Monthly Archives: September 2014

Farm Share Ratatouille – Simple

Farm Share Ratatouille SimpleThis simple version of ratatouille is easy enough to make on a weeknight.

We have such an abundance of wonderful summer vegetables, thanks to our farm share through Fordham University’s St. Rose’s Garden and Norwich Meadows Farm. Many of our neighbors and friends have also been the recipient of their delicious vegetables. We keep giving vegetables away because we receive so much bounty! The farm share quality is excellent, and the price is great, making this the best option we have found so far for fresh, healthy, organic veggies. If you live in the New York Metro area, check out their CSA, which you pay for at the beginning of a season, to receive vegetables each week! If you live elsewhere, research the CSA’s in your area, or talk to your local farmers about starting your own.

Everything in this rustic ratatouille, or stewed vegetable dish, came from the CSA or my own garden, except for the olive oil, salt and black pepper.

vegetablesCSA vegetables: tomatoes, summer squashes, eggplants, peppers.

onionWe get lots of these large spring onions, even in late summer, from the CSA. I wish I knew what type they are! These onions are very mild and are a lovely addition to almost every meal I make!

4 Large spring onions
6 Garlic cloves
2-3 Medium eggplants
2 Large or 4 small sweet peppers
3 Medium summer squashes, any type
5 Ripe tomatoes
Olive Oil
Sea salt and pepper
Handful each, fresh basil, thyme, taragon

Peel and dice eggplants to 1 inch thick cubes. Sprinkle sea salt over eggplants, and drain in a colander about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, dice the peppers, squashes, and tomatoes in large cubes. Chop the onion and garlic as well.
Once the eggplants are drained, add about two tablespoons olive oil to a dutch oven style pot, over medium heat.  Cook eggplants until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. About 8 minutes. Remove from pot.

If needed, add another 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan and add onions. Cook for about 5 minutes. Then add garlic, herbs, sea salt and black pepper to the pot.
IMG_4049I left my herbs whole and picked out any little sticks after it was done. I was going super rustic, or perhaps lazy?

Next add in the squash and peppers, and stir. Once the squashes start to soften, add in the tomato cubes and cook another 10 minutes. Lastly, add back in cooked eggplants and serve.



Slow Cooker Peach Jam

Slow Cooker Peach Jam

My last post about peaches this year. I’m not sure how it happened, but we used all the peaches! In two days, my daughter starts Kindergarten, and it seems fitting that preserving the last of the peaches co-insides with the beginning of the school year. She wants a peach jam sandwich for lunch everyday!

I bought new fancy Ball jars for this jam recipe. I also used a few mason jars I had laying around, that are a bit bigger.

This recipe can simply be made and stored in the fridge for up to one week. Only make the amount your family will eat in one week’s time if you use this approach.

I’m no expert on canning, I used the information found here. I enjoyed the canning process, although I think there is a learning curve to this, and I need some of the more fancy tools, too!

4 Pounds fresh peaches
3 Cups sugar
6 Tablespoons Ball no sugar needed fruit pectin
Juice of one lemon

Blanch, peel and remove pits from fresh peaches as described in my Peach Crumble post.

All the prepared peaches, sugar, fruit pectin and lemon juice into a slow cooker.

Cook on low 6-8 hours.

Use a potato masher to coarsely mash the peaches, so that some small chunks remain.

If canning, follow instructions on how to can, here.  If serving right away, allow to cool, and serve. Refrigerate leftovers for up to one week.

A note on the color of the peach jam: I made two batches. Batch 1 came out much darker than batch two.  The only difference is that I cooked batch 1 for 8 hours, batch 2 for 6 hours. If I make peach jam again (probably next year!), I hope I remember to watch and see if the 2 hour difference really is what made the first jam darker.