Home Cooking Summer


About My Recipes
(and scroll down for some good ones!)

hen I was trying to figure out how to write a cookbook all those years ago, I knew I wanted to decorate the pages with my watercolors and put in my favorite quotes — I knew I would handwrite it; I wanted it to be “real,” like the recipes in an old family recipe box. But that meant my recipes had to be the best in the world (I was reaching for the moon) — they had to be delicious and dependable, many times tried and true — because no one cares about a pretty cookbook if the recipes don’t work, right? A cookbook should be something a person depend on kind of like a dictionary. The dishes should be so good they might go all the way, to the highest of all accolades: “family favorite,” and therefore passed down to sons and daughters, sisters and best friends, creating generations of wonderful dinner parties, homey kitchens and successful cooks, providing a great big heart of the home for the whole world! That was what I wanted. Good cooking carries magic in it; a house, big or little, that smells good from cooking, is the place everyone wants to be.


asy, quick, elegant, and delicious” — I said it to myself over and over. I only ignored that phrase a couple of times and it was always with “quick” — because there are a couple of cakes in my books, some with three-layers, with delicious filling and amazing frosting, that had to be included no matter how long they took — my Orange Cake for example; people love it; always worth it for the bonus “kissing of the cook” that goes on after they taste it. Here is the recipe for that, and a few other favorites you’ll find in my books. They’re guaranteed to please, and make your kitchen the heart of your home.


Remember, Life is short, eat dessert first.

Orange Cake
p. 128 Vineyard Seasons
With a pineapple-orange filling; an orange-coconut icing.

Carrot Cake
p. 126 Heart of the Home
Three-layer, pineapple and coconut, walnuts, shredded carrots, and cinnamon. The perfect birthday cake.

Coconut Layer Cake
p. 108 Summer Book
Three layers; old-fashioned boiled frosting with lemon filling.

Banana Cream Pie
p. 127 Heart of the Home
This is the one that people oooh and aaaah over, and it tastes even better than it looks! I strongly recommend using a homemade pie crust so you get the flaky goodness with the banana and cream.

You bring the bread:
Three recipes for cheesy, herby, stuffed French bread

p. 41 Summer Book
Picnic Sandwich
p. 44 Summer Book
A sandwich-to-go, made in a whole, round loaf of French bread, layered with everything from roasted red peppers to herbs, garden tomatoes, goat cheese — all dressed in a mustardy balsamic vinaigrette.

Bean Salad
p. 60 The Summer Book
White beans, red onion, olive oil, perfect for any summer dinner.

Spicy Mango Salad
p. 82 Girlfriends Forever
Fresh lime, sesame oil, crushed red pepper, mint, cilantro and cold sliced mangos. Cannot get any better than this.

Gazpacho
p. 88 Girlfriends Forever
You may have tasted this before, but you’ve never had one better. Add shrimp or lobster pieces, and you have the entire dinner in a bowl.

Pine Nut Salad
p. 44 Vineyard Seasons
It’s delicious, cold and flavorful with pine nuts, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese — and it’s also a cute salad because it’s made with alphabet pasta.

Stuffed Eggs
p. 26 Vineyard Seasons
Spicy with a little splash of Tabasco sauce; Joe loves them.

Lime Salmon
p. 80 Autumn Book
Sesame oil and lime juice with deep-fried leek frisee garnish.

Lemon Chicken
p. 92 Heart of the Home
Lemony parsley sauce poured over sauteed chicken breasts.

Wild Mushroom Ragout
p. 53 Autumn Book
Serve this with barbecued steaks … mixed mushrooms, herbs, and cognac. Beautiful dish.

Clear Tomato Soup
p. 36 Heart of the Home
Make this when your garden tomatoes are ripe and juicy and freeze it for winter.

Cioppino
p. 40 Heart of the Home
An elegant soup filled with clams, shrimp, scallops, in a herby tomato broth.

Barbecued Chicken
p. 89 The Summer Book
Three grilling sauces; beer/lemon, brown-sugar/Cajun, and bourbon/apricot.

