I couldn’t help myself. I had these gorgeous, huge tomatoes from my CSA and I just could not wait another day to eat them. Fresh tomatoes really are the way summer tastes to me. It floods back memories of picking them out of the garden and eating them like apples. Even our dog can’t help herself when fresh tomatoes are around. She has been known to hop the fence my mother puts around her garden and eat tomatoes off the vines. What do they say about dogs looking like their owners, again?
Anyway, this week we received our first full-sized tomatoes in our CSA and I was ecstatic! I decided to make the simplest recipe I had laying around to showcase my summer veggies. This cookbook, Simply in Season, has been hugely helpful in simplifying seasonal cooking for me. Summer Garden Ratatouille became the goal. I began earlier in the day with a pan of polenta which was also based on a recipe in this cookbook.
4 ½ c of milk or water (I used almond milk, but you can substitute any type here)
1 ½ c cornmeal
½ t salt
Combine the above in a heavy sauce pan and stir until smooth. Cover and cook on very low heat stirring occasionally until thick and smooth (which should be around 30 minutes). When it was nearly thickened, I grated the very end of a block of manchego cheese in. I poured this into a bread pan and refrigerated until dinner time (at least 2 hours, you want it cold and firm). Time-saving suggestion, make the polenta the night before. Manchego made this so good, I cleaned the pot personally 🙂
Time to make dinner yet?
First, I preheated the oven for the polenta to 375. For the ratatouille, I sautéed one onion and one leek from my CSA, with garlic and a bay leaf until translucent. I then added one zucchini, one summer squash, and 2 sliced peppers. I also added 1 ½ T fresh basil, chopped, 1 T fresh rosemary, chopped, and ½ t of kosher salt. When the veggies were just softening, I added my huge tomatoes and let some of their water release into a sauce and added some pepper. While all this was filling the house with yummy smells, I baked my polenta for 15 minutes. I turned on the broiler at the last minute to brown the top. When finished, I sliced the polenta, put it on a plate, and threw some veggies on top.
When I warmed this up for leftovers, I threw a slash of white wine in the pan and sautéed the veggies until warm. I heated the polenta in the toaster oven. I also ate this cold for lunch and it was fantastic!
Enjoy the season of summer veggies!