Saturday, September 12, 2009

Roasted Ratatouille

Working at "The Gardens" this summer presented me with a thousand new lessons, including how to grow, and harvest vegetables. Eggplants take patience and can be harvested when glossy. "you should be able to see your reflection," a superior told me. Carrots should be almost poking through the ground and contrary to popular belief will actually stop growing once plucked from their hole. If you try to re-bury a carrot after pulling it, it will not continue growing. Cucumbers are easy. They can be plucked when you feel they are big enough, but taste just fine when small. Swiss Chard is as beautiful in the ground as in the market, or on your plate, and Pumpkins are absolutely done when they have turned a creamy orange. Do not wait past then to pick then.
Along with lessons, I received a lot of fresh and free produce this summer. Gorgeous eggplants, cucumbers, bizarre looking carrots, sweet smelling basil, mint, hot peppers, fat beets, and the reddest juiciest tomatoes. Cooking with my treasures was fun. This dish was probably my favorite:
Roasted Ratatouille
from Cooks Family Cookbook (Thanks Aunt Elizabeth!)

Labor Day Weekend and Julia Child

Inspired by the movie Julie & Julia, I picked up copies of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and "My Life in France" over Labor Day weekend. While "My Life in France" was devoured over a period of 4 hours on the beach, I haven't had the culinary courage to attempt any of her recipes. Plus who has the time to cook for five hours straight? Oh, yes... I do. Unemployment will make cooking, and this blog the main course of my day. And perhaps a few job applications here and there. Until that streak is over, I have a couple of cookbooks, I want to get through.

There is nothing like sitting on the beach in flat sand with a new book. It was pretty warm Labor Day weekend and lucky for me there weren't a ton of noisy people on the beach, just a few families and their dogs.