Jude's Kitchen: for Canada's birthday
Even though the official start to summer is the summer solstice in June, the real beginning is the Canada Day long weekend, isn’t it?
That’s when school is out and thousands of students and teachers are suddenly free of daily obligations for two months.
It’s when the June rains usually end and sunnier weather begins in the Okanagan.
Extra-curricular activities such as sports leagues and clubs often suspend operations for a couple of months, leaving more free time to be, well, free.
And, it’s when prime vacation time begins.
So, with a deep sigh for the beginning of a more relaxing few weeks, sit back and enjoy some of the lighter fare of summer: salads and buns; chilled soups and crackers; bits of barbecued meat and fish, with grilled veggies on the side.
With this cool start to summer, we still have lots of yummy salad greens in the garden and at the farmers’ markets and soon there’ll be peas, baby carrots and other veggies ready to enjoy.
Then we’ll see the first local cherries and soon after that, there’ll be a flood of local tree fruits and berries to excite your palate.
For more than 200 recipes for local food, in season, pick up a copy of my book, Jude’s Kitchen, which is organized by the season and full of ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner; snacks, main courses and desserts.
It’s available wherever books are sold, including a number of local wineries and VQA wine shops.
It includes wine pairings for many of the dishes by renowned wine writer John Schreiner as margin notes throughout the book.
With the lovely fresh salads that are seasonal now, including this light shrimp one, you should try a pairing with Mission Hill Family Estate’s 2011 Sauvignon Blanc with its fresh, crisp acidity, which is lovely with the delicate shrimp. It’s unoaked, so the herbaceous flavours shine through, providing a perfect match with the different greens and the avocado in this salad.
Chive & Parmesan Cornmeal Muffins
This are a nice, crunchy savoury muffin with a soft interior that would be great with soups or salads or a cheese platter.
1 c. (250 ml) flour
1 c. (250 ml) whole wheat flour
1/4 c. (60 ml) brown sugar
5 tsp. (25 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp. (3 ml) salt
2 tbsp. (30 ml)minced chives
3 tbsp. (45 ml) grated parmesan
1 2/3 c. (400 ml) buttermilk
1/3 c. (75 ml) olive oil
2 beaten eggs
1 c. (250 ml) cornmeal
freshly-grated reggiano parmigiano, to garnish
Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
Spray 