Harvest Tart

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You might remember a few posts back I harvested a ton of grapes off of our vine this year. I gave some to my neighbors but still have quite a bit, so I was happy to see this Harvest Tart from David Lebovitz includes grapes! And let me tell you it’s absolutely delicious with apples, figs and grapes. My grapes were on the small side compared to what you buy in the store, but wow they taste so much better, very sweet and without that bit of tartness you sometimes get with green grapes. I wish I knew what kind I planted so that I could recommend them, but I can’t seem to locate the tag that came with it, which means it was probably on the container itself and after two years is long gone. Oh well. I used my usual pie dough but you can use David’s recipe below if you’d like to try it out. I was kinda sad to see summer end, but the fall is such a wonderful time to bake and make soups and all that good stuff. I’m fully embracing it!

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Harvest Tart

For the dough

  • 2 3/4 cups (400g) flour

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • pinch of salt

  • 9 ounces (250g) unsalted butter, chilled

  • 2 large eggs (total)

  • 3 tablespoons water

For the filling

  • 2 1/4 pounds (1kg) apples, peeled and cored (about 4-5 large apples)

  • 12 figs, halved

  • 1 small bunch (2 to 4 ounces, 60-120 grams) fresh grapes, stemmed

  • 1/3 cup (65g) sugar, plus additional sugar for sprinkling

  • a big handful of whole walnuts

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Armagnac (or brandy or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

  • 1 cup (250g) crème fraîche

  • 1 large egg

1. To make the dough, in a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut the butter into cubes and mix together with your hands or using a pastry blender until it’s in small pieces no larger than the size of corn kernels. (I used a pastry cutter, the last couple times I’ve used the food processor I over processed and the butter pieces were too small)

2. Add one egg and the water, and mix until the dough holds together. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it’s about 18-inches (45 cm) round.

Brush off any excess flour and fit into a 9- or 10-inch high-sided round baking  or pie dish. (There’s a lot of liquid in this tart so you will want to use a baking dish, unlike my other galettes)

3. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl with a fork, then brush the insides of the dough with the egg. (I skipped this part)

4. Prepare the filling by slicing the apples into eighths. Mix them together with the figs, grapes, 1/3 cup (65 g) sugar, and Armagnac, then transfer the filling into the tart dough. Strew the walnuts over the top of the fruit. (I used hazelnuts which tasted great!)

5. In a small bowl, mix together the crème fraîche with the egg and pour it over the fruit and nuts. Lift the edges of the dough and cover the fruit, then sprinkle a good amount additional sugar over the top of the dough. (Here I did an egg wash over the top of the crust, I think you get a better looking, more golden, crust with egg, beat 1 egg and then brush on top of crust before sprinkling sugar)

6. Put the tart on a baking sheet and bake in a 425Fº (218ºC) oven for 55 minutes to 1 hour, until the top of the dough is browned and the fruit is cooked through, which you can verify by poking the center with a paring knife; when done, it should meet no resistance. (at 55 minutes mine was well done)

7. Remove the tart from the oven and let cool down a bit before serving. (It’s better to serve in a bowl because of the cream base. Store any extra in the refrigerator, then warm before serving)

Adapted from David Lebovitz

Roasted Tomato Soup + Parmesan Croutons

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Roasted Tomato Soup + Parmesan Croutons. And here comes fall. The weather is in that optimum state between summer and fall. Warm enough for the tomatoes to continue growing but cool enough at night for soup. We have so many tomatoes this year that I’m on roast-tomatoes-repeat-roast-tomatoes-repeat cycle, a few days ago I left a bowl of tomatoes on the counter one day too long, and I was sad to have to toss a few in the compost bin. I’m the kind of person that is just heart broken when good food has to get tossed, so I’m just cooking and refrigerating and freezing whatever I can. It’s too good to waste. This soup worked out great for my waste management worries. It packs in a few pounds of tomatoes into OMG so freakin’ delicious soup. I have confirmation from Jeff that it’s kick-ass. I looked over a couple different recipes so this is sort of a hybrid between Half Baked Harvest and Sprouted Kitchen Cooking Club . Half Baked Harvest roasted the tomatoes in the same dutch oven as you make your soup, so this is basically a one pan cooking deal, which I love, but didn’t add stock. So without boring you with every detail I added a bit from each recipe and made it my own. Not too garlicky and not too creamy, and I gotta say this is just an absolutely delicious tomato soup. The parmesan croutons are also outstanding, it makes up for the lack of grilled cheese sandwich, which you won’t miss once you bite into the cheesy crouton. I will most likely be back with more tomato recipes, and, surprisingly, cucumber. I gave the Kirby cucumbers a little plant  food last week, along with the tomatoes, and wow did it like that! Blossoms all over the place and now about 20 cucumbers starting, lol, so yeah, I got that to work with as well. Also the soup bowl you see here is another from Carthage.co, the Dadasi Soup Bowl, I love the organic shape of these dishes.

