CSA: Charleston – ratatouille two ways and other fun

We are moving this Saturday, and will be picking up our last CSA box this afternoon.  We’ve arranged for friends to take over our boxes for the three weeks left in the season after we’re gone.  All of this means: this might be my last CSA post for a while, because who knows how long it will take us to get our internet hooked up in our new house.  Here’s what we did with last week’s goodies.  We gave away a good portion of it because we wanted to be able to eat at some of our favorite Charleston restaurants one last time, but I made some goodies with what we used!

  • 8 ears corn (gave away half)
  • 6 cucumbers
  • 4 slicing tomatoes
  • 1 bag cherry tomatoes
  • 4 bell peppers (gave away 2)
  • 3 yellow squash
  • 1 watermelon (ate at the beach)
  • 2 eggplants (gave away 1)
  • 1 bag green beans (gave away half)
  • 3 pattypan squash
  • 7 banana peppers (Jon ate 2 raw)
  • 1 bag potatoes (gave away half)

I confess I forgot to write down which days we ate what, so I’ll just write up each meal.

Meal 1: Ratatouille Pizzas

Inspired by the Smitten Kitchen’s ratatouille tart, I decided to make a ratatouille pizza.  I made a double recipe of crust before work using this recipe:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat bread flour
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt
  • 2 packets yeast
  • 1 1/3 cup warm water
  1. Mix flours in bowl with 2 T salt and the oil.
  2. Stir yeast into warm water.
  3. Using dough hooks on mixer, pour yeasty water into flour while dough hooks are moving.
  4. Let rise at least 1 hour, preferably all day.
  5. Separate into two balls and stretch each ball across a baking sheet.

Then I topped each pizza crust with some leftover tomato sauce I’d made and frozen using this super easy recipe from the Smitten Kitchen (I’m a bit of a fangirl).

Next up: time to slice these babies up!

Then I arranged the slices on top of the sauce, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, sprinkled with herbes de provence, and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.  I baked the pizzas for 20 minutes each at 450.  They came out delicious!

Meal 2: Ratatouille with poached eggs over couscous

After the pizza, I still had a gallon bag full of sliced squash, zucchini, eggplant, and peppers.  I also had half of my tomato sauce leftover.  So I decided to try a baked version of ratatouille following this Smitten Kitchen recipe for Ratatouille’s ratatouille, inspired by the Pixar film.  Mine wasn’t as pretty as Smitten’s, but I don’t have a mandoline for fancy slicing, so I think I did pretty well with just my knife!

I decided to serve my ratatouille over couscous with a poached egg on top.  Considering I’d never poached an egg before, and considering I’m still getting over an aversion to runny yolks, I think my poached eggs came out pretty darn well!  It was an absolutely delicious meal. and we still can’t decide if we liked the ratatouille pizza or the ratatouille with poached egg and couscous better!

If I were a real food blogger, I'd have a photo of the yolk oozing out of the poached egg. Lesson learned.

Meal 3: Smoky corn chowder and Greek cucumber salad

I made a smoky corn chowder with the corn using this Real Simple recipe, which I’m a big fan of.  I’m an even bigger fan of it now that I have an immersion blender– the first time I tried the recipe, I had to use a blender, which resulted in a molten corn chowder volcano.  An immersion blender is really a must-have for creamy soups, and it’s also crucial to the tomato sauce I mentioned above.

To go with the chowder, I decided to go Greek with the cucumbers and slicing tomatoes.  I chopped them into bite-size chunks and tossed them with a dressing made with the following recipe:

Whirl the following in a food processor:

  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 sprigs oregano (any herb fresh from the garden would work!)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 dashes hot sauce

The resulting salad was delicious, and the smoky cumin in the sauce went well with the smoked paprika in the soup.

Meal 4: Nicoise salad with pesto

To use up the last of the veggies, I adapted two recipes to make a nicoise salad with a pesto dressing.  I always have good pesto on hand, because my mom makes her own with home-grown pesto, and, even if I have to pack it on ice in a cooler, I always bring home a jar or two after a visit.

I boiled four eggs and let them cool.  I chopped the potatoes and the green beans into bite-size pieces, then boiled the potatoes for 10 minutes, then added the green beans to the pot and boiled both together for 5 more minutes.  Then I drained the potatoes and green beans and rinsed with cold water to cool.  I cut the cherry tomatoes in half and tossed all the ingredients in a bowl with a can of tuna and a can of garbanzo beans (both drained) (not traditional, but I wanted to use them up before the move).  Then I dressed the salad using a mixture of pesto, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper.  Yum!

Meal 5: Pattypan scramble

One morning when I was home alone, I fried up some bacon, sauteed the pattypan squash in the drippings, and then scrambled them with eggs, mozzarella cheese (it’s what I had), oregano (it’s what I grow in my front yard), and the bacon.  A yummy brunch!

After all those meals, you need dessert: Key Lime Coconut Cake

I’m not kidding about my Smitten Kitchen fangirldom.  I went looking for a recipe to use up some coconut before the move, and I found this Key Lime Coconut Cake recipe.  Whaddaya know? I had limes too! I was so excited about this cake, only to be devastated when It got half stuck in the pan and crumbled into a big mess.  I tried again, this time buttering and flouring the pan instead of following the instructions to butter it and place parchment paper in the bottom, and this time it came out great.  A great summer cake.  I have a feeling I’ll be experimenting with the recipe, maybe trying to turn it into cupcakes or a layer cake.

And there you have another week of fresh local eats!

Bonus: restaurant reviews

When not eating delicious food at home, we ate out a lot! One night we ate at FIG, one of our favorite Charleston restaurants (seriously, a must-visit if you come here).  Another night, we rounded up a whole gang of friends in search of a seafood feast.  We had planned to hit up our favorite, Bowen’s Island, a true experience and a must-visit if you’re in Charleston for oyster season (any month that has an “R” in it), but Bowen’s was closed for a private party.  So we ended up trying the Sand Castle, a seafood joint on Folly that we’d never visited before.  I was sold when I saw that they had fried softshell crab and $3.25 pinot grigio, and Jon got a seafood feast which featured fried flounder, shrimp, oysters, and deviled crab.  Saturday we hit up Red’s Ice House with a bunch of friends.  Red’s has miles of deck space overlooking Shem Creek, and my one goal was a giant pina colada, a goal I achieved.  We also spotted a guy paddle boarding with his DOG on board, and were amazed at the dog’s steady, calm pose aboard the surfboard.  Just another great night in Charleston! I’m going to miss this place!

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2 thoughts on “CSA: Charleston – ratatouille two ways and other fun

  1. Everything looks so yummy! They really make me hungry and wanna cook more. I’m definitely gonna try Ratatouille pizza. Thanks for sharing.

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