Tag Archives: recipe


It wasn’t until last summer that I discovered how easy it was to throw together a batch of ratatouille. The discovery came about more or less as an act of self-defense while trying to cope with the weekly bounty of a CSA (community supported agriculture for the uninitiated). Even though I had signed up for just a half share, I soon found myself in semi-desparate straights trying to figure out ways to use up the overflowing bag of vegetables I was bringing home each week.

This year I did not sign up for the CSA, but I did plant a garden which yielded lots of tomatoes. I’ve yet to realize much success with eggplant, thanks to the flea beetles, and I kept forgetting to plant the zucchini until it was too late in the season. But no matter. The market isn’t far and the tomatoes were demanding attention.

What I use is more of a formula than a recipe. It seems that every cookbook featuring ratatouille has a slightly different version, but in general they all include the same master ingredients. Quantities of each are somewhat flexible.

  • eggplant
  • zucchini
  • onions
  • garlic
  • peppers
  • tomatoes

For this batch I started with chopping a medium-sized onion. Swirl a little olive oil in a pot and toss in the onion to sauté gently. After the onion has softened a bit, add in the garlic. Soon the kitchen smells heavenly, unless you really hate garlic, in which case you should just stop reading now.

Ratatouille Aromatics

Next up is the eggplant and zucchini. I had two small eggplant and one medium zucchini. Since the eggplant were small I didn’t peel them. Next time I will. Japanese varieties tend to have more tender skin that regular eggplant. These were not the Japanese variety and the skins were a little tougher than I though they’d be. Since I had it, I  added a small yellow squash, too.

Ratatouille Vegs
Cubed eggplant and squashes

After sautéing for several more minutes, I added lots of seeded and finely chopped tomatoes. What you see here is about half of what actually went into the pot.

Ratatouille Tomatoes
Fresh picked tomatoes, seeded and chopped

Stir it all around and bring to a simmer. The final addition was a generous sprinkling of dried oregano and even more Sun of Italy Italian seasoning blend. Stir well. Turn down the heat so things stay at a gently bubbling simmer. Put a lid on the pot, but leave it at an angle so there’s room for steam to escape.

Ratatouille Spices
Herbs do their thing

By now the entire house smells absolutely wonderful and even the cat is starting to think vegetables might be the thing.

If you’re still following along you might be wondering what happened to the peppers. Seems they got left in the refrigerator drawer this time around. Had I thought to get them out I would have added them with the onion. Did I mention how flexible ratatouille recipes are? In with the yellow squash and out with the peppers. It’s still good. Eat a steaming bowl as is or spoon it over some linguini and pass the grated parmesan.

Basting and Baking

The two borders are stitched on the Quilt Along project.  Their combined width equals that of a block, although they seem a little wider in the picture.

Border ViewIt was quite windy out on the day that I took these shots, so I opted to spread out the top in the living room. The lighting wasn’t the best (at least that’s my excuse), but I didn’t want to use the flash. The colors get really wonky with the flash on.

Wish list—A DSLR to replace my point-and-shoot.

Here’s a closer view.

Border View Close

Adding the borders brought the size up to about 78″ x 65″—so much for being a “small” project! I finished piecing the back this past week and over the weekend I started the basting. While I like thread basting, maneuvering a top this size with boards gets a bit cumbersome, probably because my table is too small. This time I’m using a Gracie hand quilting frame to hold everything together for the basting part. The frame is for hand quilting so this should work, right?? I’ll let you know how it goes.

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These arrived recently. They’re from the Asian Collection by Free Spirit.

Asian Collection Fabric~~~~    ~~~~    ~~~~    ~~~~

And with cooler weather comes a new apple crop and the urge to bake.

Apple Pie

The crust is pate brisee adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe. I added two teaspoons of sugar and used 1 stick plus 7 tablespoons of butter. Don’t ask me why—it just felt right at the time.

I made enough filling for a 9-inch deep dish pie.

8 cups apples, peeled and sliced (Use whatever kind you like. I’m partial to Granny Smith apples for pie, but this one has a mix of Gala and a local variety of jonagold.)
2 Tbls cornstarch
1/3 c brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
dash or two of salt

Mix and sprinkle over sliced apples. Give it a stir with a rubber spatula and let it sit while you roll out the crust. Bake in a preheated 450-degree oven for 10 minutes and then turn the heat down to 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. I left this one in for about 45-ish minutes since it was so large.