Cucumber Salad

cucumber-salad-2

Cucumber Salad – for pdf version click here cucumber-salad

When the cucumbers are fresh and plentiful I love to make this delicious salad. It is particularly nice with the smaller cucumbers from your garden or the farmers market. I use my mandoline to slice them thinly but I it is easy enough to slice by hand also. Kat mentioned you could use a potato peeler for paper thin slices but I prefer them a bit thicker.

You can definitely adjust the extras in this salad to your taste. I love dill so I almost always add a little fresh or frozen dill weed if I have it but if you do not like dill leave it out. We also love onions so always use red onion but it you are not so keen just use green onion or chives.

Kat’s Cucumber Salad

2 – 3     small cucumbers, peeled and sliced as thinly as possible, about 2 cups

2          Tbsp thinly sliced red onion (optional)

salt as needed

1/3       cup sour cream

1          Tbsp mayonnaise or whipped salad dressing

1          Tbsp white wine vinegar

1/4       tsp salt

3/4       tsp white sugar

1 – 2     Tbsp chives, chopped or green onion

1          Tbsp fresh dill weed (optional)

Freshly ground black pepper

  • Peel and slice cucumber and onion as thinly as you can or to your taste.
  • You may use a slicer or even a potato peeler but it is easy enough to do them by hand.
  • Sprinkle liberally with salt and let sit for at least 20 minutes.
  • Strain off liquid and discard. I let them sit in a strainer over a bowl for about an hour. Squeeze excess water out before dressing.
  • For dressing mix sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, sugar, chives and dill.
  • Pour over drained cucumbers and onion.
  • Top with pepper and adjust seasoning to taste.

Serves 4

Roasted Cherry Tomato and Sausage Pasta

Roasted Tomato - Copy.JPG

 

Roasted Tomato and Sausage Pasta

I love the little orange Sun Sugar cherry tomatoes from William Dam Seeds www.damseeds.ca but in a good year they produce more tomatoes than we can use or give away since we have given all our friends and families their own plants to grow in the summer. They add a delicious taste and sweetness to tomato juice but sometimes I am not ready to make a pot of sauce so this pasta uses the excess and answers the question “what’s for dinner” in a very satisfactory way! It is adapted from Michael Smith’s “Cherry Tomato Penne” with a little more bounty from the garden added.

Roasted Tomato Sausage Pasta Sauce – For pdf version click here cherry-tomato-pasta

Nick recommended I try Michael Smith’s Roasted Cherry Tomato Penne and I was glad he did. I could not believe how simple and delicious this pasta dish was and it used a commodity that is difficult to preserve if you have an over abundance from the garden. Because I love roasted peppers and they are available at the same time as the tomatoes I included them with the sauce. I added the egg plant just to use them up one time and found they added a depth and creaminess to the dish that made it even better. This quick summer pasta dish has become a staple in our house.

1              Tbsp olive oil

8              cups cherry tomatoes, I use a mixture of red, orange and any chopped larger                              tomatoes if needed

1              red or coloured sweet pepper, coarsely chopped

1              small to medium egg plant, peeled and cubed (optional)

1              large onion, coarsely chopped

4              cloves garlic

6              garlic sausage (500 g) or sausage of choice – It’s fine to use up smoked sausage

salt and pepper generously sprinkled over all

8 -12       ounces  Gluten-free pasta shells or penne, I use an 8 oz box

1              large handful of fresh basil, about 4 stems, remove leaves and chiffonade

Grated Parmesan cheese as desired

  • Place olive oil, tomatoes, pepper, egg plant (optional), onion and garlic in a large roasting pan so vegetables are essentially in a single layer and roast at 400 °F for 30 minutes. I actually use 2 lasagna pans to spread them out and combine them after they are cooked.
  • Cut sausage into 1/2 inch pieces and add to roasted vegetables and continue roasting until sausage is browned, about 30 – 40 more minutes..
  • Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions when sausage is almost done.
  • To chiffonade basil leaves pile leaves together and roll. Cut through all leaves at once in narrow strips..
  • Toss basil in with roasted tomato mixture when pasta is done and top with grated cheese if desired.

