Northern & Central Midwest

April, 2001
Regional Report


Oven Ratatouille
If your family members are nightshade fans, like we are, you'll love this ratatouille recipe, which features tomatoes and eggplants. Make a double batch and freeze it for a quick meal when time is short in summer.


1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 cup thinly sliced onions

1 medium eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thick

2 small to medium zucchini, sliced

2 large tomatoes, peeled, cored, and sliced length-wise


Mix the first seven ingredients and put half of the mixture in an 8- by 11-inch dish sprayed with cooking spray. Layer the vegetable slices. Put the remaining onion mixture on top. Cover. Cook at 450oF for 10 minutes; then lower the heat to 350oF and cook for 1 hour. This dish can be cooked ahead of time and reheated. It also freezes well.

Serves 4 to 6

Favorite or New Plant

Jelena Witchhazel
Jelena witchhazel (Hamamelis intermedia 'Jelena') is a true harbinger of spring with its coppery flowers that open in the snow of February and March. The flowers are actually red at the base, orange in the middle, and yellow on the tips. The plant grows to about 15 feet tall but is very slow growing. It makes a handsome landscape shrub all summer, and the fall color will rival that of any sugar maple. The plants are hardy to USDA Zone 5 and tolerant of a wide range of conditions, but they perform especially well in rich, slightly acid soil in a semi-shady situation. (For more, see the National Gardening article, "Witch Hazels.")

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