Side Dishes

tomato gratin 1200

Tomato Gratin

Tomato gratin is an old-fashioned dish – why was this ever forgotten? It can make even supermarket tomatoes taste good, but when made with dead-ripe garden tomatoes, it’s sublime. Layers of garlicky toasted bread crumbs absorb juice and provide a nice crunch. This is an unapologetically summer dish, as it

Read More »
beet salad with feta and walnuts

Beet Salad with Feta & Walnuts

Here’s a delicious beet salad with feta & walnuts: it uses summer produce along with easy to find ingredients. It can be made up to 2 days ahead of time, so plan your work to suit your schedule. It’s delicious, it’s easy to make, and it can be served either

Read More »
Greek potato salad

Greek Potato Salad with Feta and Roasted Peppers

When you think of potato salad, do you think of the typical mayonnaise-based same old stuff? If that doesn’t appeal, go Greek: try a potato salad without mayonnaise at all. This Greek potato salad is one of my secret weapons in the summertime: it’s simple to make, doesn’t heat up

Read More »
Lemon Dill potato salad 1200

Lemon Dill Potato Salad

My grandmother’s answer to hot summer weather was a cold supper, and it always included a potato salad. In general, I’m very much in favor of the cooking of grandmothers, but I’ve found that I prefer a lighter version. This recipe for a lemon dill potato salad is adapted from

Read More »
summer vegetable tian

Summer Vegetable Tian

During the Midwest summer, it’s generally hot and often humid. I simplify my cooking in the hot weather: big salads, piles of corn on the cob, bowls of cool fruit, grilled meats. I’m a big fan of lazy summer cooking. Sometimes we’ll get a burst of cooler air, and for

Read More »
Potato Tomato Squash Tian 1200

Potato, Tomato, and Squash Tian

Old kitchen wisdom: “If it grows together, it goes together.” This potato, tomato, and squash tian – a Provençal dish – is a very tasty example, using the super fresh vegetables of summer. A tian is both a food and the vessel it’s cooked in: either a dish of vegetables baked together,

Read More »

Ratatouille – or how to freeze summer

I’ve been meaning to write about making ratatouille for a few weeks now. I don’t mean the beautiful baked version from the cartoon movie – wonderful though that is, it’s not the one I make every year, late in tomato season, when all the ingredients are ready fresh from the

Read More »
extra baked tomatoes

Extra Baked Tomatoes

Ah, wintertime in the Great Lakes – nothing much is growing here except the icicles hanging from the eaves. On gloomy days, there’s nothing better than a taste of summer. If you canned or froze produce, terrific. But what if you did not? Extra baked tomatoes are the answer. Extra

Read More »

Green Bean Casserole for two

I know that many people think that cream and mushroom soup, and fried onions from a can, make a great casserole. And maybe they’re right, but it’s not the right size for a serves two feast! I adapted this from Alton Brown and from Smitten Kitchen, to whom I am

Read More »

Roasted Mushrooms with Garlic Butter

After what seemed like an eternity of 95+ degree weather, when the high temperature dropped into the 70s, it felt quite cool! That was when I felt like using my oven again. These were everything that mushrooms should be – fragrant, delicious, sizzling – and then, alas, they were gone.

Read More »

Roasted Asparagus

This is the simplest way to cook asparagus that I know, and one of the best. If all your spears are the same thickness, they will cook more evenly, but I never worry about a bit of variation.  1 bunch fresh asparagus olive oil salt Preheat the oven – you

Read More »

Sauteed zucchini with garlic and lemon

Yield: serves 4-6 2 Tbsp olive oil 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin 1 1/2 lb zucchini, diced into small cubes salt and pepper 2 tsp fresh lemon zest 2 Tbsp chopped mixed herbs: marjoram, basil, dill, oregano, whatever you like Heat oil in a wide skillet, add the garlic, and

Read More »


I’m Maurita Plouff, and I write about cooking and preserving the local harvest in Southeast Michigan. Any recipe you find here is something I have cooked myself, and enjoyed, and think you might like too. I invite you to try the recipes, and leave comments.

Get all the Good Stuff

Never miss a post! Add your email here.

Blog Posts by Month