Keeping It Real Farmer’s Market Ratatouille

I rocked out one of the most colorful dishes I have created in a long time.  I was invited to a BBQ this past weekend and brought this dish to share.  I live so close to the city’s largest Farmer’s Market and the season is bountiful with gorgeous produce.  I was up early and filled with energy.  I was excited to head over to the Farmer’s Market for ingredients to prepare my dish. The morning was crisp and temperatures were refreshingly mild.  The walk was lovely.

I plucked the prettiest veggies from my favorite farmers displays with a mission.  I had my list and was prepared!  In the end I switched up what I had intended for this dish because I was drawn in by the beauty of baby yellow tomatoes.  Instead of using a marinade for this dish, I decided to use all fresh tomatoes.  ‘Tis the season for them!   Abundant tomatoes of all colors and varieties were enticing and beautiful.

It is rare that I bring a dish to an event that has ingredients I cannot eat.  However, this BBQ was different.  I would be the only one with dietary restrictions and the hostess, who is also a gracious and considerate friend, had special foods just for me.  Isn’t that so sweet? It was really fun to prepare this dish and I did pick through a bit and eat the vegetables I knew were safe for me.  It was delicious!!

It was a relaxed and enjoyable evening of interesting conversations that ranged from childhood memories of being in the kitchen with family cooking up favorite, traditional dishes to American culture and race relations. Fascinating topics went around the table! We ate, we laughed, we complained of the heat.  We went between the shaded picnic area in the backyard to the air conditioned kitchen intermittently.  It was a fun night and I am happy to say my dish received a lot of compliments so I think it was a success.

One of my favorite phrases of the night was “when we talk, we keep it real”.   As the conversations changed to more sensitive subjects, one person wanted to keep it going safely, so that was his “rule”.  Say what we feel nicely, honestly and keep it real.  I completely enjoyed that preface along with his occasional reminders that this is the best way to communicate with each other.  People must keep it real.  Seems that is becoming the theme in my life these days.  I have to say, it is a refreshing and much more honest way to move through the world when you keep it real.

I had a small container of leftover ratatouille that I took over to my bff’s house so she could enjoy the market fresh deliciousness.  I knew I would not eat it and I certainly did not want this fantastic dish to go to waste.  This dish was truly a farm to table kind of dish.  I am deeply grateful to our local farmers for their hard work in growing this healthful food and bringing it to my neighborhood market for me to enjoy.  Sowing and sharing harvest; now that is about as real as it gets.

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