Chickpea & Grilled Corn Chop Salad

It has been a very long time since I’ve sat down and posted to my blog. This has been a super busy year, and somehow in my brain I knew that autumn would come, and with it much needed “time”. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, boy I have I been cooking! Add in kitchen & bathroom renovations, a new puppy, and one of our wettest fall-winter-springs on record, followed by a full on drought with smokey skies, my energies have been elsewhere… I am so happy to have these breezy, cooler, clear days that late September has brought us.

When I’m doing an event with salads as part of the buffet, I love adding robust “chop” salads. They add texture, and colour to the mix. Because a spoonful goes along way, they fit onto a plate with other foods very easily.

This salad has a little heat, and lots of texture, which is so nice with a burger or chicken dinner. It also serves well as a vegetarian main course salad for those who aren’t going for the meat from the grill. Continue reading

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

IMG_2535As we near the end of August, and berries are still in full supply, I thought I’d finally post my often-used recipe for Blueberry Breakfast Cake, ready for your Labour Day summer wrap up events. Make now and freeze, it can thaw on your way camping, or overnight ready for the last guests of summer. Of course, you can just make it and eat it, like we most often do.

Sometime a few decades ago I started making Bundt cakes. I never really understood the appeal until this cake. It started with making a simple lemon blueberry cake with a streusel mix going in the pan first, so when it was removed from the pan there would be a crispy topping built in. But never being one to leave good enough alone, I thought the streusel could simply go in the middle, making the cake come clean from the pan, not leaving chunks of streusel littering the counter. Having it in the middle gives the cake a wonderfully buttery crunch in the center of each slice.

I can honestly say that I’ve made hundreds of these cakes. Over the years it became my most asked for item in mixed baking for breakfasts & brunches. It’s perfect for adding to lunches for work or school, so timely that I should think to post this today, as there are only a couple of weeks left until school starts. Continue reading

Nectarine Bourbon Dessert Sauce

IMG_0357Slicing up a few pieces of summer fruit, dashing in some rich bourbon and a bit of sugar makes an amazing summer fruit sauce. Delicious with any dessert you want a bit of sauce with, a simple vanilla ice cream, or perhaps a delicate panna cotta, or a decadent slice of cheesecake. Continue reading

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