Ratatouille Over Couscous

I was thinking about the name of my blog, and I was thinking about what really makes a dish Itty Bitty City Kitchen friendly.

And I came up with a few factors.

As the name implies, the kitchen is itty bitty, so dinners need to not need a lot of ingredients. They also need to not require a lot of pans or any fancy gadgets that can’t be stored in said itty bitty kitchen.

Also, as the name implies, this kitchen is in a city, which means that it’s probably in a bustling, crowded area that’s packed with people and noise. It also probably means that work hours are long and by the time you get home, what with the crowds and noise, meal prep has to be fast. And easy. You’re probably tired.

So, with all of that in mind, here is what I think is one of the most itty bitty city kitchen friendly meals, ratatouille. You can vary the ingredients, but think five vegetables and some seasonings. Also, one pot. Also, also, you throw said ingredients into said one pot and just stir it once in a while. Small number of ingredients, one pot, and super fast and easy.

Oh. And Delicious.

Ratatouille is basically a stewed vegetable dish in a tomato base. You can swap out the vegetable and the spices based on your tastes, the season, and what you have on hand, but a can of diced tomatoes is essential.

I used:

  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into one inch chunks
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes

You will also need vegetable oil, salt and pepper. I went slightly Middle Eastern and added turmeric, but you could do herbs de provence, thyme, Italian seasoning, anything really.

This is a throw everything in one pot dish, but you don’t want to throw everything in at the same time. We’re going to layer a bit.

Drizzle some vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the peppers and onions and cook over medium until soft (10-15 minutes).

Add the eggplant, a drizzle more oil, salt and pepper and cook for another 10-15 minutes.

Lastly, add the diced tomatoes, chickpeas and turmeric. Let this cook, covered, for another 10-15 minutes.


This can simmer for longer, but if you’re just home from work and starving because someone did not order lunch for the meeting you had from 12-3, then this is good to go.

This makes a great side dish if you wanted to have some grilled chicken or steak.

Or, if you want to make this the center of the meal, whip up some quick cooking couscous. This is sort of a small kitchen, busy cook staple. Bring water to a boil, pour in couscous, turn off burner, cover, and boom, five minutes later you have couscous.

So, to serve this over couscous, make the couscous and scoop a few spoonfuls into a bowl.


Ladle over your ratatouille.


And then to really bring the Middle Eastern flavor home, add a scoop of Greek yogurt.


This dish is delicious, but the best part about it is that it gets even more delicious as it sits in the fridge.

What’s more itty bitty city kitchen friendly than a one pot dish that serves up two dinners?

Moroccan Memory

Hello again blogosphere!

I’ve been away from you, traveling through London and Paris, and regaining my culinary verve!

In looking back at some of my last posts, I can see I was in a cooking rut. Making dinner had become a chore instead of the hour of relaxation and decompression it had previously been for me.

I was definitely in need of a break.

But now, I’m back in my itty bitty city kitchen with new culinary inspiration!

In London I stumbled upon a fantastic little Moroccan restaurant in the Leicester Square area. And I had one of the most amazing plates of food I have ever experienced. It could have been the charming waiter. It could have been the thrill of being to dinner by myself in a foreign city. Or it could have been the best darn cous cous I have ever had.

Whatever it may be, I was craving it when we got back. So I set to work to recreate the meal.

Moroccan food is my new obsession. The way the vegetables are roasted to tender perfection, the pairing of sweet and warm and savory spices, the burst of dried apricots nestled amongst the squash and sweet potatoes… Drool worthy.

This might not be authentic Moroccan, but it captured the essence of the meal.

This made enough for the two of us for dinner and extra for two or three lunches. The best kind of recipe!

You will need

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 yellow squash cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • a handful of shredded cabbage
  • a handful each of dried prunes and dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • couscous

Once all of the ingredients are chopped, it’s just a matter of layering all of the flavors in a big pot and letting them cook together.

Start by drizzling a big heavy bottomed pan with olive oil and tossing in the onion.



When the onion is softened, add the garlic, tomato paste and cinnamon.


Give a big stir and add about a 1/2 cup of water, stirring to combine the tomato paste.


Let this cook together for about 5 minutes, and then add the sweet potato, squash, carrots and cabbage.


Give the pot a big stir and add the apricots and prunes.


Give it another big stir to combine and then add about a cup and a half of water


Cover and let simmer over medium heat for about an hour, stirring twice.

After an hour, add the chickpeas and stir to combine.


Meanwhile, prepare the couscous. The chickpeas just need a few minutes to warm through. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Serve up big bowls of couscous and ladle the vegetable mixture over top.


Eating it I was back in the restaurant watching people walk around London…

Fruit and Nut Couscous Salad



Usually, I’m good with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some fruit for lunch at work. When it’s really hot, yogurt with some fruit and homemade nutella granola are my go to.

But sometimes I need something different.

Salad are great and so are leftovers.

But I didn’t really want something savory for lunch. I didn’t want something too sweet either (vanilla yogurt and nutella granola straddles the line between lunch and dessert, I’ll admit).

So on days like this, I reach for couscous.

Quick cook couscous is one of the greatest inventions ever. Pour it in a bowl, add some boiling water, cover for a few minutes and boom! couscous. You can let it sit and steam while you make your breakfast.

Once you have the couscous cooked you can pretty much add anything you want to it.

Today, I went with some chopped dried apricots and plums, some chopped roasted pecans and a lot of cinnamon. I had these things on hand, so go with whatever is in your pantry.

The grains are filling. The dried fruit is chewy with enough sweetness. The nuts add some crunch and some protein. And cinnamon is just the best spice in the world.

Whip some up.

Make your coworkers jealous.