Summer Series, Day Five: Crock Pot White Ratatouille

Crock Pot White RatatouilleI’m seriously considering moving to the beach. Sunshine, seafood, salty air… it’s all good for my soul. As long as I have a good internet connection, I might just be willing to carry my crock pots up and down the east coast and showcase local flavor and attractions. Ok, I’m putting it out there– where should I go next and who can hook a girl and her crock pots up?! I’ll feed you!

I used the rest of my finds from this week’s farmer’s market to make ratatouille for dinner tonight. I love the fact that I used the same kinds of ingredients, but in a new way to make a totally different presentation!

Farmers Market OBXI have never seen pure white patapan squash or white eggplant before in this region, but I was delighted to experiment with these adaptations to the standard variety.  I also used yellow cherry tomatoes instead of canned diced red ones. Such a delightful dish to cook low and slow while we played all day.

While we normally do adventures as a family, today we decided to go in two directions– literally. My husband took our oldest to the beach to tiptoe in the shark-infested waters and fly a kite in the salty breeze. I took our youngest on a bike ride down the main road of the island. I’m so glad I bought a bike rack for my car so we could all bring our bikes to the beach. It’s so much easier than trying to rent them upon arrival! The sidewalks in Avon are flat and easy and the breeze felt fantastic even thought it was a scorching day. We all enjoyed the sunshine and a bit of solitude. There is something about experiencing the wind on your face and the sun on your back,  just taking a deep breath and exhaling gratitude. I’m not kidding when I tell you that staying here in the Outer Banks has really been cathartic for all of us.

But back to the food, of course! By the time we hit the beach, the bikes, came back to swim in the pool at the house, and got cleaned up… dinner was ready and no work was needed. Another amazing day is complete and it’s time to chill on the porch with a few cold drinks and listen to the birds and cicadas chirping in harmony.

Crock Pot Ratatouille

Serves 4-6

3-4 large white patapan squash, softball sized (about 1-1.5 lbs)

3 small white eggplant, 5-6 inches in length (about 1 lb or less)

1 sweet onion, diced

1 yellow pepper, diced

1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 leaves fresh basil, chopped

1 c. broth (chicken or vegetable)

Mix all ingredients in crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve with rice, noodles or fresh bread and butter. If you can’t find patapan squash, you can substitute yellow squash.

Crock Pot Ratatouille

In the Pixar movie by this name, the character Linguini says “Ratatouille. It’s like a stew, right? Why do they call it that? If you’re gonna name a food, you should give it a name that sounds delicious. Ratatouille doesn’t sound delicious. It sounds like “rat” and “patootie.” Rat-patootie, which does not sound delicious. ” But with Remy’s help, Linguini learned to cook, to enjoy it and to share great delicious dishes to others.

In our house, this movie is a favorite because it also teaches lots of great lessons. For example: we shouldn’t judge others based on their families or where they came from, you should pursue your interests with passion and dedication, you shouldn’t steal from others, in order to have great success we all need to work together and there will always be people to criticize, but even more people we can make happy.

This recipe is easy to make, maybe even for a movie night with your friends or family.  Enjoy and remember “anyone can cook!”

1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed
2-3 zucchini, sliced ½ inch thick
2-3 yellow squash, sliced ½ inch thick
1 medium onion, sliced into strips
2 cans diced tomatoes, NOT drained
2-3 cloves chopped garlic
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese

Sauté onion and garlic in a little bit of olive oil, just until onion is soft. Put eggplant, zucchini and squash in crockpot. Add onion and garlic on top, then both cans of diced tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Cook on high for 3-4 hours.
Serve on top of egg noodles. Top with a bit of fresh parmesan cheese. Enjoy!