Happy Columbus Day! A friend sent me this message this morning...very appropriate..."at some point, we all set sail to find the "New World".
Here is something I discovered while still on dry land...
I wrote a cookbook a couple of years ago for a company and its annual convention attendees. It was tons of fun to do. I have thought about writing another one but before I do, I need to go through this box...
This is a box of my grandmother Gonnie's favorite recipes. Almost all the recipes are hand-written, mostly by her, on those cute little recipe cards. I think the cards are all from the same company. Was it Current? Looking through this box is like walking back into her pink metal cabinet and pink formica'd kitchen. Lo and behold, there are even a couple of my recipes in her treasure box. Did I really used to write like that...all pretty and legible? Jeepers! What happened?
Gonnie was a fabulous cook, although more than slightly onion heavy. Lots of her meals had a tip of the fork to her German heritage and to the rich "Old World" culinary bent of her hometown, Cleveland, Ohio. Yummy, hearty foods. (I will talk about The (Hearty) Cleveland Clinic in another post!!) She cooked by color and there was always something green and/or orange on the plate.
Caught between a scratch cook and one tempted by the newest food creation or gourmet twist out there, a lot of her recipes gave a nod to a Good Seasonings packaged salad dressing mix, a can of Campbell's soup or two and the newest Lawry's blend of seasoned salt. Many contained "Accent". Who knew it's evils then. I would love to go through these and Our Green Table them or if nothing else, scan them in with their original handwriting and surprise my mom with a "Gonnie" cookbook.
Until I do, here is a recipe that caught my eye. I am such a sucker for Paul Newman and he is also a native son of Cleveland, Ohio...not the same neighborhood as ours, but close. Combined with all the glorious fall veggies out there, this just sounded fabulous. Besides many of you have asked for a ratatouille recipe. Here it is...while you are preparing it, visualize Provence, Paul Newman, checkered tablecloths, rustic tableware and a glass of wine...
Gonnie and Paul's Ratatouille*(See note)
2 yellow squash, about 1/2 pound
4 small zucchini, about 1 pound
2 medium green bell peppers
1 eggplant, about 1 1/4 pounds
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1-24 ounce jar Newman Own Marinara Sauce with Mushrooms
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup stuffed olives, sliced
Trim stems from yellow squash and zucchini and cut into wedges 1/2 inch think and 1 1/2 inches long. Stem and seed green peppers. Cut into strips. Remove stem from eggplant and cut into i inch cubes.
Heat oil in a deep skillet and saute onions and garlic until glazed. Toss eggplant cubes with flour, add to pan and cook 10 minutes. Add squash and zucchini and cook 10 minutes longer, stirring often. Add green pepper and cook 10 minutes more. Add marinara sauce, wine and whatever herbs you like. I added a good shake of Herbes de Provence, 2-3 fresh rosemary sprigs and some fresh basil. Cook 20 minutes or until veggies are tender and sauce is slightly reduced. Add olives. Sprinkle with extra chopped basil. Serve hot or at room temperature. Serves 10-12, really. It does. See note. Have some crusty bread available.
This would be an easy recipe to cut in half or freeze the leftovers to enjoy later. I made up the whole shabang and took it to our block party. But read on...
*Note to self: Do NOT feel sorry for the extra zucchini or oh-so-pretty eggplant that you have left over. I did and merrily added them in, along with an equally lonely looking yellow squash or two and extra green pepper. I was in the "Throw another log on the fire" mode and ended up with enough ratatouille for the entire city and Paul Newman Fan Club. Geez...one should not have to peddle ratatouille at a block party