Thanksgiving Desserts

7 10 2010

 

Maple-Caramel Custards are a delicious alternative to pumpkin pie at the Thanksgiving table

 

Canadian Thanksgiving is this weekend so it’s time to start thinking about the dinner menu.  Turkey will be on most tables and I’ve given a number of suggestions for excellent side dishes (Thanksgiving Side Dishes).  However, for many people, the highlight of the holiday meal is dessert.

Pumpkin and apple pies are popular choices, however, I sometimes enjoy serving desserts that are a bit different yet still seasonally appropriate.  Pears, apples, pumpkin, nuts and cranberries are abundant at markets right now so it’s the perfect time to incorporate them into your menu.

Here are a few suggestions for a delicious finish to the Thanksgiving feast:

Pumpkin Pie with Maple-Walnut Praline – This impressive looking dessert is easy to make.  If you don’t feel like fussing with the praline, the filling makes a delicious basic pumpkin pie.

Apple Pie – A classic.  Be sure to serve it warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Apple-Caramel Tart – An elegant alternative to apple pie.  It’s made with frozen puff pastry, making the preparation quick and easy.

Harvest Strudel – Pears, apples, cranberries, nuts and warming spices make this dessert a nice change from basic pie.

Pear and Pecan Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce – A rich caramel sauce poured over a decadent pear and nut-studded pudding takes this comfort food dish to new levels.

Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Tartlets – Raspberry season is over in most areas, however, this recipe works just as well with frozen berries.

Maple-Caramel Custards with Sea Salt – This rich custard showcases the flavour of maple beautifully.  If you can find some colourful maple leaves that have fallen, they make a fun presentation.

Bon Appétit and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Autumn Has Arrived!

23 09 2010

Brilliant foliage is one of the highlights of fall

It’s finally fall and I couldn’t be happier.  Sure summer is fun, with warm weather, lazy days at the beach and barbecues with friends.  But fall is my favourite season with the brilliant foliage, rich fall fashions, crisp weather and of course, the food.

Many passionate home cooks consider fall the kick off to the ‘cooking season’.  Once the weather cools, we can resume baking, roasting and braising.  The markets are piled high with produce and we crave hearty soups and stews after a vigorous afternoon of leaf raking or a hike in the park.  It’s a time to light the fireplace, prepare a rustic dinner and linger at the table with friends.

For some great ideas for using autumn’s abundance, check out some of my most popular fall recipes:

Spiced Cider

Leek and Ham Tart

Beef, Barley and Mushroom Soup

Mushroom Soup

Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Feta

Braised Short Ribs

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Wrapped with Prosciutto

Stuffed Butternut Squash

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Maple

Savoury Mushroom Bread Pudding

Harvest Strudel

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Apple Caramel Tart

Pumpkin Pie with Walnut Praline

Bon Appétit and Welcome to Fall!





Farmers’ Market Report – August 31st, 2010

31 08 2010

Heirloom tomatoes at the East Lynn Farmer's Market, Toronto

I recently returned from two weeks in Quebec and can see the signs of summer winding down.  The sun is setting earlier, the evenings are cooler and kids are gearing up to go back to school.  However, the farmer’s markets are in full swing – if it grows in Ontario, you can probably get it at our markets right now (with the exception of early spring produce such as asparagus and fiddleheads).  I went to three farmers’ markets over the past week and here are some of the highlights:

Heirloom tomatoes at the market. Don't be fooled by their imperfect looks - they were delicious!

Tomatoes

The king of late summer markets, tomatoes are finally in season.  Last year I lamented how horrible the season was for tomatoes because the weather was cool and wet and there was a fungus that destroyed a lot of crops.  However, all signs point to 2010 being a much better year thanks to hot and dry weather. I’ve been experimenting with heirloom varieties, plum tomatoes and cherry tomatoes and so far I’ve been pretty pleased.  The key to using summer tomatoes is to keep preparation simple.  Why not make a classic BLT (Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato) Sandwich?  When tomatoes are sweet and juicy, it just might be the perfect sandwich. Cook up some good quality bacon, cut some tomatoes into thick slices and add some cool, crunchy lettuce.  A smear of mayo on lightly toasted bread finishes this masterpiece.

For more great tomato ideas, check out the tomato archives: Tomato Recipes.

