All posts filed under: Summer

What’s In Season: Early Summer

Summertime is officially here and that means lots of new, bright, and fresh fruits and veggies will be making their appearance in our gardens and shopping carts once again. Early summer is marked by berry season here in British Columbia. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and Saskatoon berries have been bursting out of the ground (or are just on the cusp) and are as juicy and flavourful as ever! Plus, they taste WAY better than imported varieties from the USA or South America. In term of veggies, zucchini, cucumbers, peas, and rhubarb are all in season right now and are plump and fresh! We are currently still waiting on stone fruits like peaches, cherries, plums and apricots to come into season, which is typically in mid- to late July. Additionally, melon, grapes, squash and corn are well on their way! Check back next month for my guide to stone fruits- but for now, read on below to find out how to cook, store and buy the fruits and veggies that are available now! Strawberries: Strawberries are a …

What’s In Season: A Guide to Steak

There’s nothing like chilling outside in the sun with an iced drink, listening to some funky music, and grilling up a fantastic meal. Luckily, as temperatures rise and the days get longer, we inch closer and closer to these days that I live for. I really enjoy this slow-paced, relaxed and somewhat primal form of cooking as it’s quite different from my every day kitchen-bound cooking. You get to hear different sounds, smell different mouth-watering smells, and feel different textures and sensations. Plus, barbequing is relatively effortless. All you really need is some good, high-quality ingredients to start out with and the grill will take care of all that intense flavour building. To kick off the start of barbeque season, I thought I would provide a thorough overview of how to make the most popular barbeque food: steak. There are so many ways to cook a steak, but in my opinion, grilling the steak is your best bet at getting that delicious, juicy, beefy steak flavour. But before we get into the cooking methodology, it’s …

Strawberry-Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Strawberries have just come back into season and that can only mean one thing: summer is on the way! I am so excited to start making (and experimenting with) some new summer recipes for you all! As the days have been warming up, I have been preparing for the shift in seasons by checking out local markets and doing some online research to see what is or will be coming into season in the next month or so as we roll into summer. Fresh peas, spinach, turnips, and garlic are all early signs of summer, however, I always know that when you start to see local strawberries at market that times are changing. Now, there are about a million and a half ways to eat strawberries, but this Strawberry-Rhubarb Coffee Cake has to be one of the best. The combination of strawberry and rhubarb is a total classic as the sweet strawberries merry extraordinarily well with the tart and tangy rhubarb. When they are cooked together, they become juicy and jam like- and who wouldn’t want …

Toum ~ Creamy Garlic Sauce

You may not have known the proper name for this tasty sauce before reading this blog post, but I can guarantee that you have had this before if you eat a lot of Lebanese or Middle Eastern foods like shawarma or falafel. Toum is a traditional creamy (and dreamy) Lebanese garlic sauce that is often added to grilled meats or is served as a dip. In Lebanese, “toum” or “toom” translates directly to mean “garlic”. This sauce is aptly named as there is LOTS of garlic in this recipe- 30 cloves! Yeah, you read that right- 30 cloves of raw, fresh, mouth-tingling, gut-friendly garlic. Luckily, the garlic flavour is complimented by lots of clean tasting canola oil, tart lemon juice and some salt and mellows out the longer it sits in the fridge. This sauce has the same consistency as a homemade mayonnaise or aioli and is made in the exact same process of emulsifying the ingredients together very slowly to form a thick, stable, and creamy sauce. Now it took me a few tries …

BC Spot Prawns with Bagna Cauda Butter

It’s that time of year again, people! Spot Prawns are back in season and they are more sweet, succulent and juicy than I remembered <3 Spot prawn season typically begins in early May and lasts for about six to eight weeks. Spot prawns are delicious, sweet prawns that are orange in colour and have little white spots on their bodies, mainly around their heads and tails. They are harvested just off the coast of BC during the prawning season using baited traps and are the largest variety of prawns that are harvested in BC. The cold, nutrient rich waters of the BC coast make these prawns sweet, succulent and very clean in taste compared to the typical frozen Tiger Shrimp variety. The meat is very tender and juicy, and has the texture of both a lobster tail and a shrimp combined. Sounds amazing right?! A squeeze of lemon brings out all the fresh flavours in these BC Spot Prawns! Since the season is so short, I love to eat as much spot prawns as I …

