Back in the kitchen

September 24, 2015

Ratatouille. A fall dish with summer veggies.

Ratatouille. A fall dish with summer veggies.

I have been most horrendously busy with work-related stuff for the past week or 10 days, plus a very necessary down day during which I slept and read to recover from some LONG workdays, plus a day with several hours spent getting my car checked out and left at the shop for a $500 repair. Dammit.

But the shop is right up the road from the one produce stand in this part of the world that still has a plenteous supply of good tomatoes, so I took advantage of my son-in-law’s chauffeuring and toting/carrying skills to stop and get a box. Those will be turned into tomato juice, tomato relish, and tomato paste today, in the last round of tomato canning for the year.

So last night, with produce in the fridge that needed to be used, I  decided to make ratatouille. I had a highly touted recipe for it that called for zucchini and eggplant, both of which I had and needed to use. So I set my eggplant, salted, to draining, and went about slicing my zucchini and prepping it to roast. Rinsed the eggplant, then pressed all the water out I could, and put a cookie sheet full of eggplant and zucchini chunks, tossed in oil, in the oven to roast.

Then I veered off-course. When I went for the zukes and eggplant, I discovered a bag of butterbeans I’d bought at the market, that were starting to go bad. I culled out the bad ones, shelled the good, and threw the resulting three-quarters cup of beans into the pot with the onion, garlic and tomato to simmer. This would have been a good addition, had I parboiled them for a bit first; they didn’t have time to get quite tender.

And I also discovered a bunch of radishes, along with a bag of baby carrots; decided to roast those as well to add to the mix. I won’t do that again; they were good, but just didn’t fit in the dish.

Sauteed onion and garlic, added chopped, peeled tomatoes and their juice, with the aforementioned butterbeans. Simmered that 20 minutes, with some fresh thyme, basil and parsley. Added the roasted veggie chunks, cooked another 5-10 minutes.

It was good, but not remarkable. Good use of extra produce.

And I have a big food event coming up. I am Nashville-bound on Saturday, to eat dinner Saturday night at the Catbird Seat, the prix-fixe, tasting-menu-only restaurant that has taken the city by storm. I’ll be meeting one of my online acquaintances from one of the food forums (fora?) I frequent, and we’ll be adventuring into their world of modernist, experimental cuisine. I’m excited. It’s going to push me beyond a lot of boundaries, and it’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime event, but it’s going to be great.

Plus, it’s upstairs from the Patterson House. Which means I can have another one of those marvelous bacon old-fashioneds.  Or try something new.

You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em stand by. I’ll report back, both on tomato paste making and on the Catbird Seat.

 

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