A classic BLT: Possibly the perfect sandwich

Eggplant

It took me a while to get into eggplant – I used to think it was bitter and mushy. However, now I love them, as long as they’re not too big (the bigger they are, the more watery and prone to bitterness they’ll be).  This week, there were eggplants of every size, from miniature ones not much bigger than my thumb to large ones you would normally see at the supermarket.

Tomatoes + Eggplant = The basis for Pasta alla Norma (see below)

For a fresh idea, why not make a simple Pasta alla Norma?  Last week I made a version with rigatoni, fresh plum tomatoes, fresh ricotta cheese and miniature eggplant rounds.  This recipe from Mario Batali is similar but uses canned tomatoes instead: Pasta a la Norma.

My version of Pasta alla Norma made with fresh plum tomatoes, baby eggplant and creamy ricotta

Corn

Corn was a bit early this year so it’s already starting to taper off. I’ve been enjoying it straight off the cob – boiled and simply dressed with butter, salt and pepper. However, Corn Chowder with Bell Peppers is a great way to use up extra corn (and local peppers, which are also in season right now).  Leftover cooked corn can also be mixed with some fresh thyme, sage or basil and tossed with olive oil, parmesan and pasta for a simple, summery dinner.

Corn on the cob at a vegetable stand

Summer Berries

Local raspberries and blueberries are abundant right now and won’t last long so take advantage of them while you can. Raspberries are delicious in both sweet and savoury recipes so you can create an entire menu built around them.  Start with a hearty main course salad such as Duck Confit Salad with Fresh Raspberries and finish with an impressive dessert like Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Tartlets.

A hearty salad with duck confit and fresh raspberries

Autumn Fruit

Autumn fruit such as plums, pears and apples have started appearing at the market. I’ve been focusing more on ‘summer’ fruit (such as the berries, above) but I did try some delicious plums and a beautifully crisp Cortland apple.  Visit the apple archives for some tasty and impressive ideas: Apple Recipes.

I’m a little saddened that in a matter of weeks this abundance of produce will begin to slow. However, I love fall (and the cooler weather that comes with it) so I’m looking forward to coming up with some great ideas for autumn.  Plus, there is still plenty of summer left so hit the markets and enjoy!

Trish





A Few of My Favourite (Canadian) Things…

2 07 2010

Maple syrup in a maple leaf bottle

A belated Happy Canada Day to all of my Canadian readers!  I must admit that I started to write this yesterday (Canada Day) and got distracted by various holiday celebrations, including a great fireworks display over Lake Ontario.

Canada Day is the one day of the year when we pull out our flags to celebrate our country and all the things that make it great (or just enjoy a day off in the middle of the week).  Canada is easy to stereotype but there’s a lot more going on here than hockey, moose, Celine Dion and beer (although there’s plenty of those too).  The culinary scene in Canada has never been so diverse and interesting and I’m constantly finding inspiration from local chefs, farmers, producers and writers.  Here are a few of my favourite Canadian food-related things:

Canadian Wines

A selection of Ontario wines

People outside of Canada might not even be aware that we have a number of wine producing regions that are growing rapidly. British Columbia and Ontario lead the way with dozens of wineries, ranging from small family-run producers to larger, corporate-owned vineyards.  Canadian icewines have won international awards and we also produce some top-notch whites including riesling (a favourite of mine in the summer).  To learn more about the largest wine regions of Canada, visit www.winebc.com and www.winesofontario.com

Unique Dishes

A take-out container of poutine

Every nation has dishes that are considered specialties of that country.  Because Canada is so spread out and diverse, a number of iconic dishes can be found across the country including poutine (french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy), donairs (spiced meat wrapped in a pita and topped with a sweet garlic sauce), smoked meat, Bloody Caesars, butter tarts, and Nanaimo bars.  A recent Globe and Mail feature asked what we thought our national dish might be: My National Dish (click through the slide show of Contenders at the bottom).  I’d rather not choose one – I like them all!

Great Products

Atlantic lobsters are served in restaurants around the world

Despite a relatively short growing season, Canada has great produce.  During the peak summer months, farmer’s markets are full of locally grown fruits and vegetables that range from the familiar to more exotic fare such as bitter melon and rapini.  We also have some of the world’s best seafood, fished from both the east and west coasts.  Prince Edward Island oysters, B.C. smoked salmon and Atlantic lobster are served at fine restaurants around the world.  Maple syrup is another famous Canadian export that is readily available at any grocery store across the country. Canadian artisan cheese makers are beginning to make their presence felt in the world with a Quebec produced goat cheese, Le Cendrillon, winning the title of Best Cheese in the World at the 2009 World Cheese awards.  Many provinces are now producing interesting and unique cheeses from goat, sheep and cow’s milk.

