Sunday, September 8, 2013



The eggplant harvest has been much anticipated, but disappointingly small.  So Ratatouille (from blend of ratouiller to disturb, shake and tatouiller to stir), a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, will allow us to use other vegetables from our harvest to the dish. 


1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
1 1/2 cups small diced yellow onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups medium diced eggplant, skin on
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup diced green bell peppers
1 cup diced red bell peppers
1 cup diced zucchini squash
1 cup diced yellow squash
1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Set a large 12-inch saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and garlic to the pan. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are wilted and lightly caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the eggplant and thyme to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is partially cooked, about 5 minutes. Add the green and red peppers, zucchini, and squash and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for a final 5 minutes. Stir well to blend and serve either hot or at room temperature.

Picture of Ratatouille Recipe

This recipe for eggplant mashed potatoes is a favorite from the Union Square Cafe Cookbook, often served with grilled tuna in a spicy teriyaki style marinade.   


2 med. eggplants (2 lbs.), peeled
1/4 c. olive oil
1 t. salt
black pepper, freshly ground
1 T. sesame oil
1 t. garlic, minced
1 T. ginger, peeled & grated
1 T. tahini
2 T. soy sauce (preferably tamari)
2 c. mashed potatoes
1 recipe Frizzled Leeks (opt.)

Cut eggplants in half lengthwise, then slice each half lengthwise into thirds.  Keep the slices together.  Slice across the halves at 1/2" intervals.  With a wide spatula, transfer the cut eggplant to a lightly oiled roasting pan.  Drizzle evenly with 3 T. of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Cover with foil and roast in the oven for 45 minutes.  The cooked eggplant should be very tender and soft to the touch.  Puree in a food processor until smooth.  In a medium sauté pan, heat the remaining olive oil and the sesame oil over a low flame.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add the eggplant puree, tahini, and soy sauce; cook for 10 minutes longer.  Stir in the warm mashed potatoes and heat thoroughly.  Add pepper and serve piping hot.


2 lbs. Idaho potatoes
2 t. Kosher salt
8 T. unsalted butter
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. milk
1/4 t. freshly ground white pepper

Place the potatoes in a 2-quart saucepan with 1 t. of the salt and cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered until completely tender, about 30 minutes.  Place in a colander and allow to drain well.  Combine the butter, heavy cream, and milk in another saucepan and heat gently until butter has melted.  Keep warm.  Pass the potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer.  Place the potatoes over a low flame and begin adding the warm milk mixture.  Whip the potatoes with a wooden spoon or spatula while heating.  Season with salt and white pepper.

A tasty version of this Greek dish, a street food I first savored in Athens,  was found in a paperback copy of the All New Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook (as revised in 1959 and printed in 1977) 


3 T. vegetable oil
3 T. chopped onion
1 lb. ground lamb
1 c. tomato sauce (or 1 small can tomato paste
and water to make 1 c.)
2 T. chopped parsley
1 c. dry white wine
1 c. water
3-4 small eggplants
2 T. vegetable oil
1/4 c. butter
1 c. flour
4 c. scalded milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c. grated cheese
1/2 c. dry bread crumbs (and a few more for the
the top)
1/4 c. melted butter

Brown onion in 3 T. oil in a deep pan.  Add ground lamb.  Cook until the meat is brown and crumbly.  Add tomato sauce, parsley, white wine, and water.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, and plenty of nutmeg.  Cover and cook slowly 1 hour.  While the meat is cooking, cut eggplants into 1/4" slices.  Brown on both sides in 2 T. oil.  Place in a large baking dish and set aside.  Melt 1/4 c. butter.  Stir in flour.  Add scalded milk slowly, stirring constantly.  Stir until smooth.  Cook over hot water 15 minutes.  Add eggs.  Stir half the cheese and half the breadcrumbs into the cooked meat mixture.  Divide the rest of the crumbs into 2 parts, and sprinkle one part over the eggplant.  Spread the meat mixture over the eggplant, sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and another layer of crumbs.  Spoon in the thick sauce, top with a few crumbs and sprinkle with the melted butter.  Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  Serves 6. 

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