I spent much of Friday afternoon happily cooking. I was craving the rich soup with crunchy tartines that I had made a few times before, and also needed to prepare a brunch dish for friends Ann and Luke, who were coming to visit on Saturday.

So, here are the recipes with a few of my alterations indicated. And a photo or two.


This soup is from one of my favorite food blogs, La Tartine Gourmande.

Her photos just kill me. I mean, look at this one.

squash soup

And then, here’s mine.



And of course I LOVE that her recipes are always provided in English and French.

Curried Winter Squash Soup with Red Lentil, Coconut Milk and Clams

(For 4 people)

You need:

For the soup:

  • 1 lb 2 oz red kuri squash, seeded and diced (I didn’t have kuri squash, so I used a butternut.)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced (5 oz)
  • 1 leek, white part only, chopped
  • 1 celery branch, chopped (I had celeriac from the CSA to use)
  • 1 zucchini (7 oz), cut in pieces (I didn’t have)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 oz) red lentils (I couldn’t get red lentils, so used organic green)
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground curry
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 + 1/8 cups coconut milk
  • A splash white wine
  • 20 clams (about 4 to 5 clams per person) – I didn’t add clams
  • Chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

For the tartines:

  • Slices of baguette, or a bread of your choice
  • Olive oil, to brush
  • Fresh thyme, chopped
  • Manchego cheese, grated  (I used plain old Kowalskis grated Parmesan, but it was still very yummy)


  • In a large pot, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add the shallot, leek and celery. Sweat for 2 minutes, until soft, making sure that the vegetables never brown. Then add the ground cumin and curry, and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  • Add the rest of the vegetables and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the water, salt and pepper and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft.
  • Mix the soup. Check the seasoning, and add the coconut milk. Keep warm.
  • In the meantime, cook the red lentils (1/2 cup lentils requires 1.5 cups water, plus salt; cook until soft, most of the water will be absorbed; set aside).
  • Cook the clams with a splash of white wine on high heat, covered, until they are open; set aside.
  • Add the lentils to the soup; mix well.
  • To make the tartines, brush slices of baguette (or another rustic bread) with olive oil. Sprinkle with thyme and grated cheese, and place under the broil for a few minutes, to brown slightly.
  • Laddle the soup in a bowl. Add the clams and parsley, extra grated Manchego cheese, and serve with the tartines.
Stirring the pot
Tartines, ready for the broiler

The table is set for our guests.

Birchwood Rise and Shine Souffle
Birchwood Inn Bed & Breakfast, Lennox, Massachusetts

This recipe rises to the occasion!

6 cups cubed day-old firm French bread – The only bread I could get was some shortbread mini slices and we have made this recipe with gluten free bread and every time it has been good.
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded aged cheddar
10 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups (1 quart) milk
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup chives or green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon Maggi Seasoning – I don’t know what this is
1/4 teaspoon onion powder – I used chopped shallots
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped tomato
6 to 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)

Spray or generously butter eight 8-ounce ramekins. Arrange the bread cubes in the ramekins and sprinkle with cheese, parsley, and green onions or chives. Beat together the eggs, milk, and seasonings and pour evenly over cheese, herbs, and bread. Sprinkle with tomato (bacon and/or mushrooms are optional). Cover with plastic wrap and chill up to 24 hours. (You can freeze the souffles at this point. If frozen, defrost in refrigerator the night before you plan to serve them.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake souffle, uncovered, until set, puffy, and lightly browned on top, about 45 minutes. (Note: this recipe can also be made in a 9 x 13-inch pan and baked for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. This is what I did.)

Serves: 8

Recipe from Breakfast at Birchwood, Birchwood Inn’s best-selling cookbook.

egg bake

Oh, and I tried making some baked apples. I just cut the cores out, then added butter, 100% maple syrup, a mission fig, and some cinnamon. Baked at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. I think I have some more work to do to get these right, but it was a nice accompaniment to the egg dish.

baked apples