Another Canadian product I’ve been experimenting with over the past few months is duck. Brome Lake in Quebec’s Eastern Townships is famous for its ducks and many products are now easier to find in stores outside of the province.  I’ve been testing recipes using confit legs, smoked breasts and duck foie gras I’ve purchased at the St. Lawrence Market and A Taste of Quebec in Toronto.  There is even a store dedicated to duck products on Boulevard St-Laurent in Montreal called  Le Canard Libéré.

For some delicious recipes using Canadian products, check out some of these recipes:

Home Grown Talent

Some of Canada’s food personalities have recently gained more recognition abroad with the launch of the Cooking Channel in the United States.  Although their programs have been airing on Food Network Canada for a while, TV chefs such as Chuck Hughes (Chuck’s Day Off), David Rocco (Dolce Vita), Laura Calder (French Food at Home) and Roger Mooking (Everyday Exotic) will gain a much wider audience in the U.S.  Laura Calder also recently won a James Beard Foundation Award for her program, beating out popular nominees The Barefoot Contessa and Iron Chef America.  Other prolific Canadian food personalities include Lucy Waverman, celebrity chef Lynn Crawford, who recently launched a new tv show and a restaurant, and Michael Smith, who competed on Iron Chef America and cooked for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Local Restaurants

The Au Pied de Cochon cookbook

The restaurant scene in Canada has never been so exciting.  Many of the country’s top chefs are championing the use of local products and creating dishes that are uniquely and distinctly Canadian.  Chef Martin Picard of Montreal’s temple of decadence, Au Pied du Cochon, uses local products to fuel his over-the-top cuisine. The menu features such madness as poutine topped with foie gras, cromesquis (fried cubes of foie gras that explode and melt in your mouth) and towers of Canadian seafood in the summer.  The last time I was there, I watched the chefs plate an entire pig’s head that had been cooked in their wood-burning oven.  Toronto’s Black Hoof restaurant is curing their own meats for charcuterie plates while Vancouver’s C Restaurant is featuring the best of local seafood in artistic presentations.  These are just a few examples – there are many other innovative Canadian restaurants from coast to coast who are shaping the culinary direction of our nation.

Diversity

Le Petit Alep, a Syrian/Armenian restaurant in Montreal

One of the great things about living in Canada in general is the great cultural diversity of our people.  In major cities such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, you can sample the cuisines from dozens of nations – the world is your oyster, so to speak. You can have dim sum for lunch, sushi for dinner and Lebanese sandwiches as a midnight snack, if you so choose.  Many restauranteurs are using local ingredients in the preparation of ‘ethnic’ dishes (such as Vij’s in Vancouver), creating local/global hybrid dishes that are unique and interesting. As our population continues to grow, the fusion of various influences will only make eating ‘Canadian’ food more exciting.

Bon Appétit and Happy Canada Day!





Welcome to Summer!

21 06 2010

Summer produce should be hitting its peak within a few weeks.

Today is the first day of summer, which is always exciting.  Kids are almost finished school for the year and the weather is heating up.  Farmer’s markets are underway for the season, although it will likely be a few weeks until they hit their peak (lots of strawberries and asparagus right now though).  It was a busy spring – I had guests visiting, made a couple of trips to Montreal and my husband was stuck in Vancouver on business for a lengthy stretch.  Summer is a time when we can (hopefully!) relax a little and keep cooking and entertaining simple.

I hosted a casual brunch for ten last weekend and chose a menu inspired by what’s in season.  Many of the components can be made in advance and warmed as guests arrive.  I served everything buffet-style, which allowed everyone to take what they wanted and kept things informal and relaxed.  Here is what I served:

Early Summer Brunch Menu

Cherry Almond Bread

Asparagus Quiche

Ham and Cheese Tart (I left out the leeks and added some finely diced onion)

Green Salad with Basic Vinaigrette

A cheese plate, composed of local cheeses and garnished with fresh grapes

Bagels with cream cheese (Chive Cream Cheese topped with smoked salmon is a nice variation)

Sliced Montreal Smoked Meat

Build-Your-Own Strawberry Shortcakes

Mimosas

Coffee

A special thanks to my mom for helping with all of the preparation and cleanup!

