July 21, 2005

Pick & Cook


I always say “If weeding is gardening, then shopping is cooking.” So today I join the tomato blog wars and add my two summer cents to shopping in the garden.

Weather Report: It has been hot here, really hot. The boat bakes under a shadeless towpath and the wheelhouse begins to delaminate before my eyes. I throw an antique linen monogrammed sheet over it. I am taking this global warming seriously in my long village. My usually green park (summer storms keep it well watered as a rule) has turned brown except for the large patches of wild mint where yet another spring runs close to the river valley surface. The terracotta pots of sweet peas, petunias and marguerites are dying of thirst. DuPont hides under the terrace table on a damp rug seeking relief for his solar powered black fur. I take multiple naps, cool afternoon showers and cut my hair shorter still. Hot. Get it? Really hot.

Garden Report: What I don’t like about the heat, the potager loves! Although the spring peas are well over and the roquette is bolting, the perpetual spinach is thriving, pumpkins and watermelons are reaching across the grass paths, aubergines and peppers plants are loaded and, of course, tomatoes, tomatoes & tomatoes are going wild. The heat and lack of water seems to excite the heavily laden plants more than my careful tending. I forego my usual weeding activities and let the purslane ground cover the bare patches while I limit my visits to early evening to gather the day’s ripest offering. Two aubergines, a handful of haricot verts, that too big courgette and a basket of various red ripe tomatoes that have ratatouille written all over it.

Here is my 'Basix' Ratatouille recipe:

For 4

Ingredients-
2 peppers- red, green or yellow, trimmed and cut in thick slices
1 onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, left whole or minced as you like
2 courgettes cut into large chunks
1 aubergine cut into cubes
a handful of black olives
4 tomatoes, peeled, de-seeded and cut into quarters
1 branch rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Place a large shallow pan over medium heat. Add 2-3 soup spoons of good olive oil.
Place onion, garlic & peppers in hot pan and sizzle until they are slightly golden.
Add aubergine and courgettes, cook until barely soft . (These really fresh vegetables will weep their water and prevent everything from sticking)
Add tomatoes, rosemary, salt and pepper.
Cover and cook over low heat shaking the pan from time to time rather than stirring. just until all vegetables are soft and flavors have married (30-45 minutes). Each vegetable should be distinctive and not a mush of indeterminate origin. Remove from heat and let sit. Serve at room temperature. Serve as accompaniment to meat, fowl or game or top with a poached egg as a lunch or starter.

1 comment:

CAROL said...

HI KATE,
THANKS TO RICK STEIN I HAVE FOUND YOUR SITE.
MY SON AND FAMILY LIVE IN CENTRAL FRANCE, AND YOUR DESCRIPTION OF THE TOMATOES, THE HOT SUMMER JUST
ARE SO FAMILAR, THEY HAVE NO LONG VILLAGE THOUGH, JUST A LITTLE HAMLET. BUT THE COOKING SOUNDS SO FAMILAR MY HEART JUST YEARNS FOR IT ALL.
COMING OVER ON SUNDAY, AND HOPE THE TOMATOES, THE FRENCH BEANS AND COURGETTE PLANTS WHICH WERE ALL PUT IN LATER FOR OUR ARRIVAL ARE FRUITING, AS I CAN TASTE THEM NOW.
LOVE YOUR HOME, NOT SEEN THE DOG OR BARGE YET ON FRENCH ODDESSY BUT FEEL AS IF I KNOW YOU.
BLESSINGS
CAROL