Autumn is just starting to show her face around here. Even if we don’t have the tell tale signs of fall colors that East Coaster’s have, I can see the little changes as we creep into the new season. The days are getting shorter, the mornings cooler, but the afternoons are still pleasantly summery.
I have to admit, I get a little nostalgic at this time of year. Knowing I won’t being seeing those warm summery afternoons for much longer, or the vibrant colors of the last of the summer’s harvest makes me resent the arrival of the new season. I know soon I’ll be craving heartier, warm and comforting foods, and I’ll embrace that feeling when it comes. For now I want to enjoy the last that summertime has to offer and scoop up those beautiful jewel toned eggplants, tomatoes and zucchini that are in such abundance towards the end of summer.
The zucchini was especially slender and small, a delicate green; the eggplant deeply purple glossy beauties, and the tomatoes heavy and firm. It wasn’t long before I had gathered them all; my heart set on making something that would capture the best of the last of summer.
The ensuing olive oil marinated vegetables are the perfect illustration of how good eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes become even better when left to their own devices for a while in the oven. Blitzed in a hot oven to concentrate and sweeten their flavors, they emerge slumped and slightly shrunken, the tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini softening into one another, profuse with their juices. The roasted vegetables are then covered with olive oil and packed into jars with garlic and thyme. They keep well in the refrigerator for a week, and are convenient to have on hand to invigorate all manner of dishes.
Use sparingly as a condiment or generously as a main ingredient. I enjoy them in wraps, pasta or salads. The bonus of making these is the seasoned olive oil that is created as the vegetables marinate, so don’t forget to whisk it into dressings or toss it with your vegetables as well.
Now as for autumn, I’ll face it with open arms, just as soon as I finish my last jar.
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