Sunday, August 7, 2011

Taste of Summer

Washington DC supposedly empties as August rolls around. People go on vacation, escape the oppressive humidity of the swamp that houses our Nation's Capital (...I don't think it's so bad...). As such, one would assume that the city turns to a ghost town. But you wouldn't think that after seeing the packed stalls at the farmers market this morning. Perhaps this was the last hurrah before people skip town. Perhaps it was in celebration of National Farmers Market Week! Even so, I think that the crowds today were a testament to the fact that farmers markets in the summer are festive, alluring, and downright breath-taking.

August is perhaps what I consider to be the epitome of summer, at least in terms of food. Today marked the first Sunday farmers market of August 2011, and you could tell immediately that summer is in full swing. While the berries are winding down (unlike in the Pacific Northwest), stone fruit abound. Hot weather vegetables include zucchinis, eggplants, and tomatoes (really these are also all fruit...) start to claim real estate.
Considering the prevalence of these last fruits of the earth, it seems only reasonable that one should take this into consideration when preparing meals for the coming week (and believe me, the peaches have already been accounted for...). So here I offer you a very simple, very easy, and very delicious summer stew that takes advantage of the height of summer produce. It's scalable, storable, and takes virtually no effort.

Slow-roasted ratatouille
1 medium Italian eggplant
1 large yellow summer squash
1 large or 2 medium tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 sprig of fresh oregano
1 stem of fresh basil
salt to taste
olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan

1. Slice eggplant into rounds (about 1/4" thick). halve, and then place in bowl and salt. Allow to sit thirty minutes. Meanwhile, slice up squash into rounds, slice tomatoes and garlic.
2. Coat bottom of a pyrex casserole with olive oil or spray. Layer eggplant, zucchini, some garlic, and tomatoes. Salt. Place basil and oregano here. Continue with a second layer of eggplant, zucchini, garlic and tomatoes.
3. Cover casserole with lid (or foil) and bake at 325F for an hour, or until everything is really soft and the garlic literally melts in your mouth.
4. I like to add red lentils or split peas. Can serve with crusty bread or polenta. Would also be tasty adding fresh corn from the cob or caramelized onions. ENJOY!

Ricki's holding a weekly roundup of recipes. Check out other healthy summer eats at Diet, Desserts and Dogs!

1 comment:

Ricki said...

I'm a ratatouille fan from way back! I haven't had it in ages. . . this makes me want to cook up a huge potfull and savor the last of summer! Thanks for submitting to WW this week. :)