Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ratatouille & A Corn Revelation

If you caught my post from yesterday (Local Loot), you know that I spent some time at the farmer's market this weekend. I got a plethora of fresh veggies and when I laid them all out, I knew I had to craft a ratatouille. Traditionally, ratatouille is a combination of stewed zucchini, eggplant, tomato and garlic. It is sometimes fried and then stewed "low and slow" to give the veggies a melt-in-your-mouth effect. Earlier today, I picked some fresh green and red peppers from my own backyard but unfortunately did not have any eggplant ready to pick. I also had a carton of shiitake mushrooms in my fridge so I threw all of these things together and called it a local harvest ratatouille. This recipe is extremely simple to make; it is a one-pot dish and we all know, you can't get any easier than that!

Please see the end of this ratatouille recipe for a revelation in corn on the cob preparation. Prepare to be amazed!

Local Harvest Ratatouille


4 small zucchini
2 small peppers (any color)
1 handful of grape tomatoes
1/4 of a large sweet onion
1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic (adjust to your garlic preference)
1 carton of mushrooms 
1 teaspoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon of garlic salt
Black pepper to taste
Your favorite jarred tomato sauce as an optional topping


 1.) Wash all veggies except for mushrooms. Wipe the mushrooms clean with a paper towel. 
 2.) Coarsely chop onions and peppers. 
 3.) In a large skillet, add olive oil and garlic. Saute over medium heat. Add onions and peppers. Saute this mixture until the vegetables begin to soften.
 4.) Slice grape tomatoes in halves and slice zucchini. If you are using whole mushrooms, slice them as well. 
 5.) Once the peppers and onion mix has started to cook down, add tomatoes, zucchini and mushrooms. 
 6.) Add a few tablespoons of water anytime the veggies begin to stick. If this occurs, just turn the heat down a bit. 
 7.) Simmer the mixture for approximately 15-20 minutes until the veggies are completely tender. 
 8.) Serve warm with a crusty bread. Top with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese if desired. 

The "low and slow" cooking technique here allows this dish to develop a robust flavor alongside the perfect tender texture. It is a fantastic way to incorporate your summer produce all in one dish. 
Finished Product 
Finished Product with Sauce and Cheese!

A Corny Revelation

Corn on the cob is the taste of summer. Hot kernels, slathered in butter, sprinkled with Old Bay and bursting with a sweet milk upon each bite; that is precisely what summer taste like to me. The not so glamourous side to eating this lovely summertime delight is the preparation. Sitting on the back porch, ripping through layers and layers of husk while showers of silks fall to the ground; this is what corn shucking looks like. I had a lazy Sunday and the last thing I wanted to do was shuck corn. In an effort to avoid the labor involved with indulging in my favorite summertime food, I turned to the answer for all our burning questions: google. I googled "cooking corn in the husk" and was dumbfounded when I realized that I could bake my corn in the oven. I have grilled corn the husk but I never thought to bake it. 


Let me share that this came out so incredibly perfect, I am vowing to never shuck and boil corn again. 

All you have to do is turn on the oven, set it at 350 degrees, place the corn on the oven racks, cook it for 30 minutes and bam!, perfect corn in a matter of minutes. I did pull off the brown ends of the silks as a fire precaution. I am not sure if they would actually catch fire but really, who wants to take that kind of chance

After the corn cools a bit, you just chop off the end and basically slide or roll the corn out of husk. The best part about this style of prep was that the silks, when they encounter the steam in the husk, all band together and come off in one easy sweep. There is no picking of each and every thread like when you shuck the corn dry. 

I would argue that this corn has a better flavor than boiled corn because it is roasted in its own husk. The kernels were perfectly steamed and not at all tough like boiled corn can sometimes be.

I would highly recommend giving this method a try!


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