I got this one from another market vendor (Mary Ann Blazek at the Ypsilanti-Downtown Farmers' Market), adapted somewhat based on what I had available, and have made it over and over again.
It is so beautiful and delicious that I am tempted to consider unearthing old crockpot cookbooks to find (or appealing to my blog's readers to send me) tried-and-true, delicious, easy, healthy, mostly vegetarian crockpot recipes that are a full meal (or need very little added to be a full meal), so that I don't feel the need to send up a flag for help in order to eat as well as I "preach". :-)
Maybe this will be my next book (just kidding! really - no time right now for that!).
Anyhow, here is my crock-pot version of ratatouille, the perfect dish for the end of summer vegetables.
2 large (3 medium) onion, sliced
4 small zucchini sliced (~4 cups)
2 large green peppers, cut into thin strips (I used yellow and orange peppers)
1 large eggplant sliced (I used 3 long skinny ones)
2 cloves garlic minced (I used 4 and sliced them so the garlic could still be identified in the dish)
6 large tomatoes, cut into wedges (I used 3 large tomatoes and 1 pint of canned tomatoes)
2 tsp. salt (I used only 1/2 teaspoon, adjust after cooking to your taste)
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil (use fresh at this time of year, ~1/4 cup, small leaves or thinly sliced)
Layer half the vegetable in a large crockpot in the following order:
onion, eggplant, zucchini, garlic, peppers, tomatoes. Repeat the layering process with the remaining vegetables.
Sprinkle basil, salt, black pepper, and parsley over top.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Cover and cook on LOW for 7-9 hours. (I started on HIGH for 1 hour and then reduced to LOW for ~7 hours. The vegetables were perfect - al dente, not mush, and still beautiful in color!).
The first time I made this, I took it to a potluck supper. The second time I made it, I added 1 can of cannellini beans (drained and rinsed) for some protein and then served it over brown rice that I had made ahead of time for a one-pot, one-plate, easy and delicious meal.
Other years, I have also made ratatouille in large batches at the end of the summer and then frozen it in 2 cup portions. The uses are endless: serve over baked potatoes, baked fish, add to soup stock, as a side dish on its own merit, etc, etc. This year, since we are still trying to empty our freezer before moving it out to the farm (soon soon!), I am joining a local CSA that freezes locally-grown, mostly organic, fruits and vegetables. Next year, I'll get back to doing our own. It will seem heavenly to finally be only in one house. :-)
(Photo: Crockpot Ratatouille - close up)
"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"
Diana Dyer, MS, RD