Weirdly, a lot of the stupendous-looking eggplants that seemed to be everywhere on Saturday were missing today. There were white ones that looked like cast alabaster, and white ones with purplish blotches, but they were missing today. Also, the ones that looked like they were made from obsidian were missing, but there were enough choices that I finally got some decent-looking ones. Without buying anything exotic, I managed to hit my ten-euro limit today. Some representatives of the haul:
More very thin green-beans, one of two green peppers, some heirloom tomatoes of various sorts on the left of the zucchini (one of two), two of the three eggplants, a nice head of lettuce and a couple of the roma tomatoes that would be integrated into the dish.
Because of the amount of cooking involved, and the fact that I had to listen carefully to a record I have just gotten (easily done while going through motions like cutting green peppers into tiny cubes) I decided to cook the ratatouille early in the afternoon and warm it up later. I also wanted to be able to smell it as it cooked: the chronic sinusitis is still with me, and my ability to smell and taste fades suddenly about 8:30pm. I have no idea why this is. Some day I hope to have the money to see the oto-naso-laryngologist just up the hill who's been recommended to me, but it hasn't happened yet.
Thus, I slowly sauteed onions in olive oil, followed that up with the green peppers, then the zucchini, all while the eggplant cubes, tossed with oil, were roasting in the oven. After the sauteeing, there was a bit of boiling as I took a pound of roma tomatoes, peeled them, cubed them, and put them in a pan with some garlic and some thyme. Here, minus the still-roasting eggplant, is the result:
Clockwise, from top left, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and zucchini. Dig how tiny my stovetop is, too. Cooking here is a true pain in the butt.
The tomatoes and the eggplant were done at the same time, and I had a surprise: the eggplant was crisp, airy, almost weightless. I mixed everything together, and here's what it looked like:
I'm not at all sure about this, though. I took a couple of spoonfuls to see if it needed salt or something, and the eggplant was weirdly textured. I'm thinking that perhaps roasting it wasn't the best idea, or perhaps the oven was too hot. Another good reason (besides the flavors blending) to leave it sitting for a while is that some of the moisture from the other stuff can perhaps leach into the eggplant. I'm definitely going to research a couple of alternative recipes for the next time I do this: this is a quantity that'll last for a couple of dinners, after all (it also works as a side dish to an appropriately strong main dish), and I don't like the idea of dreading my own cooking.
Ms. Loomis notes that this should be served with a Côtes de Languedoc or Côtes de Provence rosé, and, as the astronauts used to say, that's a big can-do, ma'am. I think I'll also score a baguette.
Meanwhile, the growing-stuff-at-home experiment continues, and just check out the huge advance since my last posting. Once again, tomatillos at the top, jalapeños on the left, serranos on the right. I still don't anticipate a harvest before September, but I'm very encouraged by how quickly these things are growing.