One of my favorite cookbooks is Simply in Season. My acquisition of this cookbook was rather amusing. I participated in a Secret Santa the Christmas Hannah was born. Now, what possessed me to participate, I just don't know. I think I wanted to lie to myself and prove I could participate that year, despite just having a baby. I also think I wanted a gift. The problem in participating in this particular gift exchange was that I had to send a gift to a friend who resides in another state. Again, I lied to myself. "I can do this!" I told myself.
I could not do it.
I ordered this book. Then I sent it, but to the wrong address, and it was returned. Then I had a baby and completely forgot about the book. Then I remembered and swore up and down I'd send it. Then 4 more months passed and I had to move the book to my front room so I'd remember. Then I forgot, and one day my mobile child found it on the coffee table and ripped out a whole chunk of the book. I could definitely NOT send that book, so a new member of my cookbook family was born. (I did eventually send my very, very, very forgiving recipient her gift. Embarrassingly late.)
In short, I'm irresponsible and am not to be trusted with anything important (like sending gifts out of town in a reasonable window of time just before having a baby). But I'm glad this gift lived in my home for so long because it's a really wonderful find. It encourages me to cook in season and has plenty--plenty--of seasonal references, including lists of farmer's markets and CSAs. Each recipe is accompanied by an "Invitation to Action", proverb, quote, or personal story. I found myself actually reading this cookbook, not just browsing the recipes. The recipes are all seasonal and rely on local, in-season ingredients, like the one featured here today. I will never be without this book, and for once I'm so glad that I was irresponsible.
Summer Garden Ratatouille
(Adapted from Simply in Season)
2 T. Olive oil
2 onions, diced
4 gloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 bay leaf
1 medium eggplant, diced
1 1/2 T. fresh basil. chiffonade
1 T. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp. fresh marjoram (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
Salt, to taste
2 summer squash, halved and sliced
2 bell peppers, cut into strips
2 c. tomatoes, chopped
Parmesan cheese (optional)
In a large pan, warm olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute onions and garlic with bay leaf in olive oil for 5 minutes, until onions are soft.
Add the eggplant, basil, rosemary, and marjoram. Season with salt. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add squash, peppers, and tomatoes to pan. Simmer together, covered halfway, about 6 minutes, or until squash is cooked.
Top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve warm.
- I served this alongside steak, but it would be great over pasta or with chicken.
- Additionally, you can top this with some fresh parsley, or add olives or capers when you add in the squash and tomatoes.