etsy

Exciting news! I finally took the plunge and did something that I’ve been thinking about doing for a while. Buy a little beach house in South Carolina? Nope. Run away to pastry school in Napa? Nope. Have white wine and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s for dinner? Possibly, but not what I’m getting at.

I opened an Etsy shop! I’ve been doing photography for years, and have recently been getting back in the swing of things. So I figured, now’s the time!

The shop is also called the little éclair, and it’s here on Etsy. The shop is small for now, but I’m hoping to continue working and adding to it now that it’s officially up and running! I’ll have photographic prints for sale there, like the ones here and this one:

Canoes on Golden Beach

Canoes on Golden Beach

I’ll keep things updated on the Etsy page of this site, and let me know if there’s anything you’d be interested in seeing there!

Exciting stuff 🙂 Happy (almost) weekend!

Advertisements

ratatouille

“Anyone can cook!”

–Remy

While I love Fall and the crisp air, bright leaves, and football that come with it, the end of summer is still a little sad. No more outdoor farmer’s market and fewer bright colored fruits and veggies is a bummer! My solution to this problem? Buy all the fresh bright produce in sight. This dish arose partly from that sentiment–I wanted to make something for dinner that used as many pretty, colorful vegetables as possible.  (The other part is that my husband and I love the movie Ratatouille… :)) This dish isn’t tricky, and it’s delicious! The essential ingredients are below:

Ingredients IMG_2340

All the pretty colors?! Couldn’t resist them. The first step of this recipe involves slicing the veggies very thinly. This is easiest with a mandoline, but can also be done (carefully) with a good sharp knife. I used the mandoline on all these vegetables, and still have all my digits–success!

Sliced Veggies IMG_2363

One of the parts that makes this so yummy is that the sliced veggies take a tomato/garlic/onion/olive oil bath (but not like this) while they bake. The tomato and flavorings are in the bottom of the baking dish, so when the veggies are layered on top, they soak in all that flavor while all the ingredients cook together. Being Italian, pretty much anything in tomato/garlic/onion/olive oil is a win in my book, particularly when fresh herbs are involved.

Tomatos IMG_2346

Olive Oil IMG_2356

Part of what makes ratatouille so fun is the pretty way it’s arranged. While mine is nowhere near perfect, I find that it works well to sort of spiral in from the outside, layering the slices in a pattern with each one overlapping the one below. I stuck the bell pepper in around the edges, and then put some small pieces in the center–that seemed kind of fun and added some more color. Anything works though!

Assembled IMG_2365

The veggies are topped with herbs and a bit of olive oil, and into the oven it goes. Once everything is bubbling together and smelling amazing, it’s all set!

Toppings IMG_2379

Baked IMG_2386

Since it was dinnertime (and I have a husband who eats like it’s his job, which is super fun for someone who loves to cook) for a little more substance, I served this over Israeli couscous, which is a toasted pasta that looks like tiny little balls or beads and is cooked much like regular couscous or quinoa. It’s so delicious, and has a great chewy texture. If you toast it in a bit of olive oil so it gets slightly golden brown before cooking it in liquid, it has a super yummy nutty taste that really makes it best. I also like to top this dish with some herbed goat cheese or feta. Both are quite good with it, especially if added when the veggies are hot so that the cheese gets all melty and fabulous. And lastly, because I couldn’t resist it at the farmer’s market, I added a side of a piece of Italian herb focaccia bread. Slightly toasted, this sops up any extra tomato-y juices at the end. Perfect.

Served IMG_2397

Ratatouille

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 eggplant (I used a Japanese eggplant, which is longer and skinner; this worked great because it was similar in circumference to the zucchini and squash)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 bell pepper
  • Fresh herbs (I used basil, oregano, and rosemary, but whatever you like along those lines would good)
  • Israeli couscous for serving, optional (a small pasta would also probably work well)
  • Feta or herbed goat cheese for serving, optional
  • Toasted focaccia or other flavorful bread for serving, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Pour tomato puree into bottom of a medium, shallow baking dish (oval suits the “spiral” design well, but any type will work; mine was about 12 inches across, and I had extra veggies). Stir in the minced garlic, chopped onion, 1 T olive oil, and salt/pepper.

Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini, squash, and bell pepper. Remove the core and seeds from the bell pepper.

Slice the eggplant, zucchini, and squash into very thin (1/16 – 1/8 in.) slices using a mandoline or a sharp knife. Slice/dice the bell pepper into some thin slices and some small pieces.

In the baking dish and on top of the tomato sauce, arrange the veggies in a spiral pattern, starting from the outside. Overlap the slices and alternate the veggies, adding the slices of bell pepper at intervals and the diced pepper into the center.

Drizzle 1 T olive oil and sprinkle the fresh herbs over the veggies. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Cover the dish very loosely with a piece of foil or parchment paper (really, just lay it on top).

Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until veggies are cooked but not looking too limp or soggy. They won’t be brown, and the tomato sauce should be bubbly.

Optional couscous: If you want to serve this with the Israeli couscous, I’d recommend toasting it first. Heat some olive oil (approximately 1 T for a standard 15oz box of couscous) over medium heat in a wide pan. Add the couscous to the pan and toast, tossing or stirring the couscous every once in a while. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn, and it’s done when it gets a bit golden and smells nutty. (It usually takes about 10 minutes for me.) Then just cook the couscous according to the package directions.

Serve the ratatouille over the couscous, with the cheese on top (added while the veggies are nice and hot) and the toasted bread on the side.

Enjoy, then watch Ratatouille 🙂

inspiration, part II

In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport.

                                                                                          –Julia Child

While I mention this in the name page of this site, I couldn’t resist sharing the second part of the inspiration behind the little éclair.

I love reading cookbooks. Is that weird? The combination of a special cookbook, a glass of white wine/tea/hot chocolate, and a blanket probably means I’m having a pretty wonderful quiet evening. Sweet Paris is perfect for that. It’s full of stories and descriptions that make you feel like you are (or wish that you were) strolling the streets of Paris, eating your way through the beautiful city. If you’re like me and have never been there, it further fills your head with daydreams.

Looking through the book and some of its challenging recipes is part of what inspired the little éclair. While I don’t plan to focus solely on this particular book (or on desserts, or on any one thing really), I do want to work my way through it over time. And document the process–its lessons, and hopefully successes–along the way. I’m going to try everything, including of course, the éclair.

(There are so many cookbooks I love that I promise to share. For now, my building list lives here.)

inspiration

Looking through photos from our June honeymoon to San Francisco & wine country–including the one at the top of this page, of candlelit wine flights and a lobster roll at a beautiful little wine bar, and the two below, of grapes at a Napa winery and a beautiful view from our downtown hotel–made me realize a couple things I love (besides my new husband): food and photography.

Napa Grapes

cropped-2013-06-12-23-21-28.jpg

There are of course other things, too — like summer, looking at fancy houses online, organizing things, the Olympics, our cat — and while I’m sure they’ll all make appearances, they don’t seem to fit quite as well into the foundation of a fun blog that anyone outside of my mind could possibly enjoy.

So. . . the little éclair. For fun. 🙂

(And if you want to know more about me, this site, or where the name came from, please do!)