Summer Ratatouille and I'm Feelin' Fine

Ratatouille is the ultimate summer vegetarian dish. In addition to being chock full of flavor, it is full of awesome veggies and can be served hot, warm, or cold. My mother used to make a great version of this and my recipe is modeled off of hers and Mark Bittman's Oven-Baked Ratatouille. Even though Anne doesn't really like this dish, I still avoid using onions out of deference to her no-onion policy. I do add some onion powder though for flavor.

If the time allows, do salt the eggplant for about an hour. This tenderizes it and also removes any bitterness. Also optional (but in my estimation essential) is peeling the eggplant. I am not the biggest fan of eggplant in the first place, and I absolutely detest the skin. I'll leave that up to you, but if you aren't an eggplant aficionado, do peel it because without the skin the eggplant really breaks down and you will hardly recognize it in the final dish.

1/2 cup olive oil
1 medium eggplant, peeled if you like, and diced into 1/2 inch cubes (salt for an hour in a colander if time allows)
2 green zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 yellow squash, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
10 (yes, 10) cloves of garlic halved or quartered if the cloves are large
2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, cored and chopped (or one can whole tomatoes)
1 green pepper chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
1 red pepper chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
fistful of basil leaves roughly chopped (or some dried basil)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

In the largest skillet you have, preheat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in all of the ingredients and mix very well.

Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, allowing all the veggies to breakdown. Turn the heat down so the mixture bubbles gently. Its ready in about 45 minutes, but the longer you cook, the more broken down the mixture will become.