Saturday, September 26, 2015

Cranky, the Blogster and Briami, the Greek Ratatouille

Thursday - What a perfectly sucky morning, a direct result of a perfectly sucky night of constantly being woken up by a restless husband, a cat sleeping on my head, a dog checking to make sure I'm still breathing, another dog who sounds like the Titanic when she snores, and an overactive bladder. I am so cranky right now I could scream. I still have not made it into the office bearing brownies and bubble wrap, and I don't see that happening today.

Fresh herbs from the garden: Italian oregano and sweet mint

As I am typing this, I am sitting in the corner of the living room, in the dark, wearing a big floppy hat. What the hell is that about? I crack myself up sometimes, I really do. Off to the library. I've already been into the garden to gather a few handfuls of fresh herbs, an eggplant, a tomato, and what surely is the very last okra of the season, which I added to the piles of veggies on the counter, a not-so-subtle reminder to make the damn briami already.  But first, the library.

My trip to the library garnered me two mysteries (Sue Grafton and Jane Haddam), a novel (The Help), and a cookbook specializing in recipes prepared in cast iron cookware. Just being in that building, with cool air, quiet people, life-sized cardboard stands of Mr. Spock and Loki, and a whole lot of books, improved my mood enough to head over to Publix for naan bread to go with the briami I was going to prepare, hell or high water, and the tzaziki I had purchased at Whole Foods the day before. Cedar brand tzaziki, and damn near as good as mine.

Briami (Greek Ratatouille) is a recipe I found at the OliveTomato site, a food blog that highlights Greek food.  I got there by typing the name of all the garden vegetables I had collected from my garden, plus the zucchini and green pepper I had purchased on a whim. Unbelievably, a recipe popped up - this one - that included all of my refrigerator produce, and some herbs that just happened to be growing in my garden, so where the blogger, Elena Paravantes, used dried herbs, I decided to use fresh.  Let's hope I don't regret that choice.  Frankly, anytime you are going to be cooking something for an hour or more, dried herbs are the way to go, so I can see why her recipe includes them, and if I hadn't happened to have fresh oregano and mint in the garden, I would have happily rocked along with their dried versions.

I wish I'd had more of the cherry tomatoes. So sweeeeet!

The thing with briami, caponata, or ratatouille is that the exact proportions of one kind of vegetable to another are not set in any kind of stone.  I used Elena's recipe as a guideline, and added the okra, along with two unpeeled Russet potatoes, about 5 Japanese eggplants, 1 1/2 large zucchini, 1 large onion, about 3/4 of a dry pint of cherry tomatoes (those were from my garden, and looked like they would almost fill the kind of dry pint container you find in the supermarket), and a nice big green bell pepper, along with the garlic and a good amount of fresh oregano and fresh mint. I liked her cooking method, so I'm trying that out as well.  If you would like to try her original briami recipe,  click on the OliveTomato link above.

I now have two soups to make, the creamy tomato soup recipe from yesterday or maybe it was the day before, and an easy chicken soup. I bought a couple of bananas with the idea of adding them to my peanut butter, cream cheese, and jelly sandwiches and maybe baking banana muffins. My brain is going around in circles, but I think I can still handle the soups. Not sure about the Scotch eggs; I'm wearing down, kids.

Creamy Tomato Soup, a done deal. Yum.

Pope Francis has left D.C. and is heading to New York City, the city that really knows how to show a Pope a good time.  I love the Catholic religion, and I've often said that if I hadn't been born Jewish, I would be Roman Catholic. New York is a very Catholic city and they are going to love love love having Papa Francisco there.

I had the briami for dinner, topped with some feta cheese, naan and tzaziki.  Oh my.

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