I’ll be starting my annual Farmer’s Market Reports later this week so check back for some great recipe ideas for what’s in season.

Bon Appétit!

Trish





Recent Eats…

15 04 2010

As I’ve mentioned before on this site, I don’t really do restaurant reviews.  There are countless other blogs dedicated to critiquing restaurants and detailing meals with photos and write ups.  However, I get a lot of inspiration from trying new places and thought I would share some of my favourite recent discoveries.  

Montreal

XO Le Restaurant – Located in the Hotel St. James in Old Montreal, XO is a mix of old world charm and modern touches and the menu is sophisticated but accessible. Stand-out Dish: Braised Oxtail Risotto.  The rice was perfectly cooked – slightly al dente in the middle with a creamy consistency.  To make your own risotto at home, check out my post on Basic Risotto.

Le Petit Alep – This casual resto near Jean Talon Market is the smaller sister restaurant to Alep next door.  They serve top notch Syrian-Armenian dishes, such as shish taouk and Armenian sausages.  Stand-out Dish: Muhummara, a red pepper -pomegranate-walnut based dip that is delicious and addictive.  You can make a version of it with this recipe from epicurious.com: Muhummara.

Le Petit Alep in Montreal

 

New York City

‘Ino –   A small, casual panini restaurant in New York’s West Village, ‘Ino Cafe and Wine Bar takes the humble sandwich to a whole new level.   The menu offers everything from grilled panini to amazing crostini with inventive toppings such as butternut squash. Stand-out Dish: Truffled Egg Toast. The recipe for it and other ‘Ino dishes are available in their book Simple Italian Sandwiches: Recipes from America’s Favorite Panini Bar but you can also find it on-line here: Truffled Egg Toast.

Simple Italian Sandwiches: Recipes from America's Favorite Panini Bar, by Jennifer and Jason Denton with Kathryn Kellinger

 

Freemans – This funky resto on NYC’s Lower East Side has eclectic decor and a creative cocktail menu.  I was there with a group on Valentine’s Day so our menu options were limited but the choices we had were well prepared.  Stand-Out Dish – Grilled Cheddar Toasts. You can check out my version here: Cheese Toasts.

Locanda Verde – Chef Andrew Carmellini was voted Time Out New York’s 2010 Chef of the Year for his latest venture. Located in TriBeCa’s Greenwich Hotel, the restaurant has gotten a lot of press over the past few months for its rustic and flavourful Italian cooking. Stand-Out Dishes: It’s a tie between the Beet Salad with Blue Cheese and delicate, house made Grandmother’s Ravioli.  For a slightly different version of beet salad, try my recipe for Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Feta. You can also re-create some of Chef Carmellini’s dishes with his best selling cookbook, Urban Italian: Simple Recipes and True Stories from a Life in Food

Urban Italian: Simple Recipes and True Stories From a Life in Food, by Andrew Carmellini and Gwen Hyman

 

Palm Beach / Miami

Palm Beach Grill – This casual resto is part of the Hillstone Group which owns the popular Houston’s chain in the United States.   During peak season, the people watching is always entertaining and the valet parking area is filled with luxury cars. Luckily the food is good too.  Stand-out Dish – the Cheeseburger.  It may seem simple but a hamburger cooked to perfection can be surprisingly hard to find and Palm Beach Grill does it right.

Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink – Michael’s is often mentioned on lists of Miami’s best restaurants and with good reason – the food is fantastic.  I joined my friends Judi and Robin for Sunday brunch, which is served tapas style.  We shared a few dishes, which is a great way to try more of the menu.  Stand-out Dishes: Everything we had was delicious but the highlights were the Burrata with local heirloom tomatoes and Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with blackberry compote.

Brunch and dinner menus from Michael's Genuine Food and Drink in Miami

 

Scarpetta – A Florida outpost of the New York restaurant, Scarpetta is located in the newly refurbished Fontainebleau Hotel. The space is stunning and the people watching can’t be beat.  However, the food lives up to the scene.  A starter of burrata with heirloom tomatoes was fantastic (clearly I love burrata!) and the house made pastas are delicious. Stand-Out Dish: The famous Spaghetti with Tomato-Basil Sauce, a simple but perfectly executed dish that is greater than the sum of its parts. You can make your own version using chef/owner Scott Conant’s recipe: Scarpetta’s Tomato-Basil Spaghetti.

