Ratatoille from the farm stand – 26 July 2018

I took a rare trip to M today, and arranged to arrive early so I could visit the farm stand, which I almost never see. The veggies were very beautiful, and I was trying to figure out what to do with them all, when the Japanese eggplants and some bright, crisp-looking green peppers caught my eye. The small number of early tomatoes had already sold out, but I knew we had some at home from the Berkeley farmers’ market, so I realized we could make ratatoille. I wish I had also bought the beautiful purple spring onions, too. I got a bunch of chard and some very cute little two-tone summer squash, which we’ll have in the near future. Oh, and a large pile of mixed lettuces with a teeny sprinkling of calendula leaves and nasturtium blossoms. I gave a small bagful of the last to E&R, and should give them more, in fact (writing the 28th). But anyway – ratatoille!

I chopped some white onion (supposed to be scallions or shallot) and one clove of garlic and cooked in 2 Tbsp olive oil till soft (several minutes at perhaps medium heat), then added everything else: the green pepper, seeded and cut into lengthwise strips maybe 1/3″ or 1/4″ wide, and then halved across; three small to medium tomatoes, diced; and the three Japanese eggplants, sliced into moons about 1/4″ thick. D offered to help and I found a contribution I knew he would enjoy (in addition to serving the “cooking wine”) – getting the herbs. For this (about halved) recipe, the original calls for 1/4 tsp each of dried basil, thyme, and marjoram, and a pinch of rosemary. Of course, D got fresh herbs, in quantities I know not, and ended up putting at least a couple Tbsp of finely chopped green things into the pan. I added 1/2 tsp salt and ground in some pepper, and just let it cook slowly, stirring/turning over from time to time. Probably for 20-30 minutes? Anyway: till done. I like the veggies completely cooked rather than having any crunch left (for this dish, unlike others), hence the long cooking time.

We looked at the brown rice – oops. Non ce. Only a couple Tbsp in the jar. So…millet is suggested in the recipe, and lo and behold, we had a jar of millet. I looked up closeup photos of millet to be sure (little pinhole in each seed!) and yup, it was millet, so then I looked up how the heck to cook it. I found a recipe on thekitchn.com (lots of good info on millet there, too, like 1 cup dry yields 3 1/2 cups cooked) which I basically (with no evidence, really) trust, but I decided not to do the toasting step. I just put 1/2 cup millet (thekitchn says the cooked millet is not a great leftover), a dash of salt, and 1 cup water into a small saucepan, then hedged my bets (rice doesn’t scale down well) and added another 1/4 cup – and later, after I found that the seeds didn’t seem done at the 15 minutes cooking, 10 minutes covered time point, I added more than another 1/4 cup of pre-boiling water and cooked some more. So perhaps if not toasting (did this make a difference?) start with 1 1/2 cups water for 1/2 cup millet? Anyway, good stuff!

D brought up a 2011 Syrah from Andrew Murray Vineyards. Not sure where we got it – Costco? D’s writing on it, but hard to see b/c of the black label. Adding this the 30th, but pretty sure I remember we enjoyed this and thought it went well with the ratatoille.

 

Later, I heard D rummaging about in the freezer, and he came up with some paloelithic ice cream, which for some reason we had never finished. After removing stray ice crystals, I thought it was still fine, remarkably enough. Looked like vanilla but not.

Lunch:

Going to M early for the farm stand, I took a sandwich made with the Edible Schoolyard bread and cheese (I think this was the manchego-substitute from the Cheese Board – Le Secret de Compostelle) and some lettuce and mayonnaise, then added three tomato slices, packed separately, and some salt, at lunch time. Also, once there, I bought a bag of Kettle Chips (“Bacyard Barbeque”), an Odwalla Mango Tango, and a sugar cookie – talk about self-indulgence! The talks I went to see were very good.

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