Preserving Summer: Freezing Broccoli 101

As selective eaters as my sons are, there is one mighty green giant that they gobble up without hesitation and then ask for more.


I know, it’s usually the one vegetable that is scorned, shunned, or pureed into sauces to bypass careful inspection of little diners, but my kids both love it. And so, I don’t question their fondness, I just serve it, and then serve it again.

Now that broccoli is in season, and those tight, firm heads are $0.99 each at the market, I’m buying them by the basketful and freezing them for winter. Simple steamed broccoli served with a pat of butter is the boys’ preferred way to enjoy broccoli (no roasting for them, please) and the frozen florets reconstitute quite nicely in boiling water.

It’s impossible to pass up this opportunity to stock up on one of our favorite mid-summer vegetables. Here’s how I do it. [Read more…]

Weekend Reading (abridged)

Happy August!

We just returned from a wonderful mini-vacation on the Maine coast where we camped on the beach, feasted on lobster and played in the ocean until sundown. I took a break from my online work and play, and thus my Google Reader got rather out of control and hit four digits! So, this weekend reading edition will be brief, as I haven’t yet caught up  with my blog and favorite sites.

However, I did want to take this opportunity to point you in the direction of an online tour of my kitchen… [Read more…]

Grilled Portabello & Radicchio Bruschetta with Chevre

When it comes to grilling, I will willingly admit I am not the queen of the barbecue.

Perhaps it’s because I never made it all the way down the line to the grill when I worked in professional kitchens. I always got hung up on the fish station, just past the hot entrees. Roasted lobster tails, delicate quail breasts and juicy raw scallops all fell under my knife, but I never got to hear the sizzle of the grill as it marked slab after slab of red meat.

Then we lived in a downtown apartment for several years. There’s not much room on a tiny Plateau balcony for a barbecue, especially with all the herbs I grew. Again, no grill experience for this girl.

Eventually I found myself in semi-suburbia, with two kids, my trusty tongs from the old restaurant days, and –uh oh!– a grill.

Now, thanks to inspiration from the kind folks at Sobeys, who sent me a grocery gift card and practically propelled me in the direction my barbecue, I’m bringing you a couple of grilling recipes that I feel confident about.

First up is this bruschetta, my interpretation of a Sobeys recipe for a warm grilled radicchio salad. I can definitely stand behind this bruschetta, with it’s warm chevre, silky portabello mushrooms, and chewy bread.

Perfect for a warm summer night, all it needs is a glass of red wine to keep it company.

Grilled Portabello & Radicchio Bruschetta with Chevre

Don’t be nervous about the bitterness of radicchio. The grilling brings out this green’s sweeter side, and the balsamic vinaigrette add the perfect balance.

Serves 4 as a light lunch

  • 1 pkg (350g) Compliments Organic Portabello mushrooms*
  • 1 medium head radicchio, sliced into 8 wedges
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Sensations by Complements Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena*
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted (or 1 T. capers)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 Complements French-Style loaf, cut diagonally into 1-inch slices*
  • butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup chevre or soft cheese of your choosing

Brush mushrooms and radicchio lightly in olive oil and grill over medium heat until mushroom are soft and radicchio is wilted. Remove from grill and roughly chop.

Transport to a bowl and add the olive oil, balsamic, olives and parsley. Toss together and season with salt and pepper.

Butter bread lightly and grill until slightly charred. Transfer to a pizza pan or heatproof serving platter.

Lower the heat on the grill.

Mound radicchio & portabello mixture on top of grilled bread and dot with chevre.

Place pan with bruschettas back on the grill and lower the lid of the barbeque. Turn off grill and allow the cheese to soften and the entire bruschetta to warm.

Pour wine, serve bruschetta and enjoy!

*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.

Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes: A Simple Summer Appetizer

Summer entertaining lends itself so well to simplicity: fresh produce abounds, needing little to no adornment, and the most a host should need to do is wash the produce well and serve. Since everything is so fresh and tasty so why complicate things?

One of my favorite summer snacking foods are cherry tomatoes. Fresh from the vine, bursting with warm juices, and available in an assortment of bright colors, they are nature’s Jujubes, in my opinion.

Sure you can put out a bowl of cherry tomatoes for all-day snacking, but here’s a suggestion for something slightly more sophisticated, yet still very simple: a slow-roasted cherry tomato.

Also known as oven-roasted tomatoes, these are dynamic, flavor-packed little morsels. For a easy appetizer, I like to serve a bowl of them alongside a wedge of soft cheese and a plate of crackers. Guests can create their own canapés that are easy, delicious and, best of all, seasonal! [Read more…]

Wordless Wednesday: A Lobster Tale