Prime One Twelve – Located on South Beach’s Ocean Drive, Prime One Twelve is definitely a scene.  There’s a good chance you’ll spot some boldface names (we were seated next to NBA star Dwyane Wade and actress Gabrielle Union).  The food is pretty good as well (if on the pricey side).  Stand-Out Dish – Surprisingly, it was the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, which was served with sweet corn relish and tartar sauce.  

Toronto

Lady Marmalade – This eclectic breakfast/lunch spot started in Victoria, B.C. and the owners recently opened a Toronto location in the Leslieville neighbourhood.  There are creative options such as a ‘good morning poutine’ and various mexican-inspired huevos. Nothing is fried so the accompanying potatoes have been oven roasted, making them less greasy than many breakfast joints.    Stand-out Dish: Baked Crepe Croque Monsieur, an oven baked crepe topped with ham, cheddar and a miso-scallion cream.

Weezie’s – This small and cozy bistro is a the perfect place for dinner, whether it’s a romantic evening for two or a gathering of friends.  Chef/owner Constance Guitard’s menu features simple but well prepared dishes including a juicy hamburger, decadent mac ‘n’ cheese and excellent frites. Stand-Out Dish: Frisée Salad with Lardons and Panko Crusted Poached Egg. Frisée salads with lardons (basically a salad topped with bacon and eggs) are a staple in French bistros but Chef Guitard puts a delicious twist on it by coating the poached egg in panko crumbs and frying it, resulting in the perfect blend of textures and flavours.  You can make your own version of the original classic with this recipe from Pastis in NYC: Frisée Lardon with Poached Egg.

Thanks to everyone with whom I’ve enjoyed these fabulous meals over the past few months.  I look forward to many more!

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

Trish





Maple Syrup Season

24 03 2010

 

A sugar shack, where maple syrup is produced

 

Maple syrup is one of the great treats of spring.  The sap in maple trees begins to flow when the temperature climbs above freezing during the day but the nights remain cool.  By March, conditions are ideal and a trip to a sugar shack (known as a cabane à sucre in Quebec) is a great activity for the whole family.  

A stand selling maple products on Ste-Catherine Street in Montreal

 

I remember visiting sugar shacks as a kid and loved the sweet, smoky smell of the boilers cooking down the maple sap, turning it into the golden elixir we pour on our pancakes.  There were always maple treats that went beyond bottle syrup such as maple taffy poured onto the snow, maple butter, maple candies and maple sugar. Many sugar shacks also offer hearty, rustic meals of pancakes, pork and baked beans to showcase their syrup.  Each spring, Martin Picard, chef and owner of the famed Montreal restaurant Au Pied de Cochon, opens a version of a cabane à sucre featuring his unique take on the Quebec maple experience. Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon is located about 45 minutes from Montreal in St-Benoît de Mirabel. However, reservations can be hard to come by (this season is fully booked) so plan ahead if you want to go next year.  I haven’t been to the cabane à sucre yet (hopefully next year!) but if it’s anything like Au Pied de Cochon, you’re in for a treat, especially if you enjoy foie gras.  

Cans of Quebec maple syrup at Jean Talon Market, Montreal

 

If you can’t make it to a sugar shack and want to enjoy maple syrup at home, here are a few delicious ideas:

Spicy Maple-Dijon Glaze – Brush on ham, bacon or a pork roast or use as a dip or spread for sandwiches.

Maple-Caramel Custards with Sea Salt – This rich and creamy custard is the perfect way to end a meal.

Pumpkin French Toast – A breakfast treat with the flavours of pumpkin pie.  Top it off with a healthy drizzle of real maple syrup.

Pancakes – Skip the accompanying blueberry sauce in favour of some maple syrup.

Pumpkin Pie with Maple-Walnut Praline – A classic pie with a delicious and decorative twist.

Baked French Toast – Breakfast is made easy with a dish that is prepped the night before and baked in the morning.  

Maple Nut Oatmeal – Warm up on cold mornings with a sweet and nutty treat.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Maple – Dress up dreaded brussels sprouts with a maple based glaze that brings out the best in this underrated vegetable.

A maple based glaze highlights the sweetness of brussels sprouts

 

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!





