From time to time we invite friends to join us at the Oldways Table to share their knowledge, insights and recipes with our readers. This week we are so excited to have The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos Shames, join us. These New York-based registered dieticians assist celebrities, professional athletes and everyday people in attaining their personal health related goals. They have become known for their unique approach to nutrition counseling, corporate lecturing, writing, making media appearances and consulting to multi-national food companies. And these ladies have also authored two books! Today they share a recipe for Summer Ratatouille—the perfect recipe on this first day of summer!

This past weekend we went out to an Italian dinner for Father’s Day. As we watched Tammy’s young daughters dip their bread in olive oil, it reminded us that not so many years ago, we, along with so many other health professionals, were so misguided and avoided all fat sources and oils thinking they weren’t good for us. How things have changed; we now know how healthy and delicious many plant oils are. Olive oil, in particular, is one of the best and we feel lucky that we can feel really good about letting Tammy’s kids truly enjoy it. Fortunately, nowadays, thanks to the popularity of the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle, olive oil is every place you turn, and taste buds and healthy hearts are so grateful that it’s a staple at many restaurants. It’s hard to believe that just about eighteen years ago this wasn’t the case. At that time, an amazing organization, Oldways, [Thanks for the plug ladies!!] teamed up with the Harvard School of Public Health to introduce the Mediterranean diet to Americans. Now, this way of eating is recognized as the “gold standard” for eating patterns that promote lifelong good health. And since then, olive oil has been steadily growing in popularity, as Americans are not only trying to be healthier, but also have fallen in love with the rich flavor it offers. Over the past years, as the Mediterranean diet has become front and center, we personally have been experimenting with Mediterranean recipes which feature plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, whole grains; nuts, fish, poultry and lean red meat; cheese and yogurt; and yes, generous amounts of extra-virgin olive oil! We were thrilled when our intern Veronica Sommer introduced this recipe to us. It’s ideal for summer and it tastes so good that it may become one of your staple “go-to” recipes like it now is for us! Summer Ratatouille Ingredients: 2-3 medium Roma tomatoes (although any kind will work), diced into 1 inch cubes 1 small eggplant, diced into ½ inch cubes (with or without skin) 1 medium yellow squash, diced in ½ inch cubes 1 medium zucchini, cut into ¼ inch medallions

1 medium red onion, diced 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped 1 cup mushrooms, sliced into ¼ inch pieces 1 sprig of fresh Italian parsley, chopped 2 Tbsp olive oil 1 tsp salt (optional) 1 ½ tsp of Herbes de Provence (mix of savory, fennel, thyme, basil, rosemary, bay leaf, chervil, tarragon, marjoram, lavender and mint) 4 oz (half container) of firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes (optional)
Cooking directions:
-In a deep sauté pan (cast iron skillet is best), lightly brown garlic and onions in olive oil -Add tomatoes and cook until softened, to release lycopene -Add eggplant and Herbes de Provence, sauté until eggplant softens -If desired add diced tofu, being careful not to break cubes -Add zucchini, squash and mushrooms, and cook until tender but firm -Finally, add some fresh parsley during the last minute of cooking This dish should be of a thin, saucy consistency with colorful cubes of summer vegetables. It can be served either hot or cold. Eat with crackers or add whole wheat pasta for a nice dish which is nutritious and refreshing on a hot summer day. And for more from Lizzie and Tammy you can check out their website, friend them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Add a Comment