quick scenes from the weekend

Posted on Posted in food and garden, projects

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.

15 thoughts on “quick scenes from the weekend

  1. Sounds absolutely delicious at your house this summer. I also prepare ratatouille using the same ingredients but this year I decided to spice it up with Cajun spices. Really good with noodles or boiled potatos. Luckily our tomatos are coming back after some really hot July weeks. No zuchini this year but lots of peppers in east Tennessee. How do you prepare your chard for freezing? I’ve a bumper crop and just hate to waste it. These chard plants are survivors of our really mild winter and were actually planted over a year ago!!! Get a real kick out of your blog.

  2. I was wondering how that bathroom was coming along, lol.

    Very yummy looking ratatouille! Tonight we had the very first tomato from our garden – a lemon one – delish! But other veggies are still quite a ways away from eating.

  3. I picked a few cherry tomatoes off of our lone cherry tomato plant this evening and my 4-yr. old grandson ate all but the one I snagged before he got to them. He said he just loves them so much. 🙂

    Go Mr. Knitspot! I hope there will be shapshots of the bathroom when it’s all done. I’ve had a couple of bathrooms in that state before…

  4. Your ratatouille looks delicious. I love orzo pasta too, we first came across it in Greece and have managed to find it back here in a couple of places. I hope David manages to get the bathroom done soon. (Have you got more than one? I can’t imagine how you have survived otherwise!)

  5. You asked for it–the tile going upstairs is a great sign! We remodeled extensively two years ago and it felt like we were camping out in our own house. The garden bounty is beautiful!

  6. Sam still talks about the ratatouille we had last summer at your house and he’s not much of a veggie eater.

  7. Who is that masked man?! How exciting to be in the home stretch for the bathroom remodel! Andy is refacing our kitchen cabinets and Im painting them so we feel your pain.

    The veggies look wonderful 🙂

  8. I had to laugh about your excitement with the bath remodeling. I just came home carrying tile from the store and got the same reaction.

    My excuse is its been way too hot in that little room to do the work. My poor family.

  9. Yes, when the tile is going in there really is a light at the end of the tunnel!
    We are a bit further along than you after many months also. The shower is now quite beautiful and usable – hurrah! The current snag is the outrageous cost of all types of glass enclosures, which we probably will not do now. So working on an acceptable way to put up a permanent rod for curtains instead – currently temp ones are held up by some kind of woodworking clamps. Would really like to add a second basin for myself and replace the original laminate countertop, but that will have to wait. Oh, the joys of DIY!

  10. I love seeing what you are cooking up in the kitchen and growing in your garden! I started reading your blog because I like your knitting patterns, but I ended up planting veggies and herbs this summer after seeing all the cool things you do with what you grow. (And talk about flowers galore! I was able to save my impatiens by rooting them in water after reading your blog, and had so much fun watching them grow this winter and have been enjoying them this summer and sharing them with friends!) I really appreciate you taking the time to share what you do!

  11. The ratatouille does look really yummy. I’ll have to give this a go once our garden has picked up. It’s a little behind because of hail damage but most of the plants seem to be recovering and I expect to be harvesting in a couple of weeks. My Swiss Chard is doing excellent and I’m wondering what you do with yours. I’ve made salads and pasta dishes with it, added to a hash but we just have so much! Would love to hear your ideas! 🙂

  12. Thank you for this post. Yesterday, I was given eggplant and zucchini by my neighbor (who seems to have tons of both) and I wondered what I was going to do with them. Then I remembered this post. . . and, coincidentally, the local paper reprinted Julia Child’s ratatouille recipe in their “What’s for Dinner” Column. So, it seems that ratatouille is meant to be on my dinner table this weekend.

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