Baked Summer Ratatouille
One of the first local recipes we made for the Oregon Food Bank's Eat Local Challenge!
Yes indeed, I can make caprese salads now on account of the fact that our garden has produced TWO WHOLE ripe tomatoes!
I couldn’t resist. Besides eating a plain ol’ chunk of tomato raw, this is the first I’ve gotten to play with our star garden bounty.
Dave and I have had some busy weekends this August. We’ve been building our oven, of course, and working on the garden. This time of year, the tomato jungle is a really strange combination of bamboo poles, tomato cages, twine and whatever else I can find in the garage to keep those plants somewhat upright – the are SO heavy with fruit (green fruit ). I kid you not, one of my tomato plants is held up because a bamboo pole inside its tomato cage is lashed to my nearby picnic table with 7 feet of twine. These are the lengths I go to.
One of these day, I’m going to invent a complex system of PVC, coat hangers and Wonder Woman’s golden lasso that will be the ultimate tomato support device. I’ll let you know when I patent it, and then you can start forwarding my mail to the private island I’ll buy with the proceeds.
We’ve also been entertaining friends and trying to keep on top of homeowner stuff like caring for our butcher block countertops (a bigger challenge than I originally thought). We have been to either Home Depot or Lowes at least 8 times in the past month. This weekend we worked on our pizza oven (details to come! The pizza party approacheth), took care of tons of errands, ran a few miles, walked a few miles and went to yoga. And, of course, cooked quite a bit. I’m exhausted! Sometimes that means simple food is called for.
This salad may be easy to make, but it sure is pretty – which makes it a great first course for any dinner party or fancy meal you’re having.
Here’s what you need to bring the classic:
Slice the tomato and cheese to approximately the same thickness – somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 inch. Layer with basil leaves.
Salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil. I highly recommend eating with a baguette.
Finish it off by drizzling with your favorite Balsamic vinegar.