Checkout with Food Editor Laurin Stamm|Fresh vegetables announce it’s time to make Ratatouille

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 5, 2009

In early December of 1977, food editor Laurin Stamm began a weekly recipe column titled “From the Kitchen of The Cypress House.” The column ran continuously through November of 2000, featuring one or two recipes each week, and totaling more than 1,150 recipes over the 23 years.

Checkout, a current weekly column that features various food stories, events and recipes, looks back at some of the most popular recipes from The Kitchen of the Cypress House, and perhaps a newly discovered one every now and then.

From The Kitchen of The Cypress House, July 9, 1980:

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When Jack Stamm’s ‘pot garden’ is in full production, it’s time to make Ratatouille.

Now that may be difficult to pronounce (say RAH-TAH-TOOEY in a rhythmical manner), but it’s easy to prepare. And it’s the very best mélange of fresh vegetables you’ve ever eaten.

Straight from the garden or your grocer’s produce department, eggplant, zucchini, onion, bell pepper and tomatoes are bound together in a single dish through gentle cooking in olive oil and garlic.

Flavors of the vibrant vegetables meld into a delicious side dish to accompany a dinner entrée or to serve cold as a luncheon salad.

We dare you to try this.


About 8 tablespoons of olive oil (no substitute)

2 large onions, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 large zucchini, thinly sliced

2 green peppers, seeded and cut in pieces

1 large eggplant

3 medium-size tomatoes

2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried (or fresh) basil leaves

1/4 cup minced parsley or 1 teaspoon dried

Black pepper to taste

In a large frying pan, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil and sauté the onions until limp. Add the garlic, zucchini and peppers. Saute a few minutes longer.

Cut the eggplant lengthwise (do not peel), and then cut it into 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces. Add the eggplant to the skillet and continue to cook for several more minutes, stirring to mix.

Transfer the sauteed vegetables to a large casserole. Peel the tomatoes, dice, and mix them in with the veggies. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the vegetables, and then season with the bay, basil, parsley, salt and pepper.

Cover and bake in a 350-degree oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the vegetables are thoroughly cooked, basting the top once or twice with some of the pan juices.

Make 8 servings.