Of all the things I was looking forward to seeing on my return home, the garden was right at the top of the list. Thanks to drip irrigation, things are mostly in good shape. The one glaring exception is the cucumbers, which curled up and dropped dead with angular leaf spot. The real bummer is that it also spread to most of the melons, so it looks like no canteloupe this year. A few of the watermelons seem to be okay, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I think I’m going to have to take a year off of growing cukes to try and get this eradicated from the soil.
Anyway, there’s plenty that’s thriving. So I headed out to the garden to pick a few things for dinner, and ended up making the 15-minute ratatoullie from Lydie Marshall’s wonderful Chez Nous. (A side note: I’m thinking this may be the summer of French cooking. I was drooling all over that book, which I haven’t looked through in awhile. And Steve is currently reading Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, inspired by his recent read of Child’s My Life in Paris.)
Ratatoullie is a perfect example of one of those foods that I’d probably never make if I wasn’t growing eggplant in the gardent. But this recipe was hard to resist, since I could make it almost entirely with things I’d grown myself. Onions, garlic, tomatoes, basil, eggplant, and even cayenne peppers.
If my onions and garlic were a little on the small side, the extra work was well worth the satisfaction of being able to use all my own home-grown ingredients.
My next job? Getting to work on the enormous zucchini that I pulled from the garden yesterday. I think there’s one of these in my very near future.