Harvest Dinner in the garden || Simple Bites

Sage-Scented Barbecued Chicken with Grilled Lemon

Enjoying an abundance of fresh herbs is one of the perks of fall gardening. The green beans have finished and the tomatoes are tapering off, but most of the herbs seem to thrive until the snow falls.

When I dedicated one of my raised garden beds completely to herbs this spring, I didn’t realize how they would take off and how much the plants would actually produce. I really need to share a recent photo, because everything ended up about two-and-a-half feet tall.

The basil flourished and provided more than enough for my winter pesto stash and the lemon balm was always in ample supply for infusing lemonade. As for the sage, it grew into a knee-high bush and provided more than I knew what to do with in the kitchen. So I naturally started experimenting with recipes.

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Grilled Green Onion & Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Chèvre | Simple Bites

Grilled Green Onion & Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Chèvre

If you haven’t hit your grilling stride yet this summer, today’s recipe will be the incentive you need to fire up the coals.

Let’s see, I’ve prepare it two…three…four times already and each time I delight in the smoky sweet potato, charred green onions and the tangy goat cheese that finishes off the dish. A hint of maple syrup in the mustard dressing brings balance to the salad and a few zesty grilled garlic scapes add a touch of excitement.

Every summer I tend to get stuck on a particular grilled salad – last year it was with strawberries and asparagus, before that it was green beans and cherry tomatoes. This grilled green onion & sweet potato salad with warm chèvre is definitely my 2016 summer salad obsession.

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al fresco tablescape  | grilling

Get Grilling. Get Gathering.

In case you hadn’t heard, it’s officially grilling season and time to kick off a few months of outdoor entertaining.

Loyal readers will already know that I love dishing up an al fresco feast, be it a taco bar, a canoe buffet or a pie social. There are no limitations when you set a table outdoors; you can always add a few more chairs (as I do for my harvest dinners) and create a generous centerpiece -or three- out of wildflowers.

We recently gathered around the barbecue on my sister’s back deck and watched her and hubby Mike grill spiced kofta, colourful vegetable kebabs and soft pita bread. Grilling is such a spectator sport, isn’t it? The glowing coals are memerizing, the scents are enticing and there’s always action on the grill; of course people congregate here.

Naturally, the food was excellent, and I so enjoyed this deviation from the standard burgers and buns fare (although we love those too!) that I vowed to recreate the whole menu again for a future gathering of my own. And then I thought that if I appreciated the inspiration,  you might too.

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Easy Maple Mustard Chicken Drumsticks with Roasted Radishes & Asparagus :: Simple Bites

Easy Maple Mustard Chicken Drumsticks with Roasted Radishes & Asparagus

If you make it past the little family table anecdote I am about to recount, then you will find a simple dinner recipe that needs to go on your week’s menu plan.

It’s inspired by maple season, of course, but combines classic French flavours – lemon, garlic, mustard and tarragon – into a sticky glaze for pan-roasted chicken drumsticks. Spring vegetables roast alongside the chicken and are tossed in the pan juices just before serving.

We’ve been loving it with roasted radishes, potatoes, asparagus and sweet potatoes; basically, whatever we can get our hands on this time of year.

On a side note, I had forgotten how much I enjoy chicken with tarragon and now I must remake an old favourite for entertaining, Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. The roasted garlic perfumes the whole house and marries with cream and tarragon for a sauce that garners your guests’ full attention.

But back to my story, and then the recipe. Read on!

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Eat Seasonal: Easy Roasted Vegetable Spaghetti || Simple Bites #recipe #dinner #vegetarian

Eat Seasonal: Easy Roasted Vegetable Spaghetti

I want to talk about tomatoes and corn, eggplant and zucchini, and all the other beautiful produce that is so abundant right now, but first, I must say thank you all for your kind responses to my last post.

You commented, emailed and left messages on social media; I read every one and was much encouraged. It really helped to hear from so many people that the emotional toll if an car accident is just as severe as the physical one. As it turned out, after a week of exhaustion, sensitivity to noise, and bad headaches, the conclusion is that I did suffer a mild concussion. Rest is needed, as is time away from screens, so this post will be short.

Fortunately I developed and photographed this simple summer pasta the day before the accident, and I’m so excited to share it. If your kitchen is anything like mine, there’s a pile of vegetables begging to be roasted and tossed with pasta, herbs and olive oil tonight[Read more…]