" Adventures in Babysitting" Rug-rat-atouille

Give the kids a healthy snack...and let them stay up late.

You will need:

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup pure olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 4 red onions, chopped
  • 4 yellow squash or zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large bell peppers, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 8 fat slices French bread
  • 1/4 cup shaved Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 state-of-the-art Nannycam


1.Preheat oven to 325? F. Peel the eggplant and cut into 2-inch cubes. Place the eggplant in a colander, sprinkle with salt and set in the sink to drain for at least 20 minutes.

2. Rinse the eggplant well to remove the salt, then place in a clean, dry towel and squeeze out as much water as possible. Heat a large saute pan with half of the olive oil and the crushed garlic over medium heat until the garlic is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove garlic, chop, and reserve.

3. Increase heat to medium-high and saute the eggplant until brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Remove eggplant from the pan, drain and arrange in a baking dish or casserole.

4. Add the squash and saute until softened, about 2 minutes. Remove from pan and spread over eggplant in baking dish.

5. Add the remaining olive oil and saute the onion and peppers over medium heat until golden brown; add the chopped tomatoes, pepper flakes, and thyme and simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes.

6. Spread the tomato-onion mixture over the ingredients in the baking dish, sprinkle with black olives and transfer to the preheated 325? F oven. Bake until heated through, about 25 minutes.

7. Mash the reserved chopped garlic with a few teaspoons of olive oil and spread over the sliced bread. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Serve the hot vegetable mixture over the toasted garlic bread and top with shaved cheese and chopped basil.

8. Listen carefully for the folks to pull up and sneak out the back door before they find out what condition you've left the kitchen in.

Serves 4

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