Roasted Vegetables
p. 74 The Summer Book
How to roast all kinds of fresh vegetables.

Linguini in White Clam Sauce
p. 100 Heart of the Home
The best recipe for this I have ever tasted…and the ingredients can be kept in your pantry for instant gratification at any time!

Lemon Linguini
p. 70 The Summer Book
Good hot or cold, your basic summer pasta.

Cheeseburger
p. 46 The Summer Book
The way I like to make them…

Cocktail Ribs and Chicken Wings
p. 32 The Summer Book
Chewy, spicy, ginger, soy, honey, brown sugar; delectable summer starters. Finger lickin’ good.

18 Responses to Home Cooking Summer

  1. Carol Ahlgren says:

    Your web site it with out a doubt my favourite place to visit! It makes me feel happy when I feel sad and even more happy when I am already happy. I have pre-ordered your book “A Fine Romance” and look forward to it. My question is why is it that I can access some of your recipes but not others?

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Carol, so happy to have you here! I’m not sure which recipes you can’t access. I tried several of them, they all came up for me. Let me know if you can, so I can fix them! Thank you!

  2. Carol Ahlgren says:

    Thank-you. I tried again and it must something with my computer because some of them were accessible and some not. Tried again and like magic there it was “The Orange Cake”.

  3. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan, just made your White Bean Salad for the fourth time this season. It is so good. The first time I used cauliflower but when I made it the second time I didn’t have cauliflower but used brocolli instead and it was good too. Today I added some cilantro – so good – I absolutely love cilantro – just call me coriander girl, lol.
    Happy 4th of July. We’re celebrating Canada Day on the first. Aren’t we lucky girls to live in such beautiful countries, yes we are!

  4. Arlinda says:

    THANK YOU SUSAN! I know what my little girls and I will be cooking for their Daddy this summer. XOXO

  5. Cindy Tuning says:

    Sorry to ask this when you’re swamped with comments during a giveaway but could you jot down that recipe for the lime drink with sweetened condensed milk? I have an abundance of limes and can’t remember what else goes in it. Thank you so much.

  6. Berit says:

    Just made the Lemon Linguine. Very good, but I used whole wheat pasta which tends to taste a little bitter. Anyone else have that?

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Your popovers, p. 149 Heart of the Home, are so easy & delicious! I substitute some whole wheat or oat flour in for 1/2 c. flour.

  8. Lois Riggs says:

    Just received a copy of your new book “A Fine Romance Falling in Love With the English Countryside.” It is truly a beautiful and informative book that is written with true love and respect of all that is English. My husband and I have been visiting England nearly every year since 1997 with particular interest in The Lake District as I, too, am a Beatrix Potter lover and member of the BPS. You have caught the very essence of the area. We have also visited many of the areas you touched upon in the book, plus some that we have not seen. Those will definitely be on our 2014 visit. We will be taking our 5th Transatlantic voyage on the QM2 since 2008 next month (10/13). It is a beautiful ship and provides many relaxing opportunities as well as interesting lectures and shows. Kudos to you for writing and illustrating a book that I will read over and over again,

  9. Janis says:

    I have all your lovely and inspiring books but it’s nice to have these links all in one place too! Thanks Susan! For always thinking of everything! <3

  10. Carmen says:

    Good Morning Susan,
    My husband and I traveled to California. We got to visit with your new neighbor. So much fun!

  11. Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

    I took Fresh Corn Salad from page 73 of your Summer book to a recent family reunion picnic — everyone loved it! And in an effort to use up the last of the summer fruit still on the market, I made the Peach Salad from page 87, but I substituted a mango for one of the peaches. Had it along with a bagel for breakfast this morning — DELISH!!! Thanks for all the terrific recipes and kitchen inspiration, Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      My pleasure, so glad to hear about it. Isn’t food talk the best? I almost want off the road just so we can get back to the food, the house, the seasons and the decorating! Not to mention, the kitties!!! But this is fun too, and that time will come, when we hunker down for winter.

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