while it continues to be incredibly hot and dry here, the garden waits for no man—picking and storing away produce must be done, no matter how the heat escalates in the kitchen.
when the weather gets like this, i try to change my schedule around, rousing myself at 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning, while it’s cool and dark to work at my desk, getting outside to run or ride my bike in the last fresh hour of the morning. this works out pretty well—i can sleep later, during the hot afternoon hours, when it’s useless to try and concentrate on paperwork or even on knitting.
once the sun goes down, i can usually get a little more work done, or put up some vegetables in the kitchen. two night ago i prepped, blanched, and packaged five bags of green beans for the freezer; i’m picking a basket every day now. yesterday morning, it was six bags of swiss chard.
this morning, i had a vegetable bin full of eggplant and summer squash, so when i came in from my run, i started a big pot of ratatouille. our own tomatoes are just now beginning to ripen, but when i was at beckie’s house yesterday, she gave me a bagful.
i had a few of our own as well to round out the pot. i stewed those briefly and pureed them while they were just barely cooked on the outside to a chunky consistency.
i picked and washed some basil, then started chopping the eggplant, onions, squash, peppers, and garlic—every single one of these from our own garden.
i started the tomato and garlic base to cooking in a big pot, then sautéed each vegetable separately and added it to the tomato base—eggplant first, then onions and peppers, and lastly the squash. as i go i season with pepper and salt, deglazing the pan between each addition with a little white wine.
once everything is together, i let it cook maybe twenty minutes more or whenever the eggplant is just tender—not too long; i don’t want to lose the fresh flavor or crispness. this dish is really good if it’s left to sit for awhile before eating—it does not need to be piping hot to eat; it’s actually really good at room temperature. if storing overnight, some cooks cover the top with a thin layer of olive oil.
fold in a large amount of fresh basil leaves just before serving; we like to eat ours over a bed of orzo pasta, but it’s also good on its own with great bread.
eating it outside or on the porch completes the experience.
BTW, this is a dish that, in my experience, kids just LOVE to eat. so much so, that they will even mention it a year or two later, remembering how much they liked it at my house. i find this very entertaining.
david is busy this weekend too—printing and packaging up pattern orders as well as t-shirts and totes that are now available in our shop (yay). we’ll have a few more choices soon; my brother the screenprinter is on it.
but the really exciting news from the home front is that i saw david carrying tile boxes up to the bathroom-in-progress last night. you know, the ones that have been lining the walls of our “living room” all this year?? i am beside myself—if tile is going in, then we are not all that far from the end, right?? (please say yes)
because i’ve been waiting a really long time to have our bathroom back . . .
ok, that’s all i have for now; time to get back up to my study to knit. david himself will be stopping in tomorrow with a word and i’ll be back monday with something fun.