Cooking my way through summer

Red Berry Fruit Popsicles

Summer is fleeting,” my friend Heidi tells me as she is getting ready to leave. We’ve spent the morning in the house shooting portraits. Courageously, I should add, in view of the extremely hot temperature of the day that make us sweat the minute we move.

She and I feel the same way. We know that summer will be gone before we notice.

Pouf! Disappeared!

Do you remember your summers as a teenager? I want my summer to be feel just like one of these,” I tell her, laughing.

And I mean it.

Summer Fruit

Petits pots de crème au chocolat–Berry Muffins

Naturally, I know it will never be the way it was. Life has changed. Responsibilities and roles have evolved. I am happy they have. Now there is Lulu in our life. It feels fulfilled.

But I still remember the carefree feeling of those summer days. The time of les grandes vacances when I could get up late and spend a whole day outside to read books or ride my bike, if I wanted to. With the sun setting at around ten at night, somehow, those days had an everlasting quality. Summer would stretch at a wonderful slow pace.

I remember the noises and the way the air smelled too. And I have the memory of the sweet aroma of jams and preserves prepared in the kitchen recorded in my brain.

I am taking a break next week,” I tell Heidi who is settling in her car. “Next week, I will spend time at the beach with Lulu, go to the farm, pick fruit, and read books. Not much email or computer work, you know!

Will you cook?

I smile.

Mais oui!

In summer, there is so much beautiful produce that I am relentlessly inspired and excited about what I am going to cook next. That, I know, will never change. It lives deep inside me.

I know I have not found the time to tell you much about what I’ve cooked. Between trips and workshops and photo jobs, I didn’t find the space to. But I still imagined that you’d like to know what summer at home looks like at our table.

Alors voilà !

Red Currant Muffins

Summer Fruit Papilottes

It starts with fruit.

Oh the joy of summer fruit, with its cheerful popping colors! Red, yellow, orange. They look so happy! They are bound to inspire.

With them, I’ve baked teacakes and muffins; I’ve made tarts, clafoutis, crumbles, fruit papillotes, and fruit popsicles. We’ve made and gobbled down loads of them.

Popsicle is a magic word.

Next come the tomatoes. Yellow, red, orange, and black. Large and small. They all burst with the flavors of summer.

With them, I’ve baked tomato tarte tatin and tarts, and I’ve prepared lots and lots of batches of refreshing gazpacho–come back to hear about this one, it’s a real winner!

Gazpacho

Risotto–Stuffed Tomatoes

Sea Bass

I’ve cooked fish and risotto, and I’ve made tons of salades composées–the perfect fare for my lunches solo at home. And despite the heat, I’ve baked muffins and pots de crème au chocolat–because chocolate lives in my life every day, no matter the season.

Salade composée

Apricot Teacakes

Apricot, Nectarine, and Pistachio Popsicles

So there you are.

I hope these will inspire you too.

Grilled Sea Bass

And since I am still here, I thought I’d share two of my recipes with you today. The first is s recipe for red fruit popiscles–super easy to make. Red. Beautiful and refreshing. Filled with delicious fruit.

And the second is a classic in my répertoire: les tomatoes farcies (stuffed tomatoes).

The night my friend R., her husband, and young baby daughter came over for dinner, she could not help but exclaim:

Oh Béa, thank you! I love how they remind me of the time I spent in France when I was seventeen! They are so French!

I actually understood what she meant. A plate filled with tomates farcies will always mean exactement the same thing to me.

They bring me right to a summer dinner back home.

Les tomates farcies
Red Berry Popsicle Recipe

For 6 popsicles

You need:

For the fruit:

  • 5 1/4 ounces (150 g) raspberries
  • 5 1/4 ounces (150 g) strawberries
  • 3 1/2 ounces (100 g) red currants
  • 3/4 cup light syrup*
  • 8 leaves of orange-flavored mint

For the light syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup blond cane sugar

Steps:

  • In a pot, combine the water with the sugar. Bring to a simmer so that the sugar dissolves. Stop the heat and let cool. Refrigerate.
  • Purée the fruit with the cold syrup and mint. Pass through a chinois, or fine sieve, and divide the fruit mixture between the popsicle molds.
  • Freeze for 30 minutes. Insert the wooden sticks and place back in the freezer again until completely set.
  • I like to make more syrup than I need. I keep the rest covered in the fridge for future uses.

