Thursday, April 19, 2012

Happy Earth Day Weekend!

This weekend, there will be Earth Day celebrations all over the world.  Protecting our planet should be our responsibility, but all too frequently we are guilty of disregarding the places that we live.   

Caring for our planet is everyone's responsibility, and on Earth Day, small steps are probably the best ones to take. A small step would be to plant something.  A small garden is a great idea, especially if you have children to help with the planting.  

 Watching their food grow is a great way to teach children that food doesn't come from Kroger, but actually out of the ground.  This doesn't have to be a large garden, but just adding a few plants to your surroundings can improve the environment.  
Even container gardens are a lot of fun for children.  

Today I had some gorgeous produce from Specialty Produce and turned it into a roasted ratatouille that I'll serve tomorrow night with a grilled flank steak.

Roasted Ratatouille
Serves 6

2 red onions, coarsely chopped
One red bell pepper, cored and coarsely chopped
One orange or yellow bell pepper, cored and coarsely chopped
4 Japanese eggplants (about 1 pound) cut into 1/2-inch 

If Japanese eggplant aren't available, use 1 pound of purple eggplant
 12 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 Roma tomatoes, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dried herbs de Provence
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped basil
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, or silicone baking liner. 
  2.  In a large bowl, toss the onions, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, garlic, olive oil, rosemary, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.   
  3. Spread the vegetables evenly over both sheets.
  4. Roast, for 20 minutes, stir the vegetables, and roast for another 5 minutes, until the vegetables begin to color and are tender. 
  5. Transfer the vegetables from baking sheet to a large bowl, taste for seasoning and adjust with additional, salt or pepper.  
  6. Toss the vegetables with the basil and parsley.  Serve warm or at room temperature. 
  7. The ratatouille is actually better the next day, reheat in a skillet on the stove top. 
If you can't plant a garden this weekend, head out to your local farmer's market and buy some local vegetables, you'll be so glad you did. 

Happy Earth Day weekend everyone!  Be kind to the earth!

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