Enjoy! 

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Roasted Tomato Soup + Parmesan Croutons

  • 3-4 lbs Heirloom Tomatoes, quartered

  • 1 small onion, quartered

  • 1 small red bell pepper, quartered

  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed

  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 cups chicken stock

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°. Add the tomatoes, onion, pepper, garlic and thyme to large dutch oven (or oven-safe pot). Add the olive oil, a little salt and pepper and mix until well combined. Place in oven uncovered and roast for about 30-40 minutes, until the tomatoes start to char a bit. 

Remove from oven and ladle the tomato mixture into a blender, blend until pureed.

Return the tomatoes to the dutch oven then whisk in the chicken stock, tomato paste and milk. Bring the soup to a simmer and add salt and pepper to taste, continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with croutons (recipe below) and some fresh herbs, sprinkle a little parmesan cheese if you like.


Parmesan Croutons

  • 2-3 cups bread cubes, baguette or similar

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1/8 cup parmesan cheese

  • A couple sprigs of fresh thyme or oregano

Heat oven to 350°. Cut bread into rough 1” cubes and place in large bowl. Stir in the olive oil, parmesan cheese, fresh chopped herbs, and a pinch of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper.

Spread a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet, bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown, tossing midway. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Store in refrigerator if you have leftover.

Summer Cheese Board

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I know, I know, it’s September, but it is technically still summer. I’ve been wanting to do a summer cheese board for some time and also show the grapes we grew! We were so excited to see them grow this year since we only planted them two years ago. It’s a pretty productive vine and I have no idea what to do with so many green grapes other than cheese boards and snacks. They were a challenge to photograph, mostly hiding behind the leaves, and being on the northern fence, it was almost always bad lighting. When light did reach the grapes, it was like a giant spotlight, and when it didn’t, it was all so dark. And green. But hey, here they are. After 6+ years creating on this blog, this is the first blog post without a recipe! I’ll post a list of what I have here for fruit and cheese because the Humbolt Fog with peach on a slice of baguette is amazing! I had fun arranging the cheese board with the end of summer fruits. I know strawberries don’t produce much into the summer in some areas, but in my backyard they just keep going and going, it’s one of those every-bearing varieties. The plums and peaches are truly reaching the end of the season here, when I was buying them the clerk said get them while you can because this is it. So this is it. End of summer folks, Autumn begins September 23rd. Soups are on the horizon!

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Summer Cheese Board

Grilled Corn and Pepper Salad

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Grilled Corn and Pepper Salad. I hadn’t planned on posting this but damn, it came out so good I decided to take a few photos and do a blog post. I made this based on what I had on hand and what needed to be eaten pronto! And we’ve had a mini heatwave these past couple days so I wanted to cook as little as possible. I put the corn and peppers on the grill early in the day before it was unbearably hot. I can’t complain though, this summer has been remarkably mild. So salad. There is so much flavor going on in each bite it’s just a complete joy. Make sure to chop the vegetables small, close to the size of corn kernels but they don’t have to be that small. Recipe below, enjoy!

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Grilled Corn and Pepper Salad

  • 2 ears of corn, charred

  • 2 bell peppers, charred

  • 1 red chili pepper, chopped small

  • 1 small cucumber (about 1/2 cup chopped small)

  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil

  • 1/4 cup feta cheese

  • 3-4 tablespoons Dijon vinaigrette 

Husk the corn and place it in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove corn and place on a large dish with the 2 bell peppers. Brush the corn and peppers with avocado oil (or any high heat oil), and sprinkle with salt. Place them on a preheated grill (400°-500°F) for about 15-20 minutes, turning them every once in a while so they char on all sides. Remove vegetables from the grill and place the peppers in a bowl topped with plastic wrap for 15 minutes or so. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the skin, core and seeds, then chop into small pieces. 