Stuffed Tomatoes with Pork

For 4 people

You need:

  • 8 large tomatoes
  • Sea salt
  • 1 pound ground pork (or veal)
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped in a food processor
  • 1/4 cup blanched watercress, finely chopped in a food processor
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
  • 3 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • Olive oil to drizzle

Steps:

  • Cut a small hat for the tomatoes. Using a melon spoon, scoop out the flesh and seeds. Season inside each tomato with salt.
  • Place the tomatoes, cut face down on a cutting board so that they release some juice. Leave for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  • In a large bowl, combine the meat, shallot, carrot, watercress, ground coriander, parsley, tarragon, and ricotta cheese.
  • Stir the egg in and mix until the preparation is homogeneous. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Stuff the tomatoes with the meat and place the hats on top.
  • Arrange the tomatoes in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes.
  • Serve with a grain like rice or quinoa, or mashed potatoes on the side.

51 comments

  1. so full of beautiful summer, gosh to be a guest at your table. so lovely bea, next week with lulu sounds perfect!

  2. mon dieu! j’adore vos photos!
    this post is just a gorgeous way of preserving the ‘fleeting summer’ that you mentioned. it’s deep in winter here, alors je suis si jalouse!
    your recipes and gorgeous, gorgeous photography have me yearning for the warm summer months, all the colours and tastes!

  3. Delicious recipes and wonderful photos. I love the atmosphere that you’re able to create. Antonella – Torino (Italy)

  4. The pictues are so stunning! Lovely colors. This post was pure inspiration. I feel like running to the kitchen to prepare a summer menu.

  5. Your pictures and stories make me feel like going to some place warm to experience “real” Summer right now. In the San Francisco bay area where I live, Summer is more like September and October. Enjoy!

  6. Je craque vraiment pour tes photos et la mise en place. Elles nous mettent l’eau à la bouche et le goût de faire de même…

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  8. It’s not even very warm here, but I am craving one of those lush red berry icicles! amazing pictures, as always. x

  9. Wow!!!!!! I am left speechless yet again.. What a truly exquisite post.. brimful of mouthwatering recipes and pictures to inspire…Merci Beaucoup!

  10. Bea, there is such beauty and light in this post. Yes, summer is fleeting. Here in Wisconsin the golden tinge is already touching the green and the crickets are chirping. Never enough time for summer and other pleasures…

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  12. Oh, I perfectly remember those carefree days, spent exactly like you, reading books, riding my bicycle in the Tuscan countryside, eating ice-creams and sizing the day.
    The summer was endless, or at least so appeared to me, ever lasting afternoons spent in the cool living room watching old movies, while outside the sun was scotching hot and the cicadas would sing till night.
    and the jams and preserves my mum and my grandma would do, such precious memories!
    Now it’s different, but I cannot help myself from feeling a subtle freedom feeling every time I wake up in a summer day!
    and delicious recipes, too! Tomates farcies bring me to France as well, such a magic dish!
    Enjoy your days at the beach with Lulu!

  13. Dear Bea,
    Wonderful, colorful, tasteful and super inspiring post, timely coming to warm up a bit the winter in Buenos Aires!

    Enjoy your summer break!
    Cheers,

    Cris

  14. Now that’s how summer is done! Beautiful photos Bea. An inspiration to savor these fleeting summer days…

  15. You are one of my inspirations! I made the Stuffed tomato with potato and pork recipe from your cookbook last night with the variation of using up my pork pate instead of ground pork. I am also celebrating the colors of summer! I love your photos and your sensibility about food! thanks!

  16. What a wonderful wonderful post!…Lulu has so much grown up! Thanks for sharing!

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  18. It is the hot part of summer where at times I start to not like to eat anything . . . only popsicles! But what you present here looks refreshing and so summery. It’s a challenge for me to mix it up and find what suits the season.

  19. What a delicious summer! I too long for the summers of my childhood when there was so much time to do with as I pleased. But yes, now it is a different kind of wonder as we experience it with our little ones!

  20. You really know how to cook and make your readers yearn for more. Loving the recipes that you posted, my daughter will surely love Red Berry Fruit Popsicles and Red Currant Muffins.

  21. Bea, I finally managed to get hold of your lovely book, that too in a Japanese bookstore in Singapore ! Your book has travelled a long way and I’m one happy bunny with the beautiful purchase! Already flipped thru and book marked almost all the dessert recipes to make ASAP,., will post a review on it soon :)

  22. wow!! les photos sont colorés et très belles!! vous êtes inspirant. Maintenant je veux préparer les popsicles pour les jours chauds de juillet :) merci!

  23. Oh Béa!!! Everything’s so wonderful…the food, the photos, your words… I love your blog (and your book). You put magic in everything you do.
    Please tell me, where did you find those beautiful coloured/polka-dotted/checkered teaspoons? They are so nice! I’m waiting for a baby girl now and these spoons look perfect to feed her when she’ll be ready! :-)

  24. Ce poisson a l’air d’un pur délice! Cela me donne des idées… Merci!

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  27. uhhh, the only sad thing in your superb photos is the look in the poor fish eyes

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