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provençal vegetable soup {ffwd}

A Bowl of Provencal Veg Soup

Hot soup isn’t what I usually want to eat during the summer, especially when the weather is hot and humid. The things we do for French Fridays… Even though the temperature didn’t seem seasonal, the ingredient list certainly was, especially with tomato and corn. Between my farm share and a few things picked up at the farmers market, this soup turned out to be a masterpiece of local bounty. I also love anything with chickpeas.

Local Bounty

I made one modification when I read Dorie’s warning about the pasta getting mushy when reheating the soup. I made it the morning to serve for dinner that evening, so I knew reheating was in my soup’s future. I chose to cook the pasta separately, cool it down, and keep it in a separate container until later. I just stirred it in when I reheated the soup. It seems to have held up well, not just the night we had it with dinner, but also as leftovers.

Soup a-simmer

As I mentioned, the soup was a bit too hot for the weather, but it did taste delicious! It was amazing that just 3 minutes of simmering infused the vegetable broth with so much tomato flavor. I also enjoyed the drizzle of pesto (which I made sans Parmesan). Howard’s not a fan of zucchini, so he didn’t love it, but did pronounce it “OK”.

You can check out the other Doristas’ soups by following their links here. You can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

We have a double-header this week. The zucchini plant that I planted about three weeks ago offered up two male blossoms this week. I picked them early in the morning and stored them in the fridge for the evening, when I would make two fried shrimp-filled zucchini blossoms. Unexpectedly, when I stopped by the Belmont Farmers Market in the afternoon, one of the vendors had bunches of pumpkin blossoms for sale, just $4 for just over a dozen, so I bought a bunch to add to my homegrown couple and make it a meal.

I was worried it would be hard, but I was able to pull the stamens out without ripping the blossoms (using tweezers). I stuffed half with shrimp and half with goat cheese mixed with chopped olives and pesto. Other Doristas raved about the batter, and they were right. I loved how it bubbled up and stayed frothy. I’m not a big deep-fryer, but if I were frying stuff again, I’d use this batter recipe.


I enjoyed the fried blossoms. I also liked that there were multiple fillings. Once cooked, I couldn’t remember which were which, so the surprise on the first bite of each was fun. I’d make these again, as a once-a-year treat, if I come across blossoms again next summer.


As a final note, I spent last weekend hanging out in New York City with Kathy, Cher, and Diane. What a blast! Diane already posted about our adventures here, so I won’t repeat, but I will include a photo of the four of us getting ready to go into Chelsea Market (This is Kathy’s picture, I won’t take credit). Here’s to more Dorista meetups in the future.

Doristas at Chelsea Market

tomatoes provençal {ffwd}

Tomatoes Provencal

This week was scorching hot. I did turn on the oven a few times, to bake a savory tart, to bake a sable breton galette base for freshly picked strawberries, and to toast ramen noodles and almonds for a refreshing napa cabbage salad. I also turned on the oven to roast tomatoes provençal which is this week’s recipe pick for French Fridays with Dorie.

Local tomatoes are not yet available in the markets, though greenhouse ones are just starting to show their rosy faces. We can also get decent hydroponic ones grown in Maine, which is what I chose.

tomato halves

This is a definitely a recipe to file away for peak tomato season. This fabulous side screams summer when the aromas waft through the kitchen. Other than the need to turn on the oven on a hot summer day, there is no challenge involved. You clip a handful of mixed herbs from the back door herb garden. That meant rosemary, winter savory, thyme, marjoram, and chives for me. The herbs are chopped with some garlic and spooned onto tomato halves which are drizzled with olive oil and roasted until they are soft and fragrant.

(my) garden herbs

Not only do the tomatoes provençal smell like summer, they taste like too. They rounded out our “peek of summer” meal. We ate a greens tart made with greens from our CSA share (plus the tops from the beets and radishes too) and some Georgia corn and tomatoes provençal. Yum!

peek of summer dinner

This weekend, we enjoyed a visit from one of my dearest childhood friends and her family. We’ve been fortunate to be able to rendezvous with them at our Maine cottage every couple of years when they come East to visit family. It is such a treat to reconnect, catch up on our current lives, and reminisce about our shared youthful adventures. There is nothing like a longtime friend.


Check out what the other Doristas thought of the tomatoes here. If you’d like to try making these scrumptious tomatoes for yourself, you don’t really need a recipe. If you feel like you must have one, you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table or on-line at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.