Cut the kernels off the corn cob by sliding a knife down the side. When the corn and peppers are completely cooled add them to a large bowl. Add the chili pepper, cucumber, and basil and mix to combine. Add the feta and Dijon dressing along with salt and pepper to taste.

Panzanella

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Hello tomatoes! Wow it’s been such a cool summer that it has taken a bit longer for them to ripen in the garden, but last week all four plants decided it was time. The yellow Taxi tomatoes along with the Sungold cherry tomatoes were the first on the scene, followed by Black Krim, and lastly the Brandywine. I’ve been wanting to make this Panzanella for a while, and since I had made a loaf of No-Knead bread a couple days prior it worked out great. Most recipes say to put the bread cubes in the oven, but I opted for the skillet which went pretty quick and ya know, fried bread? So good. You could serve this as a side dish or appetizer, or it makes a great vegetarian meal when you want something light. 

And speaking of serving, I received sample dishes from Carthage.co Stoneware which you see here and they are just beautiful! The large white plate is the Dadasi Dinner plate in chalk and the dark bowl is the Zaghwan Soup Bowl in Old Silver. I think they both look great but especially love the Zaghwan bowl with these bright colored tomatoes. And the prices are quite reasonable for high-end ceramic dishes. You can read more about these hand-crafted ceramics here. They have a nice weight to them and they’re a pleasure to photograph. I’ll be back with more tomato and/or zucchini dishes this month. Until then I recommend this Panzanella, enjoy!

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Panzanella

  • 3 cups baguette or rustic bread, preferably stale, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt, more to taste

  • 2 pounds very ripe tomatoes, preferably a mix of varieties and colors

  • 6 ounces small fresh mozzarella balls (or shredded chunks of fresh mozzarella)

  • 1/2 cup torn basil leaves

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar)

  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil

  • Salt and Pepper

In a large bowl mix together the bread cubes with olive oil and salt. Add a bit of olive oil to a  large cast iron skillet and heat on medium, when warm place the cubes in a single layer, tossing as needed until crisp on all sides. When done place the bread cubes on a plate and allow to cool a bit. 

To make the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the Dijon and vinegar, then whisk in the olive oil.

Cut the tomatoes into chunks and then add them to a large bowl, add the mozzarella, bread cubes and the basil leaves (but leave a few to top the dish), add some salt and pepper and stir gently. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. Top with remaining basil leaves. Serve at room temp.

Pickled Kirby Cucumbers

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This is my favorite time of the year, the garden is in full swing and in addition to tomatoes ripening this week, I have a bunch of these cute Kirby cucumbers. I wanted to pickle them whole but they’re so fat I couldn’t even fit two of them in the mason jar, so I quartered them for this recipe. This version of pickling is the quick refrigerator pickle. There is no cooking involved and you simply let it sit in the refrigerator for a few days until it’s ready to eat. What I like most about this style is that the pickles stay crisp. I pickled some zucchini a couple weeks ago, which involved cooking the zucchini a bit, and while it tasted really good I think they were too soft. But hey, it’s all good.

The best pickle I ever had was Guss’ Pickles on the Lower East Side in NYC. It’s no longer there but it looks like they kept the business going in Brooklyn. And they sell them at Whole Foods? I’ll have to keep my eye out for them, but until then I have a good supply of pickles in the fridge. Hope you’re having a great summer, I’ll be back with some tomato recipes soon!

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Pickled Kirby Cucumbers

  • 2-3 Kirby Cucumbers, quartered

  • 1 cups white vinegar

  • 1 cups water

  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns

  • 1 garlic clove

  • Fresh dill, a few sprigs

Place the quartered pickles in a quart mason jar. Add all the spices, garlic and dill to the jar. Pour in the water and vinegar, top off with more if needed. Place the cap on and give it a good shake. Pickles will be ready in a week or so. Store in the refrigerator. They should last a couple months. But you will have eaten them by then  ;)


