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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Hazelnut-Apple Power Bars

For months now we’ve been talking about making the trip to Ottawa to skate the length of the Rideau Canal.

It’s the world’s largest rink, if you didn’t know, with views of our parliament in the distance, and hot chocolate stations scattered along the winding canal. One can skate for hours without stopping, although you may be tempted to slow down for a poutine or beavertail break. It’s a Canadian thing.

Back in early January we settled on a weekend to go, booking accommodations with family and clearing our schedules. As a family, we tend to cultivate contentment in the little things, giving ourselves over to an occasion be it a mere afternoon skate or sled, so there was much anticipation around the event. [Read more…]

How to make croutons from leftover stuffing

So you’ve probably heard of making stuffing or dressing out of croutons – but have you considered the reverse?

Why not turn leftover cubes of herb-scented stuffing into crispy croutons for topping soups and salads? I’m here to introduce you to this recent revelation I had in the kitchen, in hopes that you’ll put your leftover stuffing to good use this week – or after Christmas dinner.

Trust me, these buttery sage stuffing croutons are the ideal topping to your turkey noodle soup. I mean, what could be a better flavour pairing?

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Honey-Drizzled Raspberry Brie Brûlée

The first time I met our elderly neighbour, Oskar, he was leaning on his shovel on the edge of his sprawling corner plot of land.

I can’t remember who nodded hello first, but we hit it off at once in a discussion about his garden. It was a beautiful, well-maintained plot, surrounded by a low rock wall, which my three children scrambled up in mere moments. He didn’t bat an eye at their antics, as they skipped up and down the ledge, probably because his children used to do the very same thing.

Over the years, and many visits across the rock wall, I came to learn that Oskar was a true homesteader. His wife had passed away shortly after delivering his sixth child, and Oskar raised the family himself. He had an impressive garden – the raspberry patch itself could supply his large family with berries galore. But alas, they had all grown up and moved away, save for one.

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