What Are We Doing Here Again Exactly?

Suddenly, after our Lancaster, PA art show, we had time off. That was weird in itself, since we spent all of August at home running around like mad chickens trying to get things done in time, then flew to Detroit, picked up the truck, drove to Pennsylvania, set up the show, etc.

So now, we are in part of the country I’ve only been to once before & know almost nothing about. After doing the laundry, filling up on water, etc., we set off to find something to do with ourselves, get some food & explore the surrounding towns.

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They still had peaches at Brook Lawn Farm Market – and apples, tiny pattypan squash and fresh lima beans! Oh for a stove! This time last year we were in the Pacific NW, doing 3 shows, hanging out with some of our dearest friends, and cooking up fresh delicious food together. Hard to beat that!

Despite the lack of close friends and cooking equipment, we pressed on, doing some more exploring.

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Are you sure we’re still in America?

We bought Bryan a guitar-lele for playing & composing songs on the road. He’s afraid I’ll be annoyed, but so far, staying up singing adds a fun & homey touch, especially when we’re camping out in the Wal Mart parking lot.

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We visited the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania – really interesting with helpful volunteers. Breaking slightly with our usual pattern of not leaving a museum until they kick us out, we left just before closing so we could make it to the Bird in Hand Farmer’s Market, where we settled on crackers and cheese to go with our tomatoes from the day before. Crusty bread was not available, but goofy T shirts were . . .

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We sat outside and ate and watched the buggies and tourists go by. As we were getting ready to leave, this hot air balloon took off from the next field and went right over our heads.

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At this point in the year, I’m ready to get off the ride, go home where I can see people I know and play in my studio when I have free time!

But our travel time is not quite up for this fall, there are still a few adventures for us before we head home. We set up for another show this afternoon, so that ought to keep us busy for a few days.

In the meantime, if you hear some tinny guitar music coming from a little white box truck, come over and say hi!

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Ratatouille

 

This time of year, at least where I live, the market is simply overflowing with fresh veggies.  While the fruits seem to come in a relatively orderly sequence, one replacing another, the vegetables apparently just multiply, more kinds, more flavors, more colors, every week until the frost.

So, a perfect time to make something delicious out of them!  Something full & rich with the flavors of all the late summer bounty.

Ratatouille

Makes enough to feed 4 as a main course

Chop into large chunks (see the next post):

2 medium summer squash; zucchini, crookneck, etc.

2 smallish bell peppers; red, orange, yellow or purple

1 medium yellow onion

4 small or two larger eggplants

1 mildly spicy chile (optional but really good) If your chile happens to be already roasted, add it with the tomatoes.  Otherwise, keep it with the peppers, squash and onion.

This many veggies will not fit in my largest skillet in anywhere close to a single layer, meaning I know they won’t all brown on the edges.  So, I put the chopped eggplant on a baking sheet and toss with a little olive oil, and roast it in the oven at 375° F until soft and slightly browned, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the other veggies and put them in a large heavy skillet on high, with more olive oil, enough to keep them from sticking.  Stir occasionally, letting the surfaces of the vegetables get a nice medium brown.

While the veggies are cooking in the skillet, also chop:

4 -5 large tomatoes chopped roughly, or a little more than a pint of small ones cut in half

3-4 cloves of minced garlic

When the veggies in the skillet are just about browned, add the eggplant to them.  Make a clear space in the center of the skillet, add a drizzle of olive oil, and put the garlic in it.  When the garlic just starts to color, mix it in with the rest of the veggies, and add the tomatoes.  Turn the heat down and cook until the tomatoes start to collapse.

That’s it!  Serve with a generous portion of fresh basil (fresh oregano is also nice, although I like basil best), and a few grinds of black pepper on top.  You can salt to taste as well.

 

 

This recipe is delicious with risotto, or any cooked grain with a little cheese mixed in, or just with bread and cheese for lunch.