Yvette Van Boven

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.










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.









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.

Cava OPT









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.









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.

carrot pie OPT









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.












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

pie peek_OPT









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.

plan b pop glass_3












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

Grapefruit OPT








Penny Cherubino, publisher of BostonZest also loves Homemade Summer!

Summer Solstice and Summer Love - a Homemade Summer Blog Party

You know me. I'm the one who has trouble letting go. Sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes a not so good thing. You're in luck, dear readers: this time it's good. Remember the wonderful Yvette Van Boven sweeping into Boston right around the Boston Marathon weekend? So many lovely events, like this one at Kitchenwares:

Julie Homemade Summer Kitchenwares

Oof Yvette Jacqueline

Inspired by Yvette's & Oof's gorgeous book Homemade Summer and Tammy Donroe's excellent suggestion, we've decided to do a Homemade Summer Solstice blog thing. I can't let go. I'm still getting books in bloggers' and food writers' hands - there's a small stack here with stickie notes indicating who I'm saving them for - you know who you are.

Homemade Summer Cover

Homemade Summer Solstice

We are inviting everyone who's got the book to prepare one of the lovely recipes (I'm thinking of the Fig Negroni Popsicles p. 99) and do a post. Send me the link on or before June 28 and I'll do a meta post (I know you're saying "that's just like her, she's so meta.") rolling up all the links to all your lovely posts in one.

But wait, you say, isn't Summer Solstice today - June 21? Yes, of course you are correct. But you know we're rather fond of doing things on our own timetable around here. We're making our Solstice thing next Friday!

Okay, but you're still so busy, you're wondering how you could possibly manage it? Let me tell you, I saw with my own eyes several of these recipes come together in 20 minutes, in one bowl, in one square foot of my kitchen island as I banged about testing the lamb, tenting it, carving it, dishing out sides, stacking pans...if you've seen me cook, you know what I'm talking about. I made us dinner while we prepped recipes for the various signings. Possibly there was wine involved, or whiskey, or both.

Really, you can do this. And just think of the fun seeing all the summer posts in one. It may end up looking like the whole summer party menu Yvette did for Powell's.

In fact, have a drink and relax. Why not a Pimm's Cup (p. 90)? Have a nibble on some crispy chickpeas (p. 111) or maybe shuck some oysters and enjoy with ginger lime dressing (p. 105).

We are in gorgeous and short berry heaven right now, maybe you'd like to do a berry thing - strawberry jam biscuits or coconut strawberry lassi? (Did you see the Providence Journal or Bon Appetit pieces?)

lemons lemonade

So that's it folks! Get your book, prepare something quick and delicious, post and send me the link by the 28th!


Snow is Falling, but (Home Made) Summer is Here!

Home Made Summer

Agog really.

Open this beauty up and you are transported.

You can feel a warm breeze on your skin. You thirst for a cocktail, a salty little nibble, and you smile.

You squint just a bit from that sun.

That sun!

Soon, very soon, we will be sharing the warmth of Yvette's book and her smile, right here in Boston. Until then, why not use the last of your winter citrus in something delicious and sunny.


Lemon Thins

From Home Made Summer, by Yvette Van Boven; Photographs by Oof Verschuren. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, April 2013.


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 C plus 2 TBSP (125 g) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or 2 tsp vanilla sugar
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 6 TBSP (85 g) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 C (85 g) all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer for 5 minutes, until nice and foamy. Beat in lemon zest.
  3. In another bowl, beat the butter until light and airy. Alternately stir the butter and the flour in small batches into the egg mixture. Stir in a tiny pinch of salt.
  4. Using two teaspoons, arrange small mounds of batter on prepared baking sheet at least 2 inches apart (they'll spread).
  5. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.
  6. Let the cookies cool on the pans for a few minutes, then use a thin spatula to transfer them to a rack to cool completely.


❧ ❧ ❧

Warmth from the oven will carry us through these last days of winter.

Close your eyes and nibble a taste of the sun.

Stack of Lemon Thins



April 13, ICA Boston Eat Boutique Luncheon: Ticketed event. Info here.

April 13, 4pm Brookline BookSmith, Boston Booksigning + little presentation & tasting [free event, just walk in] 279 Harvard St., Coolidge Corner, Brookline 617.566.6660

April 14, 2-5pm  Kitchenwares event, Boston Book signing & tasting event [free event, just walk in] 215 Newbury St  Boston, MA 02116 617.366.4237

April 16, 7pm Trident Bookstore Café, Boston Little demo and tasting event [free event, just walk in] 338 Newbury St  Boston, MA 02115 617.267.8688