Watermelon Caprese

IMG_0455Caprese salad is known for its display of the Italian flag’s colours, with its red tomatoes, green basil & fresh mozzarella. It’s is one of my all time favourite salads when the summer creates amazing tomatoes. We’ve been enjoying it over the last couple of summers using a buffalo Burrata instead of fresh Mozzarella.

This summer I started playing with the idea of switching out the mozzarella with another vegetable or fruit. Using thinly sliced watermelon in place of the white cheese, makes a delectable, fresh & summery salad. When a bit of Burrata is scattered over the top, it becomes a great summer version of Caprese. I use yellow or orange beefsteak type tomatoes, with dense interiors that have lots of flesh (mesocarp) with many small seed pockets. These contrast beautifully with the pink watermelon, reminding me of summer sunsets. Continue reading

Summer Bean Salad

IMG_0410We recently held our island’s annual fundraising event. Starting sometime in the early spring, I designed a menu that would happily feed most. Any one dish could be omitted, and the rest would still be a great meal. This was the easiest and most economical way to feed over 130 people regardless of most food allergies or concerns. As well, we have very limited cold storage, and as this was being held in early August, that was a key concern for the amount of food we’d be preparing. What I came up with was a menu that included five different salads, all to be served family style to tables of eight. Each was made of components that could be mixed just before service. As well as the salads, we served small appetizer plates, BBQ chicken with fresh peach salsa, fresh rolls, and Peach-Blueberry Crisp with ice cream.   It was a great meal, with a lovely mix of textures, colours and flavours. I have promised to post the recipes, so here’s the first of five. Continue reading

Farmhouse Coleslaw

IMG_5055Our summer started weeks ago; usually we have a sunny month of May, followed by a very unsettled month of June, weather-wise. But so far this June, we’ve only had sunny skies, and not a drop of rain. As a farmer, I want some rain. The perfect pattern for me is sunny warm days, cool nights, and a good rain every 10 days or so. But I don’t control the weather; no matter how many dances I do, nature comes as nature does.

These last weeks, we’ve been gathering on the front porch for a late supper, overlooking a field with three very happy, pretty horses in it, waiting to see a doe with her twin fawns.

Dinners seem to be directly related to how hard we’ve been working each day. A quick, filling meal for long, tiring days, and more inventive, complex meals when we’ve had more time to consider what’s going to be on the table. Coleslaw is a quick, filling side dish, that’s easy to prepare, and goes well with hamburgers, grilled meats, pulled pork, and other summer favourites. Continue reading

Roasted Pear Salad with Pumpkin Seeds & Chèvre

IMG_8956A robust winter salad can break the monotony of root vegetables and mash. This roasted pear over crisp greens salad with a sprinkling of seeds makes a lovely starter. We recently served this salad to a group of sixty, and it was so simple to do for a large group, but its taste and presentation make it special.

It is shown here with a light Crème Fraîche dressing, but is also very good served with a Balsamic Maple Dressing. Continue reading

Shaved Asparagus & Fennel Salad with Prawns

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Earlier this week, I prepared a dinner for six that I’d offered for our island’s annual fundraiser auction.  My original intent was for a homey 3-course dinner.  As the bidding kept going, and the price topped out at $400, I felt that I could do more.  My sister and I created a 6 course plated meal instead.

As I mulled over the menu, detailing it over and over again, I reminded myself that it was the end of August, and that the meal should speak to the time of year, when the evenings are cooler, the sun is set well before bedtime, and yet we are still desperate to hold on to some of the laziness that summer offers, even if just for a few more days. We’re looking forward to the arrival of fall meals, and eating them around the dining table, inside instead of out.

The meal started with a watermelon and heritage tomato amuse bouche, followed by this salad, moving to a chilled avocado bisque, followed by a plate with sautéed late summer vegetables and grilled chicken with fresh blueberry sauce, on to a plate with roasted mushrooms, shallots, and garlic with grilled strip loin and greens beans as we moved from late summer into fall, with the last dish being crème brûlée with pistachio meringues with an miniature fruit salad of early fall fruits.

Listening to the social chat of the guests, with the drawn out bits of silence as they tuck into the meal, is one of my favourite soundtracks, so easy to work away with it playing in the background. Continue reading