L to R: Swiss Chard, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Italian Sweet Peppers, Chile Peppers, Scallions, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Kale, Eggplant, Slicing Cucumbers, Green Beans, Pickling Cucumbers, Basil, Dill, Cherry Tomatoes. (Whew!)
We’ve entered the mid-summer “three-bagger” zone, the time of year when the CSA Share cannot be collected in one or two canvas shopping bags, but overflows into a third bag. That means a whole lotta cookin’ should be goin’ on. Sadly, my energy has been sapped by the heat and lack of sleep. But I can’t let the vegetables down.
Last week I turned this:
Sorry for the blur. That’s some very tasty salsa there (or it was-I finished it at lunch today).
I also turned this:
Those beauties were roasted on that tray until they had caramelized to amazing sweetness. (That’s zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and little tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with kosher salt, and roasted on an oiled tray at 400 deg F for, oh I don’t know, 20 min?) You might recognize those veggies as the basis for an outstanding ratatouille, and you’d be right. But ratatouille can be so labor-intensive and time-consuming. I wanted to see if I could coax all that slow, long-baked flavor out of these veg, and then recreate ratatouille in a slightly less traditional way.
After they cooled, I chopped them roughly, and gave them a spin in the food processor. Despite their, um, unassuming, perhaps horrifying, appearance, they tasted absolutely sweet and roasty. I threw in some parsley and basil, and now this is tucked in the fridge. What could I possibly be thinking, I can’t serve that like that, can I? Maybe not, but:
If I stir in 8 oz of smooth, creamy mascarpone, and about 1/2 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and use it to fill ravioli, well, then I have something really good. (Hey, it’s not that far from Provence to Parma, work with me here.)
I used egg roll wrappers and a biscuit cutter to make these fast and easy. There is about 1 tsp of filling per ravioli, and they are sealed with water and some pressing with your fingers. Now, I can hear some of you laughing and saying, how did you just save any time or labor by making ravioli? Really these are so easy, you can knock them out in no time. Besides, think about this: the fine flavors and textures of ratatouille do not translate well to long keeping in the freezer, so you might just gorge yourself on the stuff as long as the veg are in season at their peak. Or, you could concentrate those flavors by roasting and pureeing the vegetables, mixing them with cheeses, and stuffing them into ravioli that you can freeze on a cookie sheet for a dark, cold, sad winter’s night. These will cook quickly in a pot of boiling water, and the earthy, sweet, warm ratatouille…ness is perfectly preserved in its clever wrapper. Add a bit of tomato sauce that you so smartly canned or froze in anticipation of the moment, and voila! Or you can do what I’m going to do, and make a bell pepper/tomato sauce to serve with them, with a shallot and a sprig of thyme thrown in.
I can’t wait till winter. When was the last time you said that? I made a lot of ravioli, maybe I won’t wait.
Gotta go, I’ll see you later…on down the Road.