Crock Pot Ratatouille

(recipe from Relay Foods)
Ready In: 2 hours 45 mins Prep: 15 mins Cook: 2 hours 30 mins

Ingredients(Yields 6 Servings)

3 cups eggplant, cubed
1 small yellow squash, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 cup coarsely chopped tomato1/2 cup coarsely chopped red or green sweet pepper
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
8-ounce can no-salt-added tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
8 slices baguette, 1/2-inch thick slices
2 teaspoons olive oil6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely shredded
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Eating local and fresh poses an interesting dilemma at this time of year. Here is what my farmer has to say about it: “This is the time of year that I cast a wary eye to the field and to my kitchen,” says Pam Stegall of Calvert Farm in Rising Sun, MD. “I call it 'Ratatouille Moon time' – it is a rather 'awkward' time in the harvest season when we have lots of things that nobody likes to like – eggplants, peppers, onions.” 

Fit4: Local and Fresh
Late Summer Harvest

Directions

In the crock-pot add, cubed eggplant, diced yellow squash, diced zucchini, chopped tomato, diced bell pepper, diced onion, minced garlic, tomato sauce, salt, black pepper, bay leaf, and thyme. Stir to combine ingredients.

Secure the crock-pot lid and set to cook on high for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or low for 4 to 5 hours.

Before serving slice baguette, sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and broil on high for 2 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has melted.

Stir chopped basil into the cooked vegetable, and top the toasted baguette slices with the vegetable mixture as desired. Add extra shredded Parmesan cheese on top.

Kid-Friendly Prep Suggestions

Boil up some pasta and stir in the vegetable mixture for a vegetable and spaghetti night.

Leftover Suggestions

Mix the leftover vegetable mixture in with pasta or whip up a minestrone soup.

If you're interested in getting a market basket too the Calvert Farms CSA and Relay Foods are both great options.  I enjoy the weekly challenge to eat more vegetables and to try veggies that I might not try otherwise.  Not only is eating local, fresh produce beneficial to our health, it is also beneficial to the health of local farms.  Both Calvert Farms and Relay Foods are convenient, as Calvert Farms delivers locally (Blooming Basket on Veterans Highway) and Relay Foods is adding a new delivery stop on Ritchie Highway at Homestead Gardens. 

Ratatouille is one obvious and simple answer in this situation. Relay Foods has come up with a modern-day adaptation to this seasonal standard, making use of the crock pot. Ratatouille by it's nature is fairly flexible, so if you have extra eggplant, you can tweak the recipe accordingly.

Posted 8 September 2015