A Valentine’s Day Menu

11 02 2010

 

Preparing a juicy roast chicken with crispy skin is a great way to celebrate Valentine's Day

 

This Sunday is Valentine’s Day, a holiday that seems to inspire mixed feelings in people.  Some people feel that it’s just an excuse for card companies, florists and chocolatiers to profit while more romantic folks see it as an opportunity to celebrate their love with a significant other.  Whatever your feelings about Valentine’s Day, I believe that it’s a day you should avoid restaurants if at all possible.  Most places are packed to the rafters and often feature set menus with overwhelmed service. Being rushed to eat mediocre food with bad service is not my idea of romantic!  Why not prepare a nice dinner at home instead?  It doesn’t need to be difficult and a nice home cooked meal is always the way to someone’s heart.  

Here is a suggested menu that is guaranteed to please.  It will yield enough for 4 to 6 people – if you’re making it for two, the leftovers will make a nice meal the next day. The mignonette and tart can be prepared in advance and the chicken can be prepped and refrigerated until ready to roast.

Oysters with Mignonette Sauce

Juicy Herb Roasted Chicken

Mashed Potatoes (cut recipe in half if making dinner for two)

Roasted Green Beans with Shallots

Fresh Crusty Bread

Apple Caramel Tart

Champagne, of course (or an inexpensive sparkling wine such as cava or prosecco)

Bon Appétit and Happy Valentine’s Day!





Thanksgiving Side Dishes

9 10 2009

Holiday turkey

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving.  While it’s pretty much a given that turkey will be on the menu for most people, my favourites are actually the side dishes.  We always have cranberry sauce, potatoes, gravy and dressing (stuffing), but the other dishes can vary.  Perhaps some simple carrots with butter, mashed sweet potatoes or some butternut squash might accompany the bird this year.  Here are some great recipe ideas you can serve with your holiday meal:

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Stuffed Butternut Squash

Corn Scallop

Butternut Squash Gratin

Roasted Green Beans with Shallots

Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Thyme Croutons

Potato – Sage Dressing

Cranberry Sauce

Braised Garlic Swiss Chard

Mushroom Soup

Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Feta

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese and Sherry Vinaigrette

Corn with Red Pepper and Herbs

Celery Root Slaw

Peppery Leek and Potato Soup

And of course, don’t forget dessert!

Pumpkin Pie with Maple-Walnut Praline

Apple Caramel Tart

Harvest Strudel

Pear and Pecan Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Maple-Caramel Custards with Sea Salt

Apple Pie

Bon Appétit and Happy Thanksgiving!





Farmer’s Market Report – September 14th, 2009

14 09 2009
Ontario Grapes

Ontario Grapes

I didn’t post a Farmer’s Market Report last week but I actually visited three or four different ones.  I was on the quest for decent tomatoes, which have been difficult to find this year due to poor weather earlier in the summer.  I did find a few that were okay but sadly, many more that were disappointing.  However, there are were a lot of other great finds as summer draws to a close:

Grapes

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I had never tried Ontario grapes (except in wine, of course, but grapes used in wine production are different from edible grapes). It seems I’ve been missing out!  I bought some seedless Coronation grapes last week and they were fantastic.  They tasted like grape juice but with a bit of a sour finish.  It was almost like eating sweet and sour grape candies.  They were so good that I went back and bought more.  Highly recommended as a snack or as part of a cheese plate.

Corn, Peaches and Peppers

Corn and peaches are still going strong.  The peaches this year are quite good and I’ve been enjoying them in desserts and out of hand.  I have a few that are getting soft so I may puree them into juice so I can enjoy some Peach Sangria on a late summer afternoon.  All of the corn I’ve had this year has been good and I’ve enjoyed it both on the cob and in salads.  There were lots of red bell peppers and shepherd peppers available, perfect for making Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Thyme Croutons.

Fall Produce

Despite the fact that fall is my favourite season, I’m a bit saddened this year to see typical autumn vegetables at the market such as squash, Brussel sprouts, apples, pears and leeks.  Summer seemed to pass quickly this year and I’m not ready for fall quite yet! Luckily, the weather in Southern Ontario is the best it’s been all year so hopefully that will allow us to enjoy what’s left of the season for a little while longer. As soon as the days turn cool, my thoughts will turn to braising, roasting and hearty fall dishes such as Leek and Ham Tart, Braised Short Ribs and Apple Caramel Tart.

There’s no need to lament the end of summer just yet – there is still a week left in ‘official’ summer and hopefully the good weather will extend the season even longer.

Until next week…

Trish