Eat Seasonal: Zucchini Pizzette

Hello July!

After a scorching week, tomorrow promises to bring a break in our heat wave and I am finally thinking about baking again. The produce at the markets is so inspiring and each day I am coming home with something new to play with in the Simple Bites kitchen.

My own garden has surprised me this year, flourishing despite the lack of attention from me. The zucchini (or courgettes) are beautiful right now, with every plant producing 4-5 per week. I harvest them while they are small and add them to everything from Easy Roasted Vegetable Spaghetti to my Harvest Tortilla Soup.

Since we’ve been rocking the summer of the spritz, I’ve also been incorporating my homegrown zucchini into little pre-dinner appetizers and they are too good not to share the recipe.

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Honey-Drizzled Strawberry Ricotta Crostini

Just down the road from where we live, a family-run farm offers wagon rides and u-pick berries all summer long.

Last Saturday, Clara and I slipped away early, before the sun was too high over the strawberry fields, and picked ourselves two big baskets of the sweetest June fruits. The intense heat of this month to date has turned local berries a deep red all the way through and they are as sweet as sweet can be. Just how we like them.

Since I’ve declared this the summer of the spritz, I’ve developed this recipe to spotlight strawberries on the snack table. It’s partly savoury – toast and ricotta – and part sweet – berries and honey – and it’s a tantalizing bite you’ll want to whip up soon and serve at your next aperitivo.

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Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Asparagus

Our backyard was a busy place last weekend, with family and friends dropping by and staying to visit. It’s exactly how I love summer life to unfold, with spontaneous spritz on the patio and campfire s’mores just for kicks.

A vegetable-packed pasta salad is one of the ways I like to feed a crowd without too much effort, especially when it is sweltering outside. You can make it in advance or whip it up at the last minute; serve it on its own or with a side of grilled sausages.

It’s fast to prep, is easily customizable and enjoyed by all. Simply put, pasta salad is just smart, simple summer cooking – which is why I can’t believe I’ve never shared a recipe for it until today. Today’s recipe for Mediterranean Pasta Salad is our go-to salad during the hot months. I give my version, but also suggest plenty of ingredient variations for you to make it your own.

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The best asparagus recipes

On a weekend excursion to the market I spied the first local asparagus and brought home two fat bundles for dinner.

I added it to the grill, along with our flank steaks, and finished everything with a lemon-ramp (wild garlic) compound butter. It was an absolutely epic way to finish off the May long weekend. And now that asparagus is here, it’s going on the menu plan just about every day.

When it is harvested in its prime, asparagus doesn’t need much more than a little butter and salt; however, should you want to play around in the kitchen, this is Spring’s most versatile vegetable. From pizza to pickles, prepare to be inspired by this round-up of the best asparagus recipes from Simple Bites.

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The best serve-yourself weekday breakfast ideas

This winter was the first time I’ve had to change up our breakfast routine since the children were babies.

Up until last fall, we’d always start our weekdays together as a family, as school and work were both close enough to afford a somewhat relaxed morning. Then everything changed.

My eldest is in junior high school, so he’s the first kid up and out the door in the morning. Danny started a new job in the new year and eats breakfast bright and early. My two youngest are just waking up as their dad is leaving – one of them is famished and the other needs to wake up slowly before eating. They wander into the kitchen on their own time.

Since I’m usually busy prepping bagged lunches and checking on homework, I tend to only sit down to eat after everyone has left. Five people, five breakfast slots. At the beginning, when we were adjusting to the new schedules, I found myself preparing multiple breakfasts to accommodate everyone. Until I got smarter, that is.

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