It started at about ten o'clock last night. My head hurt, my shoulders ached and my throat went scratchy. This morning I'm in full blown seasonal allergy mode and miserable -- a terrible way to end a perfectly productive week and start a holiday weekend.

To make matters worse, there's this basket of fresh picked veggies sitting on my kitchen counter that need to be cooked into something. Feeling the way I feel at this very moment all I can think of is tossing them in a pan and hoping for the best.

A vegetable toss exactly describes the traditional French side dish known as ratatouille. The translation of the French word touiller is to toss and/or to stir. As it happens there's a great recipe for ratatouille on page 167 of The Silver Palate Cookbook. Summer squash is not an ingredient but I have only one zucchini and it's not exactly a daring substitute. It'll probably taste great. I'll let you know later or over the weekend.

For now, I'm going to Starbuck's for a quick coffee and if that doesn't work, I'll take an allergy pill and head back to my bed for a nap. I think this afternoon I'll watch the movie while I chop up that aubergine and the rest of this morning's garden haul. Laughter is the best medicine and I just love that little rat.


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