A Local Ratatouille

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I just saw the movie Ratatouille this weekend—I enjoyed every delicious minute of it. Completely coincidentally, I also had an abundance of tomatoes and eggplant from my CSA as well as some from a gardening friend of mine. So heck, I thought—why not make ratatouille?


I’m particularly fond of thin Asian eggplants—they tend to be meatier and less bitter than their larger counterparts. I like to cook them so that they’re caramelized. The secret ingredient in the making of this dish? Fennel bulbs.

Here’s the recipe, adapted from The Joy of Cooking (1997). The bold items were locally grown.

1 lb. eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 lb. zucchini, cubed (I omitted this because I didn’t have any on hand)
1 1/2 cups sliced onions
2 small bulbs fennel
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
a couple sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper

Saute the eggplant (and zucchini) in oil in a large skillet until golden. Remove from skillet, and add onions and a little more oil and cook until tender. Then add fennel and garlic, season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Add eggplant (and zucchini) and cook until everything is tender. Adjust the seasoning if needed. Finish with the basil, serve over rice or pasta.


Posted by Yoko on 07/22 at 08:48 PM

Veggie tales

Friday, July 20, 2007

Every week on Thursday finds me making a pit stop at the Fair Food Stand at Reading Terminal Market to pick up my CSA share from Lancaster Farm Fresh.  The shares have been rather huge recently, and this week was no exception:

    1 bunch of beets grown by Farmdale Organics 2 green peppers grown by Meadow Valley Organics 3 Cubanella peppers grown by Green Valley Organics 1 head lettuce grown by Scarecrow Hill Farm 1 Walla Walla onion grown by the Scarecrow Hill Farm 1 dozen ears of sweet corn grown by Green Acres Organics 1 bag of potatoes grown by Green Valley Organics 2 lemon cucumbers grown by Riverview Organics 1 bag green beans grown by Hillside Organics

Everything looks amazing, particularly the peppers.

Posted by Nicole on 07/20 at 08:55 AM

Upcoming events!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It’s the last couple of days for the Buy Fresh, Buy Local Week promotion, but there are lots of events still to attend!  If you’re looking for something fun to do this weekend, consider supporting the Buy Local crowd:

  • Friday, July 20th. Second Annual PA Preferred® Best Chef of Pennsylvania Competition at Reading Terminal Market. Center Court, beginning at noon and continuing until Saturday.
  • Saturday, July 21st. Good Food, Good Beer, and The Rest Is History at The Shambles at Headhouse Square (2nd & Lombard). 5:30-8:30pm. 
  • Saturday, July 21st. White Dog Café Urban Agriculture Tour & Lunch.  Leaves from the White Dog and visits Greensgrow Farm, Weaver’s Way Farm, and Mill Creek Farm.  Begins at 8:30am.
  • Sunday, July 22nd. Headhouse Farmers’ Market Grand Opening Celebration at The Shambles at Headhouse Square.  Noon to 2pm.  You can even press the flesh with Democrat mayoral candidate Michael Nutter!
  • Sunday, July 22nd.  2 Short Local Food Films at the White Dog Café.  7pm.

Visit Local Food Philly for more details on these events.

Posted by Nicole on 07/18 at 02:48 PM

Feed me, Seymour

I can’t believe the One Local Summer challenge is already in its fourth week!  Where does the time go?  Liz decided to make the challenge good for ten weeks this year and it seems insane that it’s almost the halfway point already.

This week’s OLS meal was a simple one - grilled Delmonico steaks, mashed potatoes, and green beans.  Simple, but delicious!

One Local Summer - Week 4

The steaks were from Natural Acres, who has a stand at the Lansdowne Farmer’s Market every Saturday.  I’ve also purchased their beef at the Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market.  I grilled them up pretty rare, which was just yummy.

Speaking of Natural Acres, when I visited their stand at the Lansdowne Farmer’s Market last weeked I asked about goat milk [they sell raw milk and pastured eggs at the stand, as well as meat].  They plan to start offering up goat milk at that location very soon.  This is exciting news, especially for the cheese makers amongst us!

I feel weird raving about mashed potatoes, but the batch I made last night for the OLS dinner was…well, amazing!  I know, I know - they’re just mashed potatoes.  Two weeks ago we received a bag of potatoes from Elm Tree Organics in the CSA share, with an email promising that the taste would be unique and fantastic.  I was skeptical - I mean, potatoes are potatoes.  These somehow had a much fresher, potato-ier taste to them, though - and they made perfect mashed potatoes [along with some local milk and butter]. 

Not to leave the green beans for last - they were from my garden and perfectly wonderful!  You just can’t beat lightly steamed green beans straight off the vine.

The only things not local in this meal were the salt, pepper, and olive oil [brushed on the steak].

Posted by Nicole on 07/18 at 08:42 AM

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