I have roasted all the vegetables with the sausage for the sauce and frozen it to use in the winter and was really glad to have it for a quick meal.

Serves 6 – 8

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Brandied Peaches

Don’t miss the opportunity to try this super simple, yet elegant dessert! So easy to do for one or two or a crowd! Just cut one peach for every person and adjust the sugar, butter and brandy quantities accordingly. You will still be thinking about how delicious they were the next day!

Brandied Peaches

  • 2 peaches, peeled and sliced*
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp brandy (I think you could use 1/2 tsp vanilla if you do not have brandy)

Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat and add sliced peaches and cook for several minutes until warm.

Add brown sugar and continue cooking until most of the liquid is evaporated and sugar syrup is thick.

Remove from heat, stir in brandy and serve over vanilla ice cream. ENJOY! There are not many things I do not think are improved by a dollop of whipped cream but this stands alone and the only reason I would top with cream would be for appearance or to use some leftover.

*fresh are delightful but do not be afraid to try frozen or canned in the off season!

Maple Creme Brulée

Maple Creme Brulee

If you like custard you will love this Canadian treat.

I adapted this recipe from the Bistro Champlain’s recipe published in Flavours of Canada as a way to use the 8 egg yolks left from making meringues or Dede Wilson’s Essential Buttercream for a special occasion.

If you do not have leftover yolks you can always freeze the egg whites in quantities you will use. I often substitute an egg white for water when adapting a recipe using gluten-free flour because they give structure to your baked goods. Label it with the number of whites and the date you froze it. If you do not think you will use them individually save them all together and plan to make pavlova for a midwinter treat!

Maple Creme Brulée

1/2 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
8 egg yolks
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup maple sugar or brown sugar

  • If you are using a real vanilla bean place it with the milk and cream before you scald it then let it sit until you have prepared the remaining ingredients. Remove it, cut it open and scrape the seeds into the milk before you whisk it into the egg mixture.
  • Whisk egg yolks, maple syrup and vanilla extract (if you are using it in place of the vanilla bean) in a bowl until evenly mixed.
  • Slowly whisk in hot milk mixture and pour evenly into 8 prepared custard cups.
  • Place filled cups into an oven proof baking pan and pour boiling water half way up the sides and bake at 300°F about 40 – 45 minutes until the custard is set but still creamy.
  • Remove from water bath and cool completely.
    Refrigerate until an hour before serving.
  • Blot top of custard with a paper towel if it is wet then sprinkle sugar evenly on the top
  • Broil carefully or heat with a blowtorch until sugar is melted and darkly coloured.
  • Serve with sweetened whipped cream, fresh berries and a mint leaf if you like.

Serves 8

Watermelon Gazpacho

Here is a wonderful way to enjoy the sweet, local watermelon at the markets now. Cut a a piece to save for slicing and use the rest in this delicious soup that will keep for several days in the refrigerator. A lovely change from sandwiches for lunch and packed with fresh vitamins and goodness.

Watermelon Gazpacho click here for pdf version

Nick brought this delicious summer soup to Sherborne Lake and it was an instant hit with our family. So refreshing on a hot summer day served as an appetizer as suggested in the LCBO Food and Drink magazine (summer 2013) where it originated or as the main dish at lunch.

8 cups seedless watermelon, cubed (about 5 lb)
1 Tbsp wine or sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce or 1 tsp Sriracha to taste
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
1 cup red onion, diced
1 cup sweet pepper, diced, any colour
Garnish (optional):
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp lime rind, finely grated
AND/OR fresh basil or mint or chives, chopped

• Reserve 2 cups of watermelon and dice into 1/2 inch pieces.
• Puree 6 cups of the watermelon in a food processor or blender
• Add vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, hot pepper sauce and salt and pulse several times to mix.
• Transfer to a bowl and stir in reserved watermelon, cucumber, onion and sweet pepper.
• Taste and adjust seasoning then chill.
• You may serve the soup just as it is or with some fresh chopped basil or mint and but it is especially good if you make the garnish and top it with a spoonful before serving.
• Prepare garnish by mixing yogurt, lime jiuce and rind and spoon on top as desired! Finish with a sprinkling of fresh mint, basil or chives or a combination of any.
• Makes 8 servings

Shrimp Risotto

Shrimp Risotto

Last night when the mercury soared above 30 for the third day in a row I did not really feel like eating and had used a lot of my BBQ favourites since we were on holidays without hydro for the preceding week. I wanted something to make without turning on the oven or BBQ and risotto came to mind. You only had to eat a little and the leftovers would be a great lunch if your appetite did not return but … with the vegetable preparation and testing the chilled apple wine for the risotto we were ready to enjoy our dinner by the time it was ready!

