i was spoiled this past year in san francisco and seattle. the plentiful (and affordable) farmers markets in both cities provided endless inspiration and tasty meals. here in houston, i see that we have a long way to go to developing farmers markets where people can buy local AND affordable produce and connect with the farmers. the farmers market on campus has come a long way since its inception, but i would like to see more produce vendors and less prepared foods and other products. regardless, i emerged this week with a huge sack of yellow squash, zucchini, and eggplants for $8. a heavy dose of garlic and herbs and a can of tomatoes later, a bubbling pan of ratatouille or caponata (your choice) emerged from the oven. i chose to flavor the vegetables minimally with garlic parsley, dill, and basil, but chose one or all or other herbs to compliment your end of summer vegetable explosion.
ratatouille/caponata/summer vegetable explosion
2 or 3 large eggplants or many baby sized eggplants, sliced thin-ish
3 zucchini (more slender is better) or many baby sized zucchini, sliced thin-ish
3 summer squash or many baby sized squash, sliced thin-ish
1/2 a large onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp dried basil (could also use oregano)
1 tsp dried dill
generous sprinkle of red pepper flakes
1 can (28oz) whole plum tomatoes. break up the tomatoes with your hands and reserve the puree that they are in.
toss all of the vegetables, except for the tomatoes, with the herbs, garlic, and seasonings. drizzle on enough olive oil to lightly coat. spread the tomatoes out in a 9in x 13in x 2in pan. add the vegetables on top. bake covered with foil in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake another 20 to 30 minutes or until everything is tender and the vegetables on top look a bit roasty. serve plain, with some parmesan cheese, over pasta, over grilled bread, etc.