Zucchini + Herb Ricotta Tarts

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Zucchini and Herb Ricotta Tarts. I’m looking for all ways to eat zucchini lately. This is the first time we’ve grown zucchini and wow! it grows quickly, seems every 3 days or so there are a couple more to pick. It’s easy enough just to grill but I want to try some new ways to prepare it. I pickled some last week and they came out great. I’d like to get that recipe in a post soon, but you might start calling me The Zucchini Lady, ha ha. This tart dough is different than other doughs I’ve made, you make it with melted butter which is the opposite of 99% pie doughs out there as they use cold butter, but I thought I’d give it a try because with this dough you don’t have to roll it out, you simply press it in the pan. It was much easier and faster to make. You just mix it in a bowl by hand in one minute. Done. I was surprised by how much I liked it! Really nice texture, almost like a cookie type texture. I would make this again no doubt, but for savory tarts I would cut back on the sugar and add more salt, other than that it’s a winner. This Zucchini + Herb Ricotta Tart is super delicious, we had it with a side of Radicchio salad, it’s good for a lunch or light dinner. Oh and pan size, you can make one 9” tart or make a few smaller ones, I used a 6” tart pan and two 4” tart pans, the math doesn’t quite work out on that but it worked for me! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Enjoy :)

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Zucchini + Herb Ricotta Tarts

  • 1/2-1 whole zucchini sliced 1/8” thick

  • 1 cup ricotta

  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella

  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme

  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano 

  • Olive oil

  • Salt & Pepper

  • Tart dough (recipe below)

In a bowl combine the cheeses and fresh herbs with some salt and pepper. Spread a layer of the cheese mixture into the prepared tart pans, then arrange the zucchini slices on top. Drizzle with some olive oil to cover all the vegetable. Lightly salt. Bake at 400°F for 25-35 minutes until just browned.

Tart Dough

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter

  • 3 tablespoons sugar (or 1 1/2 tablespoons for less sweet)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl combine butter, sugar and salt, then add flour and mix with wood spoon until just combined. 

Distribute the dough on the bottom of your tart pan(s) and press the dough evenly over bottom and sides. You can use a floured cup to press it if necessary (i just used my fingers). Cover the tart shell with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Once chilled, with a fork prick the shell all over and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven to cool. Then add filling and bake as directed.

Tart dough adapted from Chowhound

Zucchini Nut Bread

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Zucchini Nut Bread. I didn’t expect to make this so soon. Our zucchini plant is growing so quickly now and producing more than we anticipated. We’ve picked 4 zucchini in the past week and more are on the way. This is the first time we’ve grown it so I didn’t know what to expect. Last year I planted a yellow squash and that didn’t work out, all male blossoms and no squash. But we did some changes to our soil this year and it’s made a big difference. I’m not sure if I posted about this but we removed all our old soil in the garden beds (which was potting soil) and replaced it with a proper soil/compost mix and everything is growing great! The weather has been unusually mild so far this July, seriously rain in Portland in July? Almost unheard of. So it’s been more like a longer spring season. Which is ok with me, and the grass, but I think those tomatoes would appreciate a bit more heat. The weather forecast for this week is in the 70s!? Yep. Weird. 

The recipe is adapted from Sally’s Baking addiction and it’s good! It has lots of cinnamon which I love. I almost wish it had more zucchini in it. I’ll add more next time because I’m certain there will be a next time with all this zucchini, and I’ll update on this post. The original recipe added chocolate chips, but I didn’t really want that for this bread (cake!) so I added what nuts I had on hand, about 1/4 cup pistachios and 1/4 cup crushed hazelnuts. This Zucchini Bread is light in texture, and I kinda wish it were a bit more dense, I’ll experiment some more and let you know how it works out. 

It’s super delicious, easy to make and I’m sure you will enjoy this recipe.

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Zucchini Nut Bread

  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 cup chopped nuts 

  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 large egg, at room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 medium)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9×5” loaf pan lined with parchment paper with butter.

In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together then stir in the nuts. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg, vanilla, and zucchini together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Gently combine with a wooden spoon; do not over mix. Spread the batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 – 55 minutes. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Cover and store leftover bread at room temperature for up to 5 days (I’m not sure I would leave it out this long, and I’m not sure it wouldn’t get eaten in 5 days!)

