From June 2011

Now that we’re officially into summer, we can start shopping for some great local, seasonal summer tastes.  Which means…

No more asparagus!

Don’t get me wrong.  Asparagus is a fine vegetable.   Nutritious.  Delicious.  And that whole, you know, odor when you, uh…  pee?  Well, that doesn’t even gross me out (though, as a food writer, I’m constantly surprised how many people comment on it).

But after several weeks of having asparagus as a go-to veggie, I have to say, I’m excited to enter pea season.

Er…

Did that come out wrong?

What I mean is that I’m excited about early summer pea, greens, scape, and berry season.  I’m excited about the variety of foods available.

You can look forward to some of this variety tomorrow at the Wednesday Downtown Farmers’ Market.

Market Coordinator, Jillian Bishop has just emailed me my personal weekly Market report and it looks great!  Peas, garlic scapes, greens of many varieties (on the weekend I got my first romaine lettuce), spinach, radishes, green onions…  and more!

In the very near future, you can even look forward to new potatoes, baby carrots and beets!

Speaking of beets?  Have you ever tried beet greens?  Delicious.

But that is for another blog…

The big attraction this week will continue to be strawberries.  And McLean’s Berry Farm will be on hand to offer up those a ‘plenty.

Speaking of McLean’s, I’m just putting the finishing touches on my next Peterborough This Week Farm to Table column, all about how McLean’s became the Berry Barons of the ‘borough (no, they don’t call themselves that).  Look for the column in the next week or so in the print edition.

And while we are on the topic of strawberries, a bonus strawberry recipe!

This strawberry compote is dead simple, but deadly delicious.  It is perfect on ice cream, over a simple flan cake with whipped cream, or drizzled over pancakes and French toast.  Heck, you can just slather some on bread if you really want.

A little secret here:  I eat it straight from the pot when Krista’s not looking.  It’s that good.

Simple Strawberry Compote

Ingredients:

1 quart of strawberries

¼ cup of sugar (or to taste)*

Procedure:

1.     Wash and hull (remove stems) the berries.

2.     Toss with sugar and let rest for 10 minutes.

3.     Sauté over medium heat for about 10 minutes – you should have firm chunks with some syrup.

*I use somewhat less sugar, allowing the berries to shine.  You may end up with slightly less syrup, however.

You can also add a couple ounces of Grand Marnier for a “grown-up” version of this recipe.  Particularly if you are using it for desserts.

Garlic Scape Pesto Challenge with Farm to Table and the Gaelic Garlic

An excerpt from my blog at MyKawartha.com .

You can read the blog in its entirety at http://www.mykawartha.com/blog/post/1034157–garlic-scape-pesto

I recently promised to get more garlic scape recipes out to you.

So, today, you get two.

Actually, they’re two versions of a single recipe: Garlic Scape Pesto.  I’m offering up two because, well, one is an old favourite and the other is becoming a new one.

The first recipe is one that I’ve used for a few years – since before scapes became trendy, really.  When I first started serving this pesto, people were always curious.  “What the heck is a garlic scape?” they’d ask while wolfing down mounds of pesto-drenched cheesy pasta.

Not many people ask me that question anymore.  In fact, nowadays, you have to fight off friends and neighbours to ensure you get your own bunches of scapes at market.

The second recipe is from the fine folks at the Gaelic Garlic.  It’s a recipe that they are awfully proud of.  Because they speak so highly of it, I decided to put it up against my own recipe in a quick taste test.  I’ll give the results of the findings after the recipes.

You can read the blog in its entirety at:
http://www.mykawartha.com/blog/post/1034157–garlic-scape-pesto

BBQ the Perfect Burger

Over at my MyKawartha blog, I offer tips on the perfect BBQ burger.  Click here for the rest of the blog and the recipe.

An excerpt:

“Sure, there is a time and a place for exotic/gourmet burgers (ask me about my Jamaican Death Jerk Burgers, my Mediterranean Lamb burgers, my Bombay Curry Goat Burgers, or my Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayo), but during prime BBQ season, I believe in allowing the local ingredients to shine.  This will be particularly true in a little while, when tomatoes come into season.

How simple should you keep it?  Three ingredient simple.  And two of those are salt and pepper.

A quick note about beef: Use quality, fresh product.  If it comes on a styofoam packing tray, it is not quality, fresh product.  You can use frozen, if you are buying quality, but fresh is better.  I cook burgers to medium rare (as should you), but would cook to well done if I didn’t know where my meat was coming from.”