Cottage Cooking Club: August 2015


Wow! I’ve definitely fallen out of the blogosphere. I haven’t posted since last month’s Cottage Cooking Club. I need to get with the program. There’s plenty of cooking happening in my kitchen, but clearly not a lot of writing at the computer. I am sorely out of practice. I will try to get back into the game this fall.


Fall? It’s the end of August, so that means that summer is almost over. I feel it in the air with slightly chilly mornings and gradually shortening days. Fortunately, the harvest is still going strong, and we’ve been enjoying wonderful local produce from the local farms and farmers markets, and a few things from our backyard garden. Tomatoes and corn are always at the table right now and will be until the season is over.


For this month’s Cottage Cooking Club, the on-line group cooking through Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg, our inspiring leader Andrea from The Kitchen Lioness chose a menu of recipes that were hard to choose from. Here’s the rundown on what I picked, in the order I made them.


With the earliest of tomatoes, I threw together Tomatoes with Thai Dressing. This, like so many of the recipes in this book, showcases top-notch vegetables with just the simplest of accompaniments, here, a light Asian-flavored dressing. I wouldn’t say the dressing tasted very Thai to me, or all that Asian.  It was refreshing, and I did like the fresh mint sprinkled on top.  This quick salad was nice enough, though not interesting enough for me to make again.


Thai Tomatoes


Next up was the Leek and Cheese Toasties. This open-faced sandwich has the most amazing topping: sautéed leeks combined with thyme, cream, and Cheddar cheese. A lightly-toasted slice of bread is slathered with the cheesy leek spread, sprinkled with more cheese, and broiled until bubbling and browned. This was my favorite recipe this month. I made a double batch and ate it for lunch every day for a week. The topping is probably a bit too heavy for the hot dog days of summer, but I’ll remember this for the cooler weather and make this one again and again.  Plus it reminded of my mother’s special sandwich, a “Bunni special”, the lunch we often requested or she made without us asking because it was so good and easy to put together.  My mom’s sandwich was different, sliced cheese and tomato sprinkled with dried Italian herbs and broiled, but they were similar enough to make me smile.




Finally, I made Summer Garden Lentils Niçoise. If I haven’t mentioned it before, lentils are my favorite of all beans and legumes. I’ve seldom met a lentil dish I didn’t like. This lentil salad, which can be served warm or cold, includes my favorite flavors of summer: cherry tomatoes, olives, green beans, and red onion, pulled together with a mustardy vinaigrette. The cherry tomatoes were from my garden and the green beans from a local farm.  Eggs transforms the salad to a meal. The first night, I chose to serve it warm with poached eggs on top. Yum! And, then the next day, eggless, this was the perfect side to the zucchini tart I had for lunch.  I also liked adding herb stems to the lentils as they cooked.  I threw in some basil because I picked too much from the garden.  I will definitely make this combination again.




My favorite part of this group is checking out everyone else’s posts to both compare notes on the recipes I made and to figure which other recipes to add to my “must make” list.  You can check out everyone’s links here.



Posted on 28 August 2015, in Cottage Cooking Club, Summer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Helyn Benjamin

    Hi. Missed your postings. Xxxxxxx

    Sent from my iPad


  2. peggygilbey814628432

    Hi Betsy, Between my grandson finishing camp 2 weeks ago and having streams of children full time in and out, and then at the local pool, he also had a minor tooth surgery, and I’ve been terribly under the weather and just recuperating, I came on today SO guilty that I hadn’t kept up with members posts over the month- Oh you just made my day!!! So good to see you and your lovely dishes. I was dying to make the leek and cheese toasties, bought and sliced the sourdough and the cheese… well on top of all the other cooking and putting up from the garden too… unbelievably, I just couldn’t get it done. Happy you were so fond of it though, and still I’ve my leeks in the garden ready to pull for the occasion (again needing the sourdough.) Trying to treasure the final moments of summer and its wonderful produce but will appreciate the writing time shortly ahead. See you soon!