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction


Stone Fruit Galette

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Stone Fruit Galette. This came out so good I wanted to share it with you here on the blog. With summer fruit in its prime right now there is no better time to make this. You can use any combination of fruit, but I highly recommend doing a mix of peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries and apricots. And I also recommend this pie crust that I made a couple months ago, it’s so flaky and soft, it’s more like a pastry and works so perfect with this fruit. The difference is cake flour!

On the home front here, our vegetable garden is just getting started with some green tomatoes here and there, squash and peppers are still too small to pick, but the raspberry bush has been a real bounty, I’ve been picking and flash freezing almost daily, they taste so good on their own but I’d like to make something, maybe a jam or a tart. If this doesn’t get eaten within a day (how is that possible? ha ha) you’ll need to refrigerate the galette. I hope you are having a great summer, or winter depending on where you are in the world (hello Australia!). Enjoy!

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Stone Fruit Galette

  • 3 cups stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries, apricots) sliced

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 

  • 1 pie crust (recipe here)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the fruit to about 1” pieces, save a few slices aside to arrange on the top. Place the cut fruit in a bowl along with the sugar, cornstarch and spices. Set aside. Roll out your dough to a 13” round.  Place the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet or in a cast-iron skillet. Spoon the filling onto the dough, leaving a 2-inch border around the edge. Fold the edges up and over the filling, forming loose pleats. Top with remaining fruit slices and cherry halves. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the pastry is golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. 

Ratatouille with Polenta

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Ratatouille with Polenta. This is the first time I’ve made Ratatouille. I received a complimentary cookbook Famous Dishes from Around the World that has 30 traditional dishes from various places around the globe, countries in Europe, Asia, South America, the Middle East. I picked French Ratatouille since there is such an abundance of vegetables this time of year, it makes a great summer dish. I changed a few things from the original recipe, for example the recipe had 10 cloves of garlic and I used 3, because I can’t handle too much garlic, as much as I like the flavor. I also used 2 cans of diced tomatoes rather than using marinara sauce and tomato paste. In any case it came out really good! I’ve had good and bad Ratatouille and this was definitely good. It tastes very fresh. 

I like the cookbook, it’s fun and all the recipes are fairly easy, and it has some cooking tips as well. I love all kinds of food so I think I would be happy to make any of these recipes. I want to try the Moroccan Tagine with Chicken next! Oh and It’s bilingual, each recipe is in English and Spanish, so if you’re learning either language you might enjoy this. The Ratatouille recipe here is vegetarian, but you could easily add some meat if you like. If you do add something like sausage, simply cook the meat first in the pot, then remove and add it in later with all the vegetables. Enjoy!

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Ratatouille

  • 1 large eggplant, 1” slices

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1 red onion, chopped

  • 10 cloves garlic, minced (I used 3 cloves of garlic)

  • 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1” cubes

  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced

  • 2 medium yellow squash, sliced

  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced

  • 3 bell peppers (red, green and yellow), cut 1” pieces

  • 2 14oz cans of diced tomatoes

  • 5 bay leaves

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil

  • 2 teaspoons fresh or dried oregano (or rosemary if you prefer)

  • 2 teaspoons fresh or dried thyme

  • Salt & pepper to taste

(Note: the original recipe cooks each vegetable separately in another pan, then added to the larger pot, I cooked everything in one pot and it worked out fine)

Place eggplant slices on paper towels and sprinkle slices with salt for one hour to make them sweat. Blot them dry with a paper towel. Cut into quarters.

In a large dutch oven cook the eggplant in some olive oil until about half way cooked. Add the onions, garlic and tomato to the pot, sauté a few minutes until soft. Add the zucchini, squash, mushrooms, peppers, adding more olive oil as needed. Cook for 5 more minutes or so. Stir in the cans of tomatoes and the herbs (save some basil for garnish). Cover the pot and cook for about 30 minutes on a very low heat, stirring every so often. 

While the Ratatouille is simmering prepare the Polenta.

Serves 6-8 (This completely filled my dutch oven and I could not add one more thing, so it makes quite a bit!)

Recipe adapted from Famous Dishes from Around the World: Healthy, Tasty, and Affordable

Polenta

  • 1 cup Polenta (I use Bob’s Redmill Polenta Corn Grits)

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 cup chicken stock

Bring water, milk and chicken stock to a boil, stir in the polenta, then reduce heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes, then let it sit for a few more minutes until ready to serve.