It’s MYSTERY BOX CHALLENGE week again with I Heart Cooking Clubs. I love a good challenge. Especially when I can meet the challenge.

This weeks mystery box contents:

    Salmon (fresh, smoked, canned),
    Green Peas (dried, fresh or frozen),
    Parmesan Cheese,

    Apples (Any color/kind),
    Blue Cheese,
    Bread Rolls/Buns, and

I managed to complete the challenge with three of the ingredients, weak, yes, but still…


Gratin of Ziti and Vegetables

I love making dishes with the fruits of our garden and this one had it all – squash, tomatoes, eggplant, corn. I cannot think of a better way to use these all up.

    2 quarts water
    4 ounces ziti or penne
    3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
    1 onion (about 8 ounces), peeled and coarsely chopped
    4 ounces string beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 cup)
    1 small eggplant (about 8 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 1/22 cups)
    1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
    1 pattypan (or other type) squash (8 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups){ I used zucchini.}
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 ripe tomatoes (about 10 ounces),cut into 12-inch pieces (2 cups)
    2 ears sweet corn (about 1 pound), husked and kernels cut off (1 1/2 cups)
    1/2 cup black olive shavings, preferably from Nyons olives { I used kalamata.} (about 2 dozen olives)


    l slice fine-textured white bread, processed into crumbs in a food processor (2/3 cup)
    1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
    1/2 cup minced chives

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cook the sizi in boiling water with salt until al dente. Drain and briefly run ziti under cold water. Cover, and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet then add the onion and beans.
Cover and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
Add the eggplant and herbes de Provence. Cover and cook, over medium heat for another 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Then add the squash, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook 2 more minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat. Mix in the tomatoes, corn, and olive.
Mix in the cooked pasta and pour the mixture into an 8-cup casserole dish.
In a small bowl mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan, OO and chives. Pour the mix over the pasta and veggies.
(Note: The dish can be prepared to this point, covered, and
refrigerated for up to 8 hours.)
Bake the gratin at 400 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes {mine took about 22 minutes} until nice and brown. Serve immediately


This was very very good. But it was also very very very dry. I went back to the recipe to see if I had left something out, but I followed it correctly. The crumbs on top did not stay well on the dish, but were good mixed in. I will make this again, but it really needs some ‘juice’ of some kind. {Original recipe is on page 102 of Jacques Pepin’s Table.

The other Mystery Box dishes are probably delish. Check them out at I Heart Cooking Clubs.