  3. Hi Betsy, your lentil salad looks amazing, I was thinking about making it as lentils are my favorite but my husband has been complaining about how many lentil dishes I prepare, sigh! anyway, your leek and cheese toasties look mouth watering. I don’t know about you but summer is flying by way too fast. Take care!

  4. I made a big batch of the lentils and served some in this salad, saving the rest to use through the week. We love lentils, too. And I really liked the tomatoes. The cheese toasties sound like something my parents would love me to make for them.

  5. Hi Betsy! I picked recipes without having the book with me – and then got so busy I only made the Thai tomatoes. Agreed, as is, not very Thai – I think I’d fiddle more with the dressing next time – it was good served along some other vegetarian dishes.

    The lentils look wonderful. As you know, I started loving them after fixing them with FFWD. I need to make that salad! And the leek and cheese toasties! Sounds delicious – as your mom’s sandwiches do too!

    Hope you enjoy these last few days of summer! XOX

  6. Betsy, what a beautiful dish with the lentils! The tomatoes also look gorgeous and that dish is simple to make. I enjoyed reading your post and “seeing” you again–it is a bit strange to see all of the really consistent Doristas not really posting anymore, but in some ways I bet it’s nice to take a break, yes? I hear you with fall…where did the summer go? I admit, though, that fall is my favorite season and I relish that slight nip in the air (at least what it is here) and that smell that tells me it’s coming. I was in heaven when I lived on the East Coast for a time. Enjoy that summer produce of yours!

  7. Betsy, loved your CCC Post this month. I am loving lentils now also. Although I made mine with honey-roasted tomatoes this month, I am going to do the other variations sometime next month just because. Anything with lentils, or just dressed lentils, themselves, works as a lunch when I’m rangering. And, it’s filling without the bread (sandwich) and extra calories. I have the leeks, cheddar cheese and cream in my fridge and thyme on my balcony herb box to make the Toasties. I just didn’t get to them. Tomorrow. Such a good post. Although I haven’t posted as often, just every other week, I have enjoyed a more relaxed schedule this summer. Like you, I’ve been busy but still cooking. It’s September and I am back on a weekly schedule and trying various recipes. It’s fun. See you in a month.

  8. Betsy, your mom’s “Bunni special” sounds an awful lot like the “cheese dreams” my mum used to make for me. I loved the leek toasties too, partly because they brought back such wonderful memories of those sandwiches. I made the so-called Thai tomato dish and like you, won’t be repeating it. Your lentil salad looks fantastic. I made a slightly different variation but it used the same mustardy dressing; this one’s definitely a keeper. We’re in for another hot one this week so summer’s definitely not over yet. Plenty of time to enjoy all of that beautiful produce. See you next month.

  9. TheKitchenLioness

    Dear Betsy, I am glad that Hugh´s recipes are an encouragement for blogging – they are just too good not to brag about! And you did a wonderful job with your Asian-style summer tomatoes (even if everyone commented that the dressing was not Asian or Thai enough – I did end up adding freshly grated ginger to the dressing). The Lentil salade niçoise looks fabulous and we are in love with that salad as well. The Leek and cheese toasties were the first recipe I tried from the book and I have been making them ever since because they are absolutely wonderful – I can just imagine you enjoying them for a few days and I most definitely share your enthusiasm!
    Thank you dear friend for being such a wonderful participant to The Cottage Cooking Club – love all your input!
    “See” you very soon, I am sure,

  10. I can’t believe summer is over! However, I am looking forward to fall – my favorite time of year. I chose to make the cheese and leek toasties, but did not get around to it. Must do so soon – they look and sound so good. I did make the tomato dish – one I would not make again, not with homegrown tomatoes anyway – I felt the dressing was to overpowering for the tomatoes to shine through. Have a great week!

  11. I’ll have to try the Bunni Special. It sounds great.

  12. Love all your picks for CCC…can’t wait to get back to cooking with everyone again. That lentil salad looks wonderfully delicious! A must try!
    I am so very sorry Betsy, for your loss! Hugs to you my friend!

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