summer dinner plate

Summer nights are by far my favourite time of year– especially when I get to go home to the Sunshine Coast and relax with my family. When we get together, we always seem to make an overly large meal forgetting that there are only six mouths to feed, not 60. Some nights my mom, sister and I will divvy up who will cook each course, or one of us will take totally control and cook it all. Whatever way it happens, the whole family will be hanging out in the kitchen regardless of who is cooking.

There is so much fresh produce in the summer that we try to cook the food as little as possible in order to retain as much of the natural flavour as we can. The deck at my parent’s house looks out to the ocean, and so it’s the perfect barbecue area. Grilling our salmon on the barbecue gives a beautifully smoky flavour. Paired with the slightly charred corn on the cob, the flavours create a magical taste in your mouth. These recipes are a sample of one of my family’s summer night barbecues. Add in some locally brewed beer and it made for a wonderfully well-rounded meal.

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Grilled Corn Relish

Prep time: 15 minutes

Grill: 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

– 3 tbsp lime juice

– 1 tbsp cooking oil

– 2 cloves garlic, minced

– 2 fresh ears of corn, husked and cleaned

– 1 tsp chili powder

– 1 small avocado, seeded, peeled and diced

– ½ cup chopped red bell pepper

– ¼ snipped fresh cilantro

– ¼ teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS

1. In a medium bowl combine lime juice, oil and garlic.

2. Brush corn lightly with juice mixture and sprinkle with chili powder.

3. Grill corn on the rack of an uncovered grill on medium heat for 25-30 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally.

4. Meanwhile, add avocado, bell pepper, cilantro, and salt to remaining lime juice mixture. Toss well.

5. Cut corn kernels from the cob. Stir into avocado mixture.

6. Serve.

Saffron Pilaf with Grilled Vegetables

Prep time: 20 minutes

Grill: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

– 1 cup jasmine, basmati or long grain rice

– 1 14 ½-ounce can vegetable broth

– ¼ cup water

– ⅛ tsp saffron threads or dash of ground saffron

– 2 tbsp olive oil

– ½ tsp bottled minced garlic

– 1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered

– 1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise

– 1 egg plant, sliced ½ inch thick

– 1 ounce herbed semi-soft goat cheese (chévre), crumbled

– 2 tbsp coarsely chopped hazelnuts or pecans, toasted

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large saucepan, combine rice, vegetable broth, water and saffron. Heat to boiling then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes or until rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed. Keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine oil and garlic. Brush over bell pepper, zucchini and eggplant.

3. Grill vegetables on a lightly greased rack on an uncovered grill directly over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until tender.

4. Season vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Transfer the vegetables to a cutting board. Cool slightly.

6. Cut vegetables into bite-sized pieces and stir into the cooked rice.

7. Top with goat cheese and nuts.

Grilled Salmon

INGREDIENTS

– 2 lb salmon filet

– 1 tbsp olive oil

– 1 tsp salt

– 1 tsp ground cumin

– 1 tsp paprika powder

– ½ tsp chili powder

DIRECTIONS

1. Mix the salt, chili powder, cumin, paprika, onion and black pepper together.

2. Rub the salmon fillets with olive oil and this seasoning mix.

3. Place on foil and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

4. On medium heat, place salmon on the BBQ and cook to suit your preference.

Berry meringue

Fresh Berry Meringues

Makes 1 large, or 8 small meringues

INGREDIENTS

– 3 egg whites

– 1 tsp vanilla

– ¼ tsp cream of tartar

– 1 cup sugar

– whipping cream (there will be leftovers)

– variety of sliced fresh fruit

DIRECTIONS

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

2. Draw one nine-inch circle, or eight three-inch circles on the paper and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat egg whites, vanilla, cream of tartar and a dash of salt, with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips will curl).

4. Gradually add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed for about seven minutes, or until very stiff peaks form (tips stand straight), and the sugar is almost absorbed.

5. Using a spoon or spatula, spread meringue mixture over the circle drawn on the paper/foil. Build the sides up to form a shell, about 1½-1¾ inches high.

6. Bake in a 300 over for 45 minutes for the large shell, or 35 minutes for the small shells.

7. Once done, turn off the oven. DO NOT open the oven door!

8. Let it dry in the oven with the door closed 1 hour.

9. Peel the shells from the paper and serve with whipped cream and fresh fruit.


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