CSA: Week 11, ratatouille for the win

[Argh, until I work out a solution please imagine another third of each photo off to the right. Annoying.]

The goods:
-3 ears corn (I cut off the kernels and froze them)
-1 delicata squash (!!)
-3 bell peppers, red, yellow and purple
-1 lb orange carrots
-2 onions
-1 ginormous yellow tomato
-1 regular-sized red tomato

I find heirloom tomatoes entertaining. This one had some issues–I failed to notice that the bottom was torn up, so I had to do something with it right away but most of it wasn’t really that ripe, so the less said the better. The colors, though:

Anyway, I looked at those peppers and eggplant and thought “ratatouille.” Which is hilarious to me, since as a kid ratatouille was one of the very few things I refused to eat. I remember calling it out as the most disgusting food of all time, one time when I was asked about favorite/least favorite foods–I hated the name, I hated bell peppers, I hated the idea of it. I really did eat nearly everything as a kid, but ratatouille just grossed me out. Now, though, I find anything with zucchini and eggplant cooked in tomato sauce with olive oil so deeply, deeply appealing… Something about the way olive oil soaks into those soft vegetables, and then they get so silky and flavorful?

For the second or third time since June, I did have to go buy some vegetables–zucchini is long-gone from the CSA at this point–but all the rest of it I had on hand:

I basically made a half-batch of the EveryDay Food recipe, which is very simple:

Ratatouille, from EveryDay Food
1/3 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large eggplants, (2 pounds), peeled in strips and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
4 to 5 medium zucchini, (2 pounds), cut into 1-inch cubes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 yellow or red bell peppers, ribs and seeds removed, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried thyme [I didn’t have any, so I used a pinch or two of herbes de provence. Sadly mine are the type w/ lavender flowers in them, which lent a bit of an odd note to the bites containing it!]
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

In a Dutch oven (or other heavy 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid), heat oil over medium heat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in eggplant and zucchini; season generously with salt and pepper.
Add 3/4 cup water; cover, and simmer until vegetables are beginning to soften, stirring once, about 5 minutes. Stir in bell peppers; simmer, covered, until softened, 5 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes and thyme; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Partially cover; simmer, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat. If serving immediately, stir in basil. (If freezing, leave out basil.)

It did feel sinful to use canned tomatoes in august, but I didn’t have fresh ones and I did have a can of Muir Glen. Still, next time I’ll definitely blanch/peel/chop up a couple pounds of tomatoes instead of using canned, if I can.

Ben grilled sausages and I toasted some oiled bread on the hot grill, then rubbed it with garlic. A simple and delicious meal: It was perfect for the chilly evening that night; still summery with all the vegetables, but also warm and comforting.

Plus, even making a half batch I had enough for lunch the next day AND a big ziplock full to freeze.

I was reminded, eating that night, that I always meant to make the Ratatouille-the-movie version: The NYTimes published the recipe back when it came out, and I still need to give it a shot… How pretty is that?

(Image from the movie, via inuyaki.com)

One thought on “CSA: Week 11, ratatouille for the win”

  1. I second your emotion re: ratatouille. I feel the same way about anything with eggplant now. and everywhere I turn I find another delicious recipe with eggplant.

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