Provencal Summer Vegetable Bake and a little bit of Family History

Picture courtesy of Family Circle

I have often been asked 2 very popular questions all types of chefs are commonly posed with: How did you learn to cook and why do you like it so much? Well, the answers are truly easy. I love to cook because I love to eat, lol. I love to create flavors and I truly show my love through my tasty meals. I have over-salted, under-flavored, and burned many things throughout the process but that is where the fun of learning lies.

Growing up, I spent the better part of my childhood sitting on my abuelo’s kitchen floor watching him create Cuban masterpieces. You see my grandfather cooked daily meals for our family (12 in total) everyday. We would all leave his house with a cantina or tupperwares filled to capacity with his meals. This is how he showed his love- by feeding us. Papa, everyone’s favorite name for him, not only raised his five grandkids, he taught me his trade.

Upon finding this recipe in Family Circle, I knew I had to try it.  After tasting this deliciousness, I knew you all would enjoy it.

Provencal Summer Vegetable Bake:

What you Need: 

  • 2 medium sweet onions
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large eggplant (about 1 pound), ends trimmed, halved lengthwise
  • 3 large summer squash (combination of zucchini and yellow squash), ends trimmed
  • 1/2 pound russet potatoes
  • 3 plum tomatoes
  • 4 ounces goat cheese (Goat cheese can be a very strong flavor, you may want to replace it with Fresh Mozzarella or Feta Cheese)

Let the Fun Begin:

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees . Peel and halve onions; cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a largesaute pan over medium heat. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in beans, 1/2 teaspoon of the herbes de Provence and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Pour mixture into bottom of a 9 x 13 oven-safe casserole.

2. Meanwhile, cut eggplant, squash, potatoes and tomatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices. (To speed things up, use a food processor fitted with a slicing blade or a mandoline.) Toss vegetables with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Arrange vegetables on top of onion-bean mixture in 1 layer; pack tightly.

3. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove foil and crumble cheese on top. Bake 15 more minutes. Cool slightly and slice into 4 servings.

I am looking forward to hearing how your baking goes.

Much Love,

Nicki G. The Blissful Wife