Pesto Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Basil + tomatoes = the best summer combination. Even though summer is winding down, you can still celebrate these two delicious summer foods for just a while longer. For the next few weeks, the basil will still be abundant and delicious and the tomatoes will be juicy and flavourful. By the end of September, these will all be gone until next summer. Thank goodness we are able to preserve these flavours well into the winter by making some pantry staples like tomato sauce, oven-fried tomatoes, and basil pesto. On this last long weekend of summer, I really want to sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the basil and tomatoes I have on hand (and maybe a drink or two :P). And what better way to do this by making my Pesto Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes! I picked up some fresh, local basil and cherry tomatoes (along with some other goodies) at the Burnaby Farmers Market today specifically for this recipe.  I love the rainbow cherry tomatoes for this recipe because they are super sweet …

Couscous Salad with Grilled Halloumi

With fall being just around the corner, our outdoor BBQ and grilling days are numbered. I know when December and January rolls around, I am really going to be missing hanging out on the patio and eating grilled chicken, burgers and grilled veggies. So in these last few weeks of prime BBQ and grilling season, indulge in your favourite grilled foods and mix it up with this recipe for Couscous Salad with Grilled Halloumi. Halloumi is a very firm cheese that originated on the island of Cyprus. It is typically made with a combo of sheep and goat milk (or even cow milk), salt and dried mint. Once made, the cheese sits in brine and gets super flavourful and firm. Now when I say that it is a firm cheese, I mean it. This cheese is so firm that you can grill it, pan fry it, do whatever you want to it over a heat source and it will not melt. It’s kind of magical actually. When it is cooked, it becomes soft and creamy. …

Basil Gnocchi with Peas and Pancetta

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope everyone is having a nice weekend and I hope the Sunday Scaries (i.e. fear of going back to work or school tomorrow) haven’t set in yet! To soothe your pain, or to seamlessly transition you from the weekend to Monday, do I ever have a meal for you: Basil Gnocchi with Peas and Pancetta. It’s like summer heaven on a plate! Whenever I think of summer herbs, I always think of basil. It’s large green lemony/liquorice leaves grow abundantly in the summer and has a fresh clean and light taste that everyone loves. It goes great with chicken, tossed right into raw salads, and of course pasta (the Italians know what’s up). I decided to give my original recipe for Homemade Gnocchi a great summer spin by adding basil to it. I simply puréed the basil in a food processor with a little bit of olive oil and salt and added the paste to my gnocchi dough. The tedious but fun process of making Gnocchi in three steps: 1) roll …

Savoury Cheese and Spinach Pastries

Peanut butter and jelly. Salmon and dill. Peas and mint. These are all ingredients that go perfectly together. Adding to this list of perfect food pairing is of course, spinach and cheese. Used in a variety of dishes, spinach and cheese compliment each other perfectly no matter what dish they are in together. I combine these two ingredients (with a few extra complementary ones) in this recipe for Savoury Cheese and Spinach Pastries. I am not just using any old cheese for this recipe. No, sir! This recipe makes use of a special, artisinal ingredient: quark cheese. Haven’t heard of quark cheese before? I don’t blame you. It is definitely not an everyday ingredient in North America. But in Germany, Austria and other parts of eastern Europe, they use this almost as much as North Americans use cream cheese. Once you taste it you will know why. This soft, smooth, unripened cheese tastes like a cross between Greek yogurt and cream cheese. It does not have a strong pronounced flavour, rather it has a light …

Grilled Vegetables

You may think of firing up the grill for grilling up some ribs, hamburgers, or chicken this summer, but while you’re at it, why not make a side of these healthy Grilled Vegetables?! These RAINBOW grilled veggies are just perfect for Pride weekend here in Vancouver! I love the flavour that the grill gives to the vegetables- that smoky, charred taste is irresistible. And the way the veggies get all soft and juicy…ugh don’t get me started! In order to get perfectly grilled vegetables, there are a few tips that you should know when handling the grill. Tip 1 is to cook the vegetables on high heat. This sears the outside of the vegetables and gives an nice char. Tip 2 goes hand-in-hand with the former, do not move the vegetables around too much when you are grilling them. Once you place the vegetable on the grill, don’t touch it. Let it sit, sear and char up- that’s also how you get those prominent char marks! Vegetables such as bell peppers and mushrooms take 2-3 …