I know that the blog has been all Emma, all the time, but now I am going to branch out into a few other areas of interest. Food, for one. We have been blessed lately with an extravagance of fresh vegetables from our CSA AND there are several local Farmer's Markets. I have made a batch of pickles from the cucumbers and also some dilled green beans. I have frozen peas, green beans, and corn on the cob for the winter. My tomato plants and squash have not yet revved up to full speed, thank God, because the bounty from the CSA has been almost more than we can eat.
Here are a few recipes for what we have been eating. Amounts are variable and feel free to adjust to suit your needs.
The original recipes I have call for either making a puree of the ingredients or adding in a commercial tomato juice base. I have found that doing it as I describe below works just fine.
In the bottom of a fairly large non-reactive dish (glass bowl, ceramic dish) put a layer of peeled and sliced or chunked cucumbers ( I prefer the chunks). Salt liberally with a non-chemicalized salt (I use kosher or large crystal sea salt). Then add in a layer of onion (again, slices or chunks). Salt the onion lightly. (The idea is that the salt draws out the juices). Then a layer of bell peppers, your choice of colours, and if you choose, maybe a hot pepper minced. Use a garlic press and add some garlic puree to taste - I find that 2 or 3 cloves work pretty well. Then take your freshest local juicy ripe tomatoes. Hold them over the dish to slice them and add them as the top layer. You don't want to miss any of the juice. You could peel them if you wish, but it isn't always necessary and it take time. On the other hand, if you peel them you don't end up picking tomato skins out of your teeth....
After you have layered all the veges, sprinkle the top with some red wine vinegar and some quality olive oil. About equal parts of each. Cover the dish and let it sit in a cool place (fridge or some such) for a while. Maybe an hour. You can sip your beverage of choice or work on other meal items while you are waiting. Then, take the tool of your choice and amalgamate the ingredients to some degree that will also express more of the juices. I personally like to take my freshly washed hands and smoosh things together, but you could also use a spoon or a spatula.
Serve in small bowls with garlic toasts or croutons on the side.
Prepare a large cooking pot with thick bottom, put in plenty olive oil.
Chop 1 or 2 onions, put them into the pot and start it cooking slowly. Slice and garlic (about 6 cloves).
Cut up 1 or 2 bell peppers into small strips, and stir in.
Peel an eggplant, cut it into big chunks, then throw them into the pot. Do the same to some zucchini and/or other summer squash.
Wash the tomatoes, chop them up in big chunks, and throw them in (no peeling) and stir in well. You need 2 or 3 big beefsteak tomatoes, or an equivalent amount of other tomatoes.
They then need to be stirred down frequently until they've merged with the rest of the ingredients. If you wish, you can add in some fresh chopped basil, parsley, thyme and similar herbs now or at the end. Other possible additions are capers and mushrooms.
This can take as long as 45 minutes and I suggest that you have the pot on the lowest possible heat. Depending on your tomatoes, you could get caramelization and that is not the goal here.
Ratatouille can be served as a main course, as a relish over meat or fish, on pasta or potatoes, or as a side dish. It can be served hot, warm, or cold. You can roll it in crepes or put it in an omelet. It is delicious and versatile.
The other thing I have done with my vegetables lately is to oven roast the root veges. Fingerling potatoes, onions, carrots, and beets, with some garlic (of course!). yum.