Makes 10 cups (2.5 L).
Nothing beats fresh ratatouille made from your own garden-fresh vegetables. There’s something profoundly flavourful when the products are fresh picked and immediately turned into a recipe.
Overgrown zucchini? Sometimes during a particularly hot spell, zucchini can grow from not-ready-to-be-picked to mammoth-sized almost overnight. What to do? Short of grating every cauliflower-sized patty pan or enormous green zucchini into containers to freeze for baking, we’ve taken another approach.
On our farm, we harvest overgrown zucchini, cut them crosswise into thick slices, and nickname them “steaks.” It’s a vegetarian dinner in minutes.
Lightly brush steaks with oil and season with salt, pepper, and chopped herbs, if you wish. Grill both sides just until steaks are hot and edges golden but still somewhat firm.
Serve with Roasted Ratatouille spooned overtop, or spread with Kale and Walnut Pesto (see recipe) and a smattering of cheese. Or serve with shredded fresh garden greens and tahini lemon dressing drizzled overtop with chopped nuts. There are so many variations and possibilities, I no longer moan when they suddenly appear in epic glory.
Tip: Can be refrigerated for several days, or freeze in small containers for a couple of months.
Ratatouille has a myriad of uses, especially when prepared in fine dice as done here. Spoon onto crostini and top with crumbled goats’ cheese as an appetizer. Add to a saucepan along with enough stock and serve hot as a soup with ziti pasta noodles. It’s delicious chilled and served at a picnic. The possibilities are endless.
Preheat oven to 500 F (260 C). Position oven rack at top level. Lightly oil large baking sheet and set aside.
In large bowl, combine chopped onion, garlic, bell peppers, and zucchini. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil, and sprinkle with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat evenly, and spread out in single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake on top rack in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally for even roasting. (Be careful when opening oven, as escaping steam from roasting vegetables can scald.)
Meanwhile, to release some of the bitter juices from eggplant, toss with salt and place in sieve. Top with plate just small enough to fit snugly inside sieve. Place a weight on top, such as 28 oz (796 mL) can tomatoes. Place in sink to drain for 30 minutes. Remove plate. Rinse eggplant thoroughly with cold running water to remove salt, and pat cubes dry with paper towelling.
Place in large, heavy saucepan along with oven-roasted vegetables, stock, tomatoes, and seasonings. Cover. Simmer over medium-low heat with lid ajar for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are done as you like.
Serve immediately, or bring to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight for flavours to blend. Excellent served hot or cold with fresh arugula and shavings of Parmesan.
This recipe is part of the Growing a Dream collection.
Ever thought about making burgers as an appetizer or as a potluck meal for friends and family? Try making your favourite burger into bite-sized portions. They might be small in size, but they won’t be small in flavour. These burgers also pair well with a Greek salad for a delicious mid-week lunch or dinner. Fresh is best Squeeze fresh lemon on patties while cooking to give them the fresh zing of citrus.
What worldwide vacation is complete without a stop in Italy? Dad won’t miss the meat in this flavourful mushroom alternative complete with Italian spices and a zesty vegetable tapenade. Portobellos have a uniquely “meaty” texture and act as a sponge to lock in loads of flavour. This meaty plant-based burger is sure to become a favourite—even with any meat-lovers in your life. Custom-made! Don’t be afraid to customize your burger buns to fit your patties. If your bun’s too big, trim off excess and save the trimmed bits of bread, but don’t discard. Instead, cut into small cubes; drizzle with some olive oil, sea salt, and seasonings of choice; bake at 350 F (180 C) for 10 to 15 minutes, and you’ll have delicious homemade croutons for use in soups and salads throughout the week.
Next stop, Asia! This shrimp burger combines classic Asian flavours with unique toppings for rich umami flavour with the saltiness of the ocean. Whether served on a bun or over rice in a more traditional Asian-style meal, try some unique miso yogurt or wasabi mayo dressing for a fabulous flavour bomb. Keep those burgers juicy Place raw patties on a plate or tray, and cover and freeze or refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes to keep them together and to lock in moisture.
While on your burger journey, visit Jamaica, where you’ll find the spicy jerk flavours native to this beautiful island. Maple syrup adds a unique, sticky sweetness, while fresh lime juice highlights the fresh, tangy flavours of the Caribbean. Try making your own jerk seasoning or purchase store-bought for an easy shortcut.