All posts filed under: Summer

Strawberry Hibiscus Iced Tea

This refreshing Strawberry Hibiscus Iced Tea has arrived just in time to quench your thirst this Canada Day long weekend! Canada Day is the first long weekend of summer. Some Canadians love to get outdoors and head out for camping or cottage trips, others do local day trips (which I will be partaking in), and others just enjoy chilling out with friends and family and having a big cookout (which I will ALSO be partaking in). Typically, BBQ food is the classic fare since it is finally warm enough to be outside in most parts of Canada…and when it’s warm out we love to be outdoors soaking up the sun! Hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, steak, chicken are classic main dishes that we like to serve along with side dishes like salads and veggies. To really end the meal with a bang, a sweet Canadian dessert like Nanaimo bars, Strawberry Shortcake, S’mores or Maple Pie are typically served. Don’t you wish you were Canadian right about now?!  While lots of people put a lot of effort …

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

When you see fresh red bell peppers go on sale at the market or grocery store, it’s a sign from the Food Gods that you need to make this delicious Roasted Red Pepper Soup. Typically, red bell peppers are the most expensive out of all the varieties of bell peppers. That’s because they are simply the best! They’re sweet, crunchy and refreshing and continue to be a crowd favourite time and time again. Fresh vine tomatoes from Windset Farms, BC-grown red bell peppers from The Root Cellar and basil from my balcony all go into this fabulous summer soup! While people may think that red bell peppers are completely different than green bell peppers, brace yourselves because I’m about to blow your mind: red bell peppers are really green bell peppers that have been fully ripened on the vine before they are harvested! Say WHATT?! Yes, it’s true! Similarly, yellow and orange bell peppers also start out as green bell peppers. Yellow bell peppers are harvested earlier on in the peppers maturity phase and orange …

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 …