11 September 2008

September '08 weather: médiocre

The kitchen floor is ceramic tile.
Notice the big bowl of green beans from the garden.

I'm about ready to pull out the tomato plants. September has turned out to be too wet. It's either too cool and raining, or warm and still wet and humid.

Eggplant slices roasted in the oven until golden

Yesterday I went out to pick some tomatoes for pizzas Walt was going to make. There aren't that many ripe ones. I picked about 10, and most of them were suffering. Some even had fuzzy white mildew growing on them.

Blanching thick slices of yellow squash

There are a few eggplants and we are still getting loads of haricots verts and green and yellow summer squash. But so much for the tomatoes, and I'm not sure about the eggplant and the bell peppers.

Blanched squash, tomatoes, and olive oil for a gratin

Last week we did get enough eggplants to make a summery gratin. I also cut up a big yellow squash and made a gratin with that. Tomatoes — the few I could gather — went into both, along with some comté, some mozzarella, and, on the squash, some Babybel cheese.

Putting the gratin together: squash,
tomatoes, cheese, and basil leaves

Eggplants need to be partially cooked before they go into the gratin dish. The best way is to put them on a cookie sheet, paint them with a little olive oil, and put them in a hot oven. When they just start to get golden brown, take them out and let them cool.

Putting the eggplant gratin together

It's also better to cook the squash before making it into a gratin. We usually just blanch the slices in salted boiling water for 3 or 4 minutes.

The two dishes ready to go into the oven

Once the main vegetables are pre-cooked, you just make layers with raw sliced tomatoes and cheese, plus any herbs you want to put in. Salt and pepper everything, and add some mashed garlic if you like it.

The cooked squash gratin

Then cook the gratins in a hot oven until the cheese melts and browns on top. Don't cover them — the want any water that the vegetables exude to evaporate as much as possible.

The cooked eggplant and yellow squash gratins

Even though the garden turned into a disappointment this month, we at least have had the pleasure of making and eating a few dishes of this type. Gratins and pizzas are fine summer food. And we have put a ton of squash and a ton of green beans in the freezer for the winter.


  1. Too bad the weather wasn't cooperating. Maybe you won't have enough green tomatoes to try that jam recipe. Our former colleague who gave me the recipe is originally from Béziers, in southern France, where the weather is warmer and where they have beautiful "arrière-saisons" and, probably bumper crops of tomatoes!

  2. I think both dishes look amazing..love your kitchen, very neat/tidy as well :-)

  3. Your kitchen just looks wonderful!

  4. Thanks for the photo of your beautiful kitchen floor!

    Oh, and the veggie dishes look great too. ;-)


  5. And did you time that kitchen picture for high noon, or is the clock stopped?

  6. I absolutely love your kitchen - and I want to make those gratins!!

    Donna in SF

  7. Your kitchen is so warm and welcoming; wonderful colors.

    I am just back from my weekly French class and hungry for dinner, wishing I had the makings of those gratins in my fridge!

  8. I dunno, Ken – no glass of wine on the island bench, and even more dishes in the drainer – I think standards are slipping :-)

  9. Susan, LOL.

    The glass of wine was probably in my hand, or at least closer to me than to the table in the picture.

    As for the dishes in the drainer: at least they are already washed!

    John H.: I didn't notice the time on the clock. Just a coincidence. It hasn't stopped.

    CHM: too bad we can't live farther south. I can't put up with the allegies. Maybe even here our green tomatoes won't fall victim to disease. Maybe October will be beautiful and warm. I know... I said that about September before it came in chilly and wet. Such is life.

    And to all, thanks for the comments. We like the new kitchen, and the gratins too. Tomorrow: zucchini quiche. Got to use up these zukes. Yesterday, curried rice with zucchini.


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