Rat-a-tat-touille

Back to the garden……

Back in the day, we walked out back, pulled weeds and gathered what was ripe.

And tossed what was eaten by insects and animals.

One year the peppers had strange bites taken out of them, while they were still on the plant…..rabbits??? squirrels??

Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat...Maybe next time!

Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat…Maybe next time!

Turns out it was

Baby Brother

A typical mid-August haul would include zucchini, summer squash, peppers of various sorts, possibly an eggplant or two. We didn’t grow eggplant every year, some years omitted by design, some years there just weren’t any that survived drought or flood or powdery mildew or cutworm….

cutworm800px-Neil_Phillips_-_Large_Yellow_Underwing_caterpiller_(by)

Large Yellow Underwing Caterpillar

Our eggplants were always purple...

Our eggplants were always purple…

It was not uncommon to bring in a haul, wash them off and start lunch.

A good circle of oil in the bottom of a good sized frying pan.

Cut up an onion (we never grew onions, for reasons I know not, which is a pity (was a pity?) because they are dead easy if you start with sets); cut up the pepper and add it next. Nothing really browns, it cooks and gets a little weepy….cut, add, stir around……

Then the green zucchini, cut into circles or half moons or triangles, depending on big around they are….they should all be the same size, and not too terribly big.

Summer squash….same delio.

Cucurbita_pepo_collage_1Salt. Pepper. Stir.

Cut and seed tomatoes.

I know you got’em

……add them last, stir again.

Any fresh herbs in your garden?

Come on – if you’ve got tomatoes, you must have basil

– wash, chop and add.

Basil-Basilico-Ocimum_basilicum-albahacaSmells good?

You betcha.

Serve over pasta or leftover rice or just put in a nice bowl ….top with grated cheese…..Lunch is ready.

Mangia!

Imagine my surprise when I caught Julia Child making this on The French Chef….and it was called

Ratatouille

Julia tasting

Julia Child – taste as you go!

Ratatouille

from Mastering The Art of French Cooking

serves 6-8

Ingredients

1 lb. eggplant

1/lb. zucchini

1 teaspoon salt

6-7 tablespoons olive oil, more if necessary

1/2 lb. (about 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions

1 pound firm red tomatoes, or 1 1/2 cups pulp

2 (about 1 cup) sliced green bell peppers

2 cloves mashed garlic

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Peel the eggplant and cut into lengthwise slices 3/8 inch thick, about 3 inches long, and 1 inch wide.  Scrub the zucchini, slice off the two ends, and cut the zucchini into slices about the same size as the eggplant slices.  Place the vegetables in a bowl and toss with the salt.  Let stand for 30 minutes.  Drain.  Dry each slice in a towel.

One layer at a time, saute the eggplant, and then the zucchini in hot olive oil for about a minute on each side to brown very lightly.  Remove to a side dish.

In the same skillet, cook the onions and peppers slowly in olive oil for about 10 minutes, or until tender but not browned.  Stir in the garlic and season to tastes.

Slice the tomato pulp into 3/8 inch strips.  Lay them over the onions and peppers.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover the skillet and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, or until tomatoes have begun to render their juice.  Uncover, baste the tomatoes with the juices, raise heat and boil off several minutes, until juice has almost entirely evaporated.

Place a third of the tomato mixture in the bottom of the casserole and sprinkle over it 1 tablespoon of parsley.  Arrange half of the eggplant and zucchini on top, then half the remaining tomatoes and parsley.  Put in the rest of the eggplant and zucchini, and finish with the remaining tomatoes and parsley.

Cover the casserole and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.  Uncover, tip casserole and baste with the rendered juices.  Correct seasoning, if necessary.  Raise heat slightly and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes more, basting several times, until juices have evaporated leaving a spoonful or two of flavored olive oil.  Be careful of your heat; do not let the vegetables scorch in the bottom of the casserole.

Set aside uncovered.  Reheat slowly at serving time or serve cold.

JCMastering

https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/news/in-news/ratatouille-mastering-art-french-cooking-and-day-julia

Julia cooking up ratatouille on ABC network

Julia cooking up ratatouille on ABC network

Ratatouille – it’s also a movie….starring…a Rat.

RatatouillePoster

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Filed under Eating, Influencers, Lunch, Recipe, The 1970's

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