Summer Refresh with a Little French Style


It seems every season can use a little refresh, and updating our homes and gardens in even a small way with something new is rewarding. Here at La Vie Rustic the refresh takes on a bit of French style, from vintage French knives for the table or picnic basket, airy pillows with Japonism-style silk screening, or a dash of lavender sea salt for grilled meats to young salad greens of heirloom French lettuces and escaroles, even a late planting of Van Gogh sunflowers for early fall bouquets.







La Vie Rustic Featured in Victoria Magazine

As summer comes and we start to move outside for meals and gatherings, Victoria Magazine captured the La Vie Rustic style of garden and table in their July/August issue with lush photographs at my home and inspirational text.  Fruits, vegetables, and flowers from the garden, vintage tableware mixed with contemporary, and easy, seasonal seasonal dishes from appetizers to dessert are the hallmark of that style.

Here is one of the recipes from the cookbook, La Vie Rustic -Cooking and Living in the French Style we made that day.

Zucchini and Pine Nut Fritters

In Provence, summer gardens are always laden with zucchini. They are a fundamental ingredient in the summer vegetable stew, ratatouille, in Soupe au Pistou and they are frequently sautéed with lots of garlic and onion as a side dish. Here the zucchini, grated raw, preservers its fresh, green flavor. The fritters,

similar to potato pancakes, but with a softer interior, get an added texture from toasted pine nuts, plus a sprinkle of sea salt. I like to serve these as a first course or a side dish.


2 zucchini, ends trimmed

¼ cup flour

1 egg

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½  teaspoon coarse sea salt plus extra for sprinkling

¼ to 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

Extra-virgin olive oil for frying

Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a hand-held grater. With your hands, squeeze the zucchini dry. You should have about 2 cups.

Put the zucchini in a large bowl and sprinkle with the flour, then turn to mix well. Add the egg and ½ teaspoon of the salt. With a spoon, mix well to form a batter.

Film a frying pan with some olive oil. Over medium high heat, heat the olive oil. When it is hot, spoon about 3 tablespoons of batter per pancake, allowing about 2 inches between each pancake.

With the back of a spatula, press down to spread the batter to make about a pancake 3 inches in diameter and ¼-inch thick.  When the bottom of the pancakes are golden, and the edges are cooked, about 3 to 4 minutes, sprinkle some pine nuts on top of each pancake, pressing them in slightly with the back of the spatula. Using the spatula, turn the pancakes and fry until crisp and golden, about 3 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined platter and continue until the remaining batter is used.

To serve, sprinkle the pancakes with the remaining pine nuts and sprinkle with a little sea salt.

Makes 8 to 10 fritters