Preserving. What are you waiting for?

If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been lately, the answer is easy: either at the market, staggering under laden produce bags and trying to corral two little monkeys, or in my kitchen, up to my armpits in fresh produce.

This month there’s been pounds and pounds of fruit and vegetables coming through the front door, languishing briefly on the counter top, and passing through various preserving methods before making their way to their final resting place, i.e, the pantry or the freezer.

If you don’t believe me, here’s proof aplenty:

Sweet Summertime Blueberry Syrup

How to Freeze Sweet Corn

Garlic-Dill Pickles (This one is still on the ‘to-do’ list)

Freezing Broccoli 101

Canning Cherries (happening today)

How to Preserve Summer’s Herbs

Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam (I added orange zest this time. Yowzas!)

My canning and preserving streak has even roused the interest of a certain local TV station…and they’re coming over to crash the party next week. Double Yowzas.

Now if you’ll excuse me, please, I’ve got a brand new cherry pitter to inaugurate.

Are you preserving anything this August? What are you waiting for?!

Picking, Drying & Freezing: How to Preserve Summer’s Herbs

Written by Shannon of Nourishing Days.

I learned to cook as a newlywed. Fresh out of college and working part-time, I spent hours in the kitchen, checked nearly every cookbook out of the library, and watched a bit too much of the Food network.

Through reading all of those cookbooks and listening to the professional chefs I learned how an herb or spice can make or break a dish. But unlike spices, herbs are fairly common at the local market and have found a large space in my backyard garden. Plus most culinary herbs have a lot of medicinal properties.

Most of us don’t live in the south of France, however, and need to preserve these herbs for winter if we’re going to pursue sustainable eating. I’m not an expert, but I have found that certain techniques can put the fresh taste of summer into an otherwise bleak January meal. [Read more…]

Grilled Peach & Haloumi Salad with Arugula

Danny and I enjoyed this salad al fresco for lunch; the fragrance of grilled peaches wafted up from our plates and we clinked our glasses in a toast to summer and the quiet of our leafy backyard.

It was great to travel to Maine last month, but there’s no place like home – especially if these salads keep coming and the sun stays out…

This is another easy summer grilling idea from Sobeys! (here was the first)

Well, they suggested the delightful combination of sweet peaches and salty haloumi, I added in the peppery arugula to round out this pretty salad. The result is a delightful trio of favors, brought together by a light, but potent, lemon and olive oil vinaigrette.

It’s a super salad, and with Ontario peaches making their way into stores and markets here in Quebec, there’s no better time to try this dish.

Grilled Peach & Haloumi Salad with Arugula

  • 1 pkg (250g) Le Bedouin Haloumi, drained, patted dry and sliced in 5-6 slices
  • 4 Compliments Peaches, washed, pitted & quartered
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Compliments honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Compliments fresh thyme
  • 100 g organic baby arugula
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat grill while you whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, honey and fresh thyme in a bowl.

2. Toss peach segments in the vinaigrette and place on grill. Grill both peaches and haloumi for about five minutes, rotating them as needed, until they show lovely grill marks and both have softened.

3. Toss arugula with remaining vinaigrette and arrange on four plates or a serving platter.

4. Arrange grilled peaches on bed of arugula and top with haloumi. Serve warm.

*Disclaimer: So, yep, the folks at Sobeys sent me a gift card and I went shopping for ingredients! Everything to make this meal was purchased at my local IGA, including the Complements products.

You can find plenty more inspiration for summer meals on their website.

How to Make Your Own Blueberry Syrup

Imagine a blueberry syrup that actually tastes like blueberries, real ripe blueberries, and not just sugar. Now imagine producing it right in your own kitchen and stashing a few bottles of it away for winter. That is what we’re going to do today!

Never mind the laundry piling up (our machine is currently out of order, so that gives me a good excuse) and the sticky floors, blueberry season is short and the berries won’t wait around. Unfortunately, the laundry will. [Read more…]

Weekend Reading

You know what? I can’t remember the last time I ate a potato – and that is a good thing.

Fresh produce is so plentiful and gorgeous right now, that the average meat-and-potatoes dinners are replaced with a pile of market fresh vegetables on the plate, with a little protein on the side. Corn cobs by the dozens, broccoli and beans, tomatoes and cucumbers, all fall under my knife as we enjoy them in their prime.

OK, so that’s not ALL we’ve been eating! We recently celebrated summer with about 25 friends and a huge banana split bar. It’s a simple summer dessert that feeds a crowd in a jiffy and is a definite crown-pleaser.

Last week we looked at preserving three ingredients that are abundant right now: broccoli, cucumbers and corn. Next week look for more preserving recipes to come your way and for a few dishes featuring more seasonal produce. Hooray for August!

For now, here are a few posts that I enjoyed on the web this week: [Read more…]