Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ratatouille Made from Goodies from the Stillwater Farmers' Market

Our blogging hero first heard the expression "farmers' market" many years ago when listening to Neil Young's "On the Beach" album. (It is a fantastic record; you need to listen to it if you haven't already.) On "Ambulance Blues", Young sings

I'm up in TO, keeping jive alive
and out on the corner, it's half past five.
The subways are empty, and so are the cafes, 
except for the farmers' market, and i still can hear them say
 "You're all just pissing in the wind..." 

The (back then) young Swede was puzzled. TO clearly referred to Toronto, Young's old hometown, and he was describing an early morning in that Canadian city in the world-weary tone that permeates the entire On the Beach album. But what was the farmers' market? The literal meaning was clear, but there seemed to be a concept behind it. This had to be looked up! Enter Wikipedia: 
This sounded great, the Swede thought, that's where I would my produce if I was living in America!

Many years later, when the Swedish mathematician's move to Stillwater, OK, had been decided, much time was spent searching for information about the town online. Is there a good cafe? (There is!) Are there any good music venues? (Well, maybe.) And is there a farmers' market?-indeed there is! Stillwater Farmers' Market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays 8am-1pm, just off Main Street, and even has its own website:

The popular music nerd writing this blog realizes that he should probably spend less time listening obsessively to depressed white men with guitars laying bare their Feelings, and, as the popular saying goes, get a life. (It could be argued that doing math is not necessarily a recipe for success, viz. Jaak Peetre's unpublished memoir "Ett liv förslösat på matematik".) Clearly, feeding yourself is a part of any get-a-life program! And as a first step, a visit was paid to Stillwater Farmers' Market, and a dinner was cooked using goodies purchased there! 

Voila la ratatouille, as the French would say. Note the very cute pocket sized eggplants, purchased from a very nice old lady, and the ordinary sized onions, grown on the plains of Oklahoma! Potatoes are not really part of a traditional ratatouille, but they were left over from the Aloo Gobi (the previous post) and I wanted to finish them. They also help turn the ratatouille into a full meal on its own.


a couple of small eggplants
a couple of small potatoes
1 (normal-size) onion
1 green bell pepper
2 ripe tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 dried Chili pepper

olive oil
salt & pepper

Peel the potatoes. Then cut them into halves (if they are small, otherwise quarter the potatoes). Chop the onion and the garlic cloves. Slice the dried chili pepper. In a frying pan, saute the potatoes, onion, garlic, and chili pepper in olive oil with some salt and pepper, and just a little cumin. Turn down the heat and wait a little for the potatoes to get brown around the edges and the onion to get soft.

Meanwhile, chop up the eggplant and the bell pepper. Add them to the pan. Some maintain that the eggplant (and zucchini, if you're using that too) should be prepared separately. I usually cook everything in the same pan-which is good since I've only got one of them in Stillwater. Sprinkle a little salt, cumin, and thyme over the contents of the frying pan.

Next are the tomatoes. Chop them up, and don't let the juice go to waste! I was lucky to have two really ripe and juicy tomatoes. Add the tomato chop to the pan, and turn the heat down low. 

Let the ratatouille stew. Wait, and stir it a little. Repeat. Wait some more. Done! Now ratatouille is often served as a side dish but I was not very hungry so I had only the ratatouille, with a slice of bread.

Serving suggestions: "Really" by J.J. Cale on the side, a Lakefront India Pale Ale from Milwaukee, WI.

Oh and J.J. Cale is not depressed, you can Call Him the Breeze.

1 comment:

  1. Very entertaining, young Swedish (and slightly snobbish) mathematician! I can't wait to see your somewhat Swedish/exotic lean cuisine à la very small knife adopt the american "all you can eat fritter" + influences. :-)