This was supposed to be a food-production summer! Our intention was to intensely garden and preserve most of the harvest in glass canning jars to enjoy all winter long. Unfortunately, our heavy clay soil, colder than normal temperatures, and the heavy, frequent rains are a poor combination for growing much of anything. Our corn is only waist high and has tasseled out without any ears to pollinate and the green beans drowned out twice.
Fortunately we have a few raised beds with decent drainage and they are producing fairly well. I have a “Ratatouille Garden.” Meaning, most of what I planted in the raised beds will grow into the ingredients of one of my favorite foods, the humble eggplant stew made famous by the Disney movie about a cooking rat!
I don’t make mine in the stylized, stacked strata of the animated film. My version of Ratatouille is scooped, steaming out of the pot, and served with a chunk of crusty, homemade bread on the side.
Everyone who makes this has their own version of the dish, probably because we tend to “make it up as we go along” depending on whatever is ripening in the garden. I make a base of garlic, chopped onions and chopped green or red (or both if I have them) peppers, sautéed until tender in olive oil. Next I add peeled, chopped eggplant and cook that for a bit with the base. I add several cans of Italian Seasoned chopped tomatoes (if I don’t use my own spices and home canned tomatoes or have enough fresh from the garden). Then I throw in chopped zucchini and yellow summer squash. Add Italian seasonings to taste. I don’t measure, and just “eyeball” the quantities, depending on what I have on hand.
I bring it to a boil for @15 minutes to blend the flavors and then ladle into hot canning jars and process in my pressure canner. The veggies are still a little under-done at this stage but will finish cooking in the canner. I set the regulator at 10 pounds of pressure and let it rock for 50 minutes because I preserve this summer goodness in quart jars. Follow the directions for normal pressure canning of low-acid foods. Boil contents 20 minutes before serving.
This is an extremely yummy, low calorie, low weight-watcher point meal before you add the bread! I love Ratatouille and think I could live on this stuff. Thanks to pressure canning, I have captured summer goodness in the can to enjoy all year long!