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September 14, 2011

Tomatoes, garlic and parsley

If I were to tell you what I did in the garden this week, it wouldn’t seem like much: I picked beans and tomatoes. At least, that is what it felt like. Really, though, I didn’t too much in the garden this past week, because I did do a lot of picking, canning and freezing.

So instead of talking about the garden, I am going to share a few recipes that are perfect for this time of year. The first is a bit late, but you may get a chance to try it before local watermelons are gone. The rest are based on late summer crops. Maybe you can give one or two a try. And now I need to get back out and pull some weeds.


Watermelon and Basil Salad

I got this recipe from Bethany, a customer. I took it to a neighborhood potluck, where everyone loved the combination of flavors.

Toss the following ingredients together:

  • Watermelon, cut up into bite size pieces (about 1/2 watermelon)
  • Basil, chopped (a handful or two)
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • Juice from one lime (or to taste)
  • Fresh ground sea salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground peppercorns, to taste

Garlic and parsley

Tomatem Mikhalela (Pickled tomatoes)

Steven and I discovered this in Egypt, hence the name, transliterated from Arabic.

  • 4 medium or 8 small tomatoes
  • 5-7 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1 T vinegar
  • 2 T parsley
  • 2 T olive oil

Crush the garlic with salt, add cumin, vinegar, parsley and oil. Slice the tomatoes about 1/2 thick. Dip in the garlic mixture and arrange in a serving dish.  Or make a vertical cross-incision in small tomatoes, leaving the base intact,  stuff with the garlic mixture and arrange in a serving dish. Or you can do what we usually do and just chop the tomatoes into chunks and mix with the garlic mixture. This is vibrant!

Tomatoes and garlic

Fresh Tomato Sauce

adapted from the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

We just had this for dinner last night. I didn’t let it stand for 4 hours…I didn’t start making it until about 6:30 pm. It was still good and the leftovers will be even better. I put a range on the vinegar, because Steven doesn’t like too much vinegar. I would use the full 1/4 cup.

Makes 6 servings

  • 6 cups of chopped tomatoes (about 5-6 medium sized tomatoes)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c chopped basil
  • 2 T  to 1/4 c red-wine vinegar
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 t sugar

In a large, non-reactive bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, basil, vinegar, oil, garlic and sugar. Let stand, covered, at least 4 hours. Serve with pasta or spaghetti squash.

Asian type eggplant

This last recipe is from Aimee, another customer, who has lots and lots of great cooking ideas. Her comments are included.

Ratatouille with Penne

Ratatouille, the classic vegetable stew of Provence, is featured in all the small restaurants along its coast. Vegetables for ratatouille are usually prepared separately and not combined until the end. Here everything is cooked together. I don’t bother to peel the eggplant, but do so if you wish. I recommend Japanese eggplants for this dish. Long and thin, they are firmer and have fewer seeds than regular eggplants.

Ratatouille is generally served on its own, at room temperature, sprinkled with the best-quality olive oil, olives, and parsley. I use it as a pasta sauce, tossing it with cooked penne before garnishing it with olive oil, olives, grated Parmesan cheese, and parsley or basil.

4 Servings


  • 1 long Japanese eggplant or small regular eggplant (about 10 ounces), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 small firm zucchini (about 1/2 pound total), cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 cubanelle or long Italian peppers (about 1/2 pound total), seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups cubed (3/4-inch) onions
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes in sauce
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  • Salt
  • 3/4 pound penne (I use small penne mezzanine)
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup small pitted oil-cured black olives
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for the table
  • A few fresh basil or parsley leaves, for garnish

For the ratatouille: Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Mix well, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook gently for 30 minutes. If the mixture still has a lot of liquid, reduce it by boiling, uncovered, for 3 to 4 minutes. Cool to room temperature. You will have about 5 cups.

For the penne: Bring 3 quarts salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the penne and stir it in well, so it doesn’t stick together. Return to a boil, stirring occasionally, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until it is cooked to your liking.

Meanwhile, combine the ratatouille, 3/4 teaspoon salt, pepper, and olive oil in a large glass bowl and microwave for a couple of minutes to warm it through. Drain the pasta and add it to the ratatouille in the bowl. Sprinkle on the olives and the cheese and mix well. Divide among four hot plates and garnish with the basil and grated cheese. Pass more at the table.

Note: To serve the ratatouille on its own, spoon it into a serving dish, drizzle on a little extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with 1/4 cup pitted oil-cured black olives or kalamata olives, and garnish with 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil or parsley.

One Comment leave one →
  1. aimee permalink
    October 5, 2011 10:18 am

    The rattatouille recipe is from Jacques Pepin’s “Fast Food My Way” show. -Aimee

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