It's a Summer Solstice Party - Homemade Summer Style

  As I began this, it was Monday June 24 and it was a true heat wave. While the mercury dropped some 30 degrees, it's inching back up again and we're looking for light and easy food for friends and family.

Welcome to our virtual potluck, a wrap up of a Homemade Summer Solstice posts from all over: Holland to Oakland to Atlanta to Boston - and Japan! We're cooking from Yvette Van Boven's lovely and inviting book: Homemade Summer. Nearly every page of this book entices and engages. We either feel that we are, or know that we should be, in THAT photo, at THAT table. Thanks to Oof Verschuren's photography, I'm pining daily for summer picnics in Provençe!

These are unfussy, easy recipes that deliver and beckon us to play, to relax, to eat and drink. We're not the only ones to take notice of this fine book. The New York Times, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Boston Globe, Providence Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Huffington Post - just to name a few.

Homemade Summer

I got the inspiration for a solstice-themed event from the indomitable Tammy Donroe author of Food on the Food. Tammy's blog is one I've read with both tears and laughter, always skewed more to the latter. Can't wait for her book this fall. (Winter desserts? Yes please!) Tammy hosted a giveaway of Homemade Summer and also made these lovely crab cakes to bring to our virtual potluck.

 

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Since my good friend Denise lives on the other side of the country, our visits are too few and too far between. But we always seem to pick up as if we'd just had coffee the day before. I wish we lived closer but given her considerable talents in the kitchen, my hips are grateful for the distance. Still, I'd walk a few more miles if meant we could dine together more often.

For now, we will have to make do with occasional stolen moments during family visits and an online conversation that winds its way through the hills and valleys of our lives. She's one of those friends you can always count on and I think the first to say yes to this invitation, even though she was only hours back from vacation. Now that's a trouper!

Check out her award-winning blog. She cooks, shoots, writes and eats accompanied by that delicious character she shares her life with: Laudalino - they inspire us at ChezUs.com.

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You know of my love for Maria Speck's Ancient Grains for Modern Meals. I even started the hashtag #Grainiacs because we have some momentum going with this grain thing owing in large measure to Maria. Her book is selling like whole grain hotcakes, as we knew it would. And even though Maria is at work on book number 2 (YAY!) she took the time to join our picnic, too.

Let's celebrate her success with this lovely Cava Sangria, and let's toast her mother who taught her the value of delicious homemade food.

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The lovely (and lately glowing even more than usual) Shelby shares a beautiful post on the Strawberry Shortcake. I'm dying to try it now. Shelby is a food blogger, lover of Boston and New England, and works for a small indie publisher, Union Park Press. She's a fan of wine, beer and cheese and shared a beautiful sneak preview of a soon-to-come book you'll definitely be hearing more about here.

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A Dutch cookbook reviewer and blogger joined us, too! I'm so glad to see this Carrot Pie with Apple and Goat Cheese. You can find her on Twitter @DutchCookery.

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Peripatetic writer, travel host Gwen Pratesi (AKA Bunky) writes BunkyCooks and has transitioned from blogging to culinary travel and events. Alighting home in Atlanta between a Boston visit and her next trip, Gwen whipped up a lovely Mediterranean Salad with Spelt, Eggplant, Zucchini and Marinated Feta.

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Author Jane Ward (Hunger, The Mosaic Artist) joins our virtual potluck with this beautiful Eggplant Tatin. Jane writes for Eagle-Tribune papers, is at work on her third novel and is a contributing writer for Local in Season. As well, you can now find Jane in videos for the AllFood.com

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Finally, I was intent on making these Fig Negroni Ice Pops from the moment I first laid eyes on this book. Negronis are one of my favorite drinks. This recipe is typical Yvette: familiar with an intriguing twist. I forgot about following directions and the importance of ratios of alcohol and freezing, but please do not let my refusal to follow instructions dissuade you from trying these. They are just delicious - promise.

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And here's a late entry from Japan - Thanks Tomomi! Or Domo Arigato Gozaimasu! Pink Grapefruit Tart.

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Penny Cherubino, publisher of BostonZest also loves Homemade Summer!