begins.
I believe in supporting our local farmers, so I visit the Boulder Farmer's Market four times a month to give free cooking demos. We are a locally-grown business that offers in-home cooking classes to kids and adults, instructional cooking parties and team-building events. To book with Camp Culinary, please e-mail us at email@example.com.
Keep on cooking!