Eggplant is related to the tomato and the potato so it is not surprising that they are in abundance this time of year. According to Wikipedia the eggplant is a species of nightshade that was domesticated in India from the wild nightshade the Solanum incanum (it has been brought to my attention that some of my readers are not aware that when a word/s are in a different colour as Solanum incanum is that this is a link that will take you to another web page that provides more detail on the topic. Just double click on the word)
Nutritional Facts of the eggplant: one cup of cubes eggplant is 20 calories. There is .2 g of fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 2mgs of sodium, 188 mg of potassium, 4.8 g of carbohydrate, 2.5 g dietary fiber, 2.9 g sugar, .8 g protein, and contain vitamins C, B-6, B-12, Magnesium and Iron.
It is going to frost tonight in Ontario and so this will be the end of our eggplants. Unlike its tomatoe and potatoe cousins the eggplant does not tolerate cold weather and frost.
Eggplant and acorn squash have been abundant in our small urban garden and I have gone looking for ways to use them and ratatouille kept coming up. Ratatouille according to Wikipedia is a "French provincial stewed vegetable dish" . Paul and I both like stews so I reviewed a number of the recipes and from these created my own using, eggplant, acorn squash, garlic, tomatoes, onion, basil, and horseradish. The result was rather good if I do say so.
The Spanish onion, basil, garlic and olive oil from the store.
Missing from the picture because they were additions is a can of stewed tomatoes and the prepared horseradish.
All of the recipes using eggplant called for the eggplant to be salted (I used 15 ml of salt) for 20 minutes in a colander and then squeezed to ensure that all excess water has been removed.
Paul had to do the squeezing my hands just were not strong enough.
We cut up a large Valida onion for this recipe and we tried something new. I read that if you cut the onion up without cutting off the root tip you do not get the fumes that cause your eyes to become irritated.
I am holding onto the onion peel at the root tip. I cut into the onion without going all the way through and in this picture I am making the final cuts and No Tears!
Take the broad side of a knife with the blade pointing away from you. Place this on the garlic clove and using your hand pound down on the flat of the knife.
The garlic clove will be somewhat crushed and the skin just slips off the clove
Peel and cut the acorn squash into 1/2 in. cubes. I made mine 1 inch cubes and Paul found them too large.
Cut up your fresh tomatoes and basil leaves.
I sauteed the eggplant in 10 ml. of olive oil as this appeared in all of the Ratatouille recipes that I read.
I also sauteed the onions until they were clear and the garlic.
I then added all of the other ingredients together including a large can of stewed tomatoes. Note: If there would have been more fresh tomatoes in our garden I would have skipped this step.
I cooked this with the lid on the pot on medium high heat for 35 minutes stirring every 5 to 6 minutes or until squash is soft. Three minutes before serving I added 15 ml. of prepared horseradish and salt to taste.
2 Eggplant cubed
1 Acorn Squash cubed
8 to 10 fresh tomatoes cubed or
4 fresh tomatoes and a large can of stewed tomatoes
1 garlic bulb cubed
1 large onion cubed
6 basil leaves chopped
salt to taste
20 ml. of prepared horseradish
1. Cube the eggplant and set aside in a bowl for 30 minutes. Then squeeze the eggplant over a sink to remove excess liquid.
2. Saute the eggplant in 15 to 30 ml. of olive oil once the eggplant begins to brown remove from pot and set aside
3. In the same pot saute the onions and garlic once the onions are clear add all of the other ingredients and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes or until the acorn squash is tender
4. Add salt to state and just before serving stir in 20 ml. of prepared horseradish.