De Ma Cuisine



July 2015



Spicy Summer Squash and Tomato Soup

Written by , Posted in Dairy-Free, Dinner, Fruit, Gluten Free, Herbs, Lunch, Quick and Easy, Sides, Soups, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian


Summer isn’t usually the time of year that people are busting out the soup recipes. I realize that. But, it is the time of year for squash and tomatoes, so let’s make an exception.

Tomato Soup is one of my favorite comfort foods. I have memories of being at camp as a kid on a rainy summer day, eating grilled cheese and tomato soup in the dining hall. (That’s one of the few good memories I have of camp… I wasn’t much of a camper.) It wasn’t just camp, or even just during childhood. This has always been one of my favorite meals. It brings with it a wave of nostalgia, but it’s also a quick and easy meal that packs in fruits, veggies, grains, and protein (if you add the grilled cheese).


I started it off with some summer squash and salt. Simple and easy. I added some hot peppers (I used half a jalapeño and a whole Hungarian hot pepper, both without their ribs and seeds) and garlic. Everyone cooks away for a little while.


If you have tons of tomatoes on hand, this would be a great time to use them. You’d want to cook for longer, but, it’d be great. I don’t yet have an abundance of tomatoes. My garden holds the promise of things to come with plenty of green tomatoes. But, they’re not ready quite yet. The tomatoes that we’ve gotten in our Abundant Harvest Organics box are precious and I like to use them raw, on sandwiches, to top potato salad, or as a simple side. So this time I’ve used canned tomatoes. I think both ways would be great. You could also roast the tomatoes like I did on the show a few years ago. Lots of options here.


Since basil and tomatoes are pretty much best friends, I added a ton. Doesn’t matter what color – purple, green, lemon basil… just as long as it’s fresh.


You could leave the soup chunky if you wish. But, I like my tomatoey soups to be smooth, so I blended it up. I learned the hard way that if you’re not using an immersion (or hand) blender (so a regular blender) that it’s imperative that you take the lid’s plug out and cover the hole with a clean tea towel. If you leave the plug in, it will most likely (at least in my experience) fall in and get blended up. This will mean not just ruined soup (sad), but a big mess (annoying), and soup splattering all over you (ouch). Learn from me, friends. Take out the plug. 😉


If you’re planning to enjoy the whole pot of soup the day of, you’re golden. If you end up with leftovers or just want to make it ahead of time and pop it in the freezer, you need to cool it down quickly before it goes into the fridge. So, here’s a trick: To cool the soup down quickly, add only 2 C stock when cooking. Then after it’s cooked, add 1 C frozen stock or ice and stir in to cool down. When it’s cooled down, put it in the fridge to cool completely before freezing.


I like to store things in the freezer in smaller containers so that I’m not defrosting a large container for just one or two portions. Each container gets a label with the name, date, and number of people it will serve. To defrost, pop it into the fridge overnight. Or, just add it frozen to a soup pot with a bit of water or stock in the bottom and reheat.

Happy Eating!

Spicy Summer Squash and Tomato Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 19 minutes

Total Time: 29 minutes

Yield: 4

Spicy Summer Squash and Tomato Soup


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 C summer squash, roughly chopped
  • to taste salt
  • 1/2 to 1 1/2 hot peppers (depending on what type), ribs and seeds removed, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • pinch ginger
  • 2 C crushed tomatoes (or tomato puree)
  • 3 C stock or water
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1/2 C fresh basil, chopped


  1. Heat a soup pot over medium-low. Add oil. Add squash and salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add hot pepper and cook for 2 minutes. add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add tomatoes through maple syrup. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, or until veggies are tender.
  2. Remove from heat and add basil. Blend with a hand blender (or in batches in a regular blender, with the lid's plug removed and the hole covered with a clean tea towel) for 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.



July 2015



Potato Salad

Written by , Posted in Dinner, Eggs, Fruit, Gluten Free, Herbs, Kid-Friendly, Lunch, Nuts, Potatoes, Potlucks, Salads, Sides, Vegetables, Vegetarian


Nothing says summer and comfort food all in one bite like potato salad. My mom makes great potato salad. We ate it a lot growing up (and still do, when we go home to visit). I never get tired of it. There are so many things you can do with potato salad. This one is a classic that’s been tweaked a bit… In a good way.


