Many people grow gardens for the sole purpose of planting and watching their flowers grow. There’s another reason for getting your gloves dirty: growing your own dinner.
Elizabeth Andress, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension food safety specialist in UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, gives a dinner idea that offer freshness and simplicity for the table.
Andress suggests a French vegetarian dish called ratatouille. “I love this recipe because it allows you to puts fresh vegetables on your plate with a minimum of cooking time,” she says, “and it’s like sitting down to a job well done.”
Ratatouille (pronounced ra-ta-twee or ra-ta-too-ee) can be used as a nutritious side dish or a hearty leftover lunch. It has no added sodium or sugar and a minimal amount of fat.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small eggplant, cut into cubes
2 green bell peppers, cut into cubes or thin strips
4 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped (peel if desired)
3 to 4 small zucchini, cut into thin slices
1 teaspoon dried leaf basil
1/2 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
In a 4-quart Dutch oven or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and cook, stirring often, until softened (about 5 minutes). Add eggplant and peppers; stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to keep vegetables from sticking. Add tomatoes, zucchini and herbs; mix well. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes or until eggplant is tender. Serves four.
(Kristen Plank is a student writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)