This is a great time to make this mediterranean vegetable stew–all the veggies are finally ripe  in our Portland garden.

Ingredients for ratatouille

What you will need:  (use organic ingredients)

  • 1lb eggplant
  • 1lb tomatoes
  • 1lb summer squash/zucchinis
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • thyme, oregano, basil, salt and pepper
  • olive oil

I use a non-stick fry pan and a Creuset stewing pot, but a spaghetti pan will too fine.

  1. Peel and slice eggplant in thick slices lengthwise. Sprinkle salt and toss. Let it stand for 30 minutes. (we are drawing all the water out).
  2. Boil water, and dunk tomatoes for one minute. Under cold water slide the skins off. (They will come right off). Slice tomatoes and with your finger get all the seeds out then squeeze the tomatoes to get most of the juice out as well. Put in stew pot on simmer with herbs.
  3. Cut up all your other veggies, dice the onion, mince the garlic.
  4. Put two TBLS of olive oil in your non-stick pan or double the amount if you are using cast iron; put heat on high
  5. Fry onions first then garlic then everything else but the eggplant until all your ingredients have a nice brown color. Poor all in stewing pot
  6. While you are doing this, press and squeeze the eggplant in paper towels or  cloth towel (you will need about 3 cloth towels) get all the water out and cube.  Fry till brown in 2 TBLS olive oil; careful it sticks. Poor into stewing pot.
  7. Let it simmer for one hour with lid on. Taste and add salt (remember that your eggplant probably salted the dish already)

I often double the recipe because it freezes well and it’s so good you rarely have left-overs. You can serve it with rice, or my favorite with couscous. Here’s how to make quick and easy couscous.

  1. Put one cup of white couscous in a non-stick fry pan with a tsp of olive oil on low/medium. Continuously stir until you see it turning color. YOU MUST NOT WALK AWAY.  Have a lid that will cover your pan adequately at the ready
  2. Put your kettle on; you will need one cup of boiling water, so have a pyrex cup at the ready
  3. Once the couscous has some color, quickly measure one cup of boiling water, poor it into the pan with couscous, put lid on, turn heat off.
  4. Let it stand for 5 minutes.

I love couscous because it absorbes what ever flavor it is mixed with. Also it is quite beautiful to serve, as it will have taken the exact mold of the pan. So, reverse the pan into a serving dish, and have the colorful ratatouille around the grain and that will make a pretty dish to serve to your friends.  This dish can be made the day before–it’s even better! But the grain needs to be freshly cooked.


See you out back…

Tip of the day: we have only a few weeks of growing season left. Cut out all new flowers on your vegetable plants, as well as all fruits in need of more than a few weeks to mature. We are now trying to get as many vegetables ripe, and by cutting the immature fruit the plant will put all its energy into the vegetables that are left. Also reduce watering to stress the plant. That will also force the plants to put their energy into having viable seeds ie ripe fruits for us.



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