Cliff picked the last of the peas out of the garden, overgrown multiplier onions took the place of leeks and fresh parsley and garlic scapes brought the garden to the table.

Shrimp Risotto click here for pdf version of recipe

I like to make risotto when you only have 45 minutes to get supper on the table and you haven’t thought of anything yet. I always keep chicken stock frozen in 2 cup containers and I like to have a package of frozen shrimp to use for meals like this. If I do not have mushrooms I do not worry, I try to find something else. The more vegetables you add the better.

2 cups chicken stock, homemade or low sodium
2 Tbsp butter or chicken fat
8 – 10 mushrooms, sliced
1 medium – large onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup leeks, chopped, white and light green parts (optional)
1/4 cup pepperette, thinly sliced (optional)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 carrot, sliced thinly
3/4 cup rice, Arborio or Italian short-grain
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup white wine
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
10 – 12 large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
1/4 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Heat chicken stock and keep warm.
Cook mushrooms in 1 Tbsp butter until browned then set aside.
Cook onion and leeks in same pan with remaining butter or chicken fat until soft.
Add pepperette and garlic and continue cooking another minute.
Add carrot and rice and cook several minutes before beginning to add the chicken stock.
Add warm chicken stock one ladle full at a time stirring to deglaze the pan then continue stirring and cooking uncovered adding liquid as it is absorbed.
I usually pour my wine and water in with the stock so you just keep adding from one
pot as needed.
Add red pepper and peas with last addition of liquid.
Put shrimp on top of risotto after final addition of stock and cover to steam shrimp.
Check after 5 minutes to see if they are nicely pink and ready to eat.
Stir in Romano cheese just before serving.
Serves 3 Anne’s Favourites
Variation: Vegetarian Risotto

Omit Shrimp and Pepperette and substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.

Butter Tarts and Blossoms

Butter Tarts GF

Once a year I make tarts for the Horticultural Society Soup and Sandwich lunch and make enough extra for Cliff’s Plumbing and home. This year it worked out particularly well because I thought I need to update the butter tart photo on my blog to a gluten-free version and this gave me the opportunity. I recall counting butter tarts as one of the blessings that was naturally gluten-free when I first began my diet. I do not indulge often but it is good to know I can still add them to a special picnic or camping trip when I want to and they are just as decadently delicious as always!

At first I made the “gluten-free” pastry but now I just make my regular pastry with gluten-free all purpose flour and by using plastic wrap to roll it I am able to manage quite nicely. Thanks to Jenn Croft in Owen Sound for the idea to do that! If you do not have your own favourite pastry recipe you may try this one. GF Pastry – Click for pdf copy of recipe

Butter Tarts – Click here for pdf version of recipe

GF Pastry for 30 tart shells
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted butter*
1/2 cup corn syrup
3 – 4 eggs, depending on their size, I usually use 4
raisins, walnuts or coconut to taste

  • Mix brown sugar, salt, melted butter and corn syrup.
  • Whisk eggs then stir into brown sugar mixture being careful not to beat. If you get too much air in the mixture some of the tarts may seem hollow when baked. 
  • Place raisins, nuts, coconut or a mixture of these in the tart shells then cover with butter tart filling to 3/4 full with a 7/8 oz scoop if you have one.
  • Bake at 400°F for the first 10 minutes then reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking 
  • for another 15 – 20 minutes or until filling is set. 
  • If you like your tarts runny you may take them out a little early or reduce the number of eggs to 3.
  • Makes 27 – 30 large tarts

*I would not substitute margarine here.
Anne’s Favourites