For me, classic means hard boiled eggs, potatoes, and a creamy sauce. There might be something crunchy in there too – celery, pickles, red onions, bacon…

I didn’t vary on the eggs. Hard boiled goodness. I know there are many schools of thought on the perfect way to boil an egg. I do it one of two ways: I bring some water to a boil, add about 1 t white vinegar (so the whites seize up if the shell cracks), then either boil for 15 minutes, or turn the heat off and cover and let them stand for 15 minutes. Recently we watched an episode of Good Eats and Alton Brown did the turn off the heat method, so I tried it. It worked. The other way does too (the way my mom taught me).


I strayed a bit with the potatoes. Only a bit though. I added some parsnips. I almost added turnips… Maybe next time. But, parsnips, try them if you want to be a little bit creative, but not too. They look like the potatoes (you know, in case anyone is picky about color), and they only taste a tiny bit different. I mean, I know they’re in there and I hardly notice them.


The creamy dressing for my potato salad is usually a combination of yogurt and mayo. This time, I had some homemade mayo on hand (made with Burroughs Family Farm eggs). Since you’re not really supposed to keep homemade mayo around for too long, this was the perfect way to use it up. I also added some plain yogurt, and olive oil (just because I love the taste). There’s some garlic, herbs, and paprika. Salt, pepper, and dijon mustard. I don’t know if I’ve ever followed a potato salad recipe other than my mom’s, so I don’t know how far from normal I’ve gone. I also don’t care all that much. Because Tim thought it tasted great and so did I.


It’s really a four-step dish. Steam potatoes (then cool). Cook eggs so that the perfectly golden yolks are firm. Whisk dressing. Assemble. And then, usually I stand there “making sure it tastes ok”, which means eating about half of it before it goes into the fridge. It’s one of my favorite things to eat. I take after my mom.


This was great on its own. It was fabulous topped with some chopped walnuts and tomatoes. But, I really couldn’t pick a way that I preferred it. So, if you want it to be more classic, leave the toppings off. If you want to spice things up, add them. If you add them you’re also adding more protein (walnuts), and a healthy fruit (tomato – yes, it’s technically a fruit).


It’s best eaten outdoors, while barbecuing, surrounded by loved ones. But, can also be enjoyed for breakfast (ask my mom), lunch, or dinner, with sandwiches, other salads, burgers, grilled meats and veggies, or just on its own.

Happy Eating!

Potato Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Potato Salad


  • 2 1/4 lbs (about 8 medium) potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 lb. (about 2 medium) parsnips (optional, can use all potatoes), cubed
  • 1/2 to 3/4 C mayo (homemade if you have it)
  • 3/4 to 1 C plain yogurt
  • 1-2 T dijon mustard
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 hot pepper (optional), ribs and seeds removed, minced
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 t fresh thyme (or 1/2 t dried)
  • 2 T white vinegar
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 2-4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 C tomatoes, chopped, for topping
  • 1/2 C walnuts, chopped, for topping
  • 2 T combo of any or all: chives, parsley, or basil, chopped, for topping


  1. Heat a large pot with about 1 1/2" water at the bottom. Bring to a boil. Add potatoes and parsnips to a steamer basket and add to the pot. Cook for about 10-12 minutes, or until they're tender. Cool completely.
  2. Whisk together mayo through pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  3. Toss vegges with dressing. Fold in eggs. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Refrigerate for an hour or serve immediately.
  4. Serve topped with tomatoes, walnuts, and herbs, or just on its own.




June 2015




Written by , Posted in Beans, Brunch, Dairy-Free, Dinner, Fruit, Gluten Free, Herbs, Legumes, Lunch, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian


If you watched Looney Tunes as a kid, you probably remember Sylvester’s, “Sufferin’ succotash!” When I think about this dish, it’s his voice that usually says the name.

Over and over and over and… over.


