Friday, September 11, 2009
I swear that Monday morning after the long weekend I woke up and it was dark in the morning. I know it makes no sense that this would suddenly be the case, but it was like fall arrived that very day. This weekend is supposed to be warm enough to make it feel like summer still, but the cool nights will not allow us to be tricked like that. It is fall, winter is on the way, let the mourning begin. On the bright side, I have some fall "crops" that are performing well. As is always the case, all of a sudden I have a zillion zucchini. What to do? Of course I have shredded and frozen many baggies full (pre-measured) so that I can make zucchini bread through the winter, but when I say I have zillions, I mean I have zillions. Last year I spent a couple weeks of the summer in France (along the Basque coast), and while there I picked up a lovely little cookbook that appears to be the equivalent of the Betty Crocker one here. By that I mean it was the one everyone was given back in the 70s when they got married. It has a great recipe for Ratatouille Nicoise that I whipped up, and then used to make a ratatouille and chevre tarte (to be posted next week) based on one I ate there. It wasn't quite like being there, but it was the best I could do without the expensive plane ticket.
Ratatouille Nicoise (translated from French, probably badly):
2 peppers (I used red)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, bay leaf)
salt and pepper
Peel onions and then cut all the veggies into strips. Heat the olive oil in a casserole dish - I can just see all the French ladies using their le cruesets - and then saute the onions for a minute. Add the other veggies, the salt and pepper and the bouquet garni and cover to simmer in the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes. The recipe doesn't give a temperature, so I went with the ever popular 350 F. Don't forget to take out the bouquet before serving (or at least don't scoop it out into someone's bowl, they will be confused).
Nothing feels more french to me than using a bouquet garni. When I was staying there, the woman who was hosting us seemed to use a bouquet of fresh herbs in every dish she cooked and I swear it made everything seem twice as delicious. If I don't have string with which to tie the herbs up together I often use non flavoured dental floss.