But, ain’t no sufferin’ here. Tim, who is not a huge fan of squash, loved this. He asked for more and there wasn’t any. So I made it again the other day.


This isn’t a perfectly traditional succotash because I didn’t have any lima beans or edamame. I used green beans instead. They were great. I’ve read that you could also add beans, like black beans. I think that would be terrific. I didn’t have bell peppers, but wanted to add some hot pepper. Fabulous! If I had eggplant, I probably would have thrown some in. Peas? Sure! It’s one of those dishes that lends well to not just summer, but what I had in the kitchen.


The smell of basil always makes me think of summer. It pairs so well with everything in this dish. I couldn’t leave it out. I’ve noticed that I like the taste of basil better in the summer. It’s been about 8 years of us eating seasonally and I can see it in the things I start to crave as the weather changes.


I found this to be a perfectly satisfying main dish. So did Tim. We had it once with a fried egg on the side, another time with a slice of cornbread. The thought of both is making my mouth water.


Here’s to long summer days, hot weather (only because my tomatoes like it), and simple dinners like these, eaten outside with loved ones.

Happy Eating!


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 3-4



  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 C green beans, cut into 1" pieces
  • 2 C corn (about 3 cobs) (frozen corn could be used)
  • 2 C summer squash, chopped
  • (could also add: eggplant, bell pepper, peas, black beans, lima beans, edamame, or fava beans)
  • 1-2 T hot pepper (optional), ribs and seeds removed (if you want), diced
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 1 C (heaping) tomato, chopped
  • 1 T garlic (about 2 cloves), diced
  • 1 t vinegar (white, red wine, rice)
  • 2 T basil, chopped, for topping


  1. Heat skillet over medium-low. Add oil. Add green beans through pepper. Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add tomato and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Remove from heat and add vinegar.
  2. Serve topped with fresh basil.



June 2015



Green Bean Fries

Written by , Posted in Appetizers, Dairy-Free, Dinner, Fruit, Gluten Free, Herbs, Inspired By, Kid-Friendly, Lunch, Quick and Easy, Roasting, Sauces, Sides, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian


I’m crazy about French fries. With a burger they’re fabulous, topped with gravy and cheese curds they’re comforting, with a hearty dip they’re a meal. Of course they don’t have to be made with potatoes. Parsnips, carrots, and summer squash all work perfectly. And while we’re at it, why not try sweet potatoes, beets, or rutabagas?


And when I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to take the time to cut up some veggies for roasting, or when I’ve got so many green beans just waiting to be used, I figure I might as well turn them into fries.

Never mind the fact that roasting green beans is one of my favorite ways to eat them. Ever.


So it’s pretty simple. The beans are tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper and head into a hot oven. High heat and not a lot of time will work well here.


While the beans roast, a quick “ketchup” is blended together. Garlic, basil, a few spices, a little this (maple syrup), a little that (dijon mustard)… a minute or two in the mini food processor and we have some sort of tomatoey, herby, ketchup-like dipping sauce.


This could be used for any of the above French fry options. If there are leftovers, it’d be great heated up and served over pasta, or used as a pizza sauce. Oh and it’d be fabulous atop a burger.

I have some suggestions in the recipe for three different herb combinations. I was also thinking that if you wanted to go a completely different direction and opt for a creamy dip, crème fraîche would be an awesome option. I might try that next time. (P.S. Crème fraîche is actually pretty easy to make from scratch! Who knew?!)


The meals that I make and photograph for these posts usually end up being lunch. So, I fried up some eggs, washed some strawberries, and we were set. Of course Green Bean Fries would be a great compliment to a meal; a wonderful side, But, more often than not of late, I’ve been enjoying veggies as the star.

Happy Eating!

Green Bean Fries

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 17 minutes

Total Time: 27 minutes

Yield: 2-4

Green Bean Fries


  • 1-2 pounds green beans, stems removed
  • 1 t olive oil
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 2 T total (fresh if possible, if dried, crumble and reduce amounts): dill + parsley + basil OR basil + parsley + savory + thyme OR tarragon + parsley + dill + fennel pollen
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • pinch cayenne
  • pinch ginger
  • 1 t maple syrup
  • 1 t dijon
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T chives or shallots (optional)
  • 1 C tomato puree
  • 1 T vinegar
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425F.
  2. Toss beans with 1 t olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour beans onto two baking sheets (so they're not over-crowded). Roast for 10 minutes, flip and rotate their position in the oven, and roast for 6-7 minutes more.
  3. While beans roast, blend herbs through pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  4. Serve green beans dipped in "ketchup".



June 2015



How To Use Fennel – From Bulb to Fronds

Written by , Posted in Fennel Pollen, How To, Thoughts, Vegetables


I’ve done a lot with fennel recently. It’s one of those veggies that I’ve had a difficult time with in the past. I’m not a huge fan of licorice, so it was tough to find a way to use it that I enjoyed.

It’s been a good challenge. I think I’m winning. Fennel is no longer on my dislike list.

The Fennel Fronds


They’re great on most any fennel dish, but also in places where you’d like just a hint of fennel flavor. Add them to salad dressings (especially ones with lemon), top parmesan crostini with a few fronds, or serve a bean soup topped with a squeeze of lemon and some fennel fronds.


I used them the other week on Fennel Pizza (along with the bulb). To me, they taste like mild fennel and the heat from the pizza subdued them even more.

The Fennel Stalk


The stalk is a bit more like celery – kinda tough and fibrous. So I like it best in things like soups and stews where it will cook for a while.


It was a fabulous addition to a Chicken Noodle Soup that I made a few months ago. I’ve also added it to things like Vegan Tofu Fried Quinoa and it would be great in stir fry, where things like celery would normally be added and the veggies are kept kinda crunchy.


It also worked well in a Veggie and Garbonzo Bean Shakshuka that I made recently. Everyone simmers and stews for a while, so they’re not so tough. The bulb could be used in place of the stalks, if you’re in a bit of a rush and don’t have time to wait for them to soften.

If none of these options work for you, just save the stalks to add to your homemade vegetable stock.

The Fennel Bulb


I’m not sure which is more favorite, the bulb, or the fronds. Both are versatile and taste great with so many things. I think the bulb might win because it can be roasted… but then the fronds can be chopped and used in a salad dressing… They both win.


I was looking through The Vegetarian Flavor Bible the other week and noticed that fennel pairs well with stone fruit. Who would have thought?! Not me. So I used it in a dish that I call Roasted Stone Fruit with Bulgur and Fennel. And let me tell you, the sweet, subtle flavor of the fennel worked really well with the stone fruit.


Since we’ve established that it goes well with bulgur wheat, I’ll also mention that I used it a few months ago with asparagus and mâche over some bulgur with a bright lemony dressing. It made for a fabulous spring lunch.


A few years ago I roasted it and added it to a pear topped Mac and Cheese. What a hit! And again, fennel and fruit, who knew?! I did that one for my cooking show. Another fennel episode came from experimenting with not just the fennel bulb, but fennel pollen. I came up with Crispy Veggies with Fennel Pollen Dipping Sauce.

Fennel Pollen


If you haven’t tried fennel pollen, it’s worth giving it a chance. It adds a certain “je ne sais quoi” to a dish. I’ve added it to Fennel Pollen Burgers (which, incidentally, would be great topped with some roasted fennel!), Salmon with a Garlic and Pistachio Cream Sauce, and Fennel Pollen Potatoes (the leftovers of which are perfect in Mahi Mahi, Fennel, and Potato Chowder).


And last but not least, fennel pollen with eggs… for breakfast in a Savory Baked French Toast or a Bacon and Feta Frittata. Because why not really?

Or maybe you want to get creative and make up your own dish to suit your tastes. According to The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, some things that fennel pairs well with are: peaches, dill, summer and winter squash, risottos, almonds, beans, goat cheese, parmesan cheese, ricotta, chickpeas, garlic, citrus, mushrooms, salads, arugula, onions, tomatoes, walnuts, apples, and vinegar… just to get you started. Feel free to leave a comment and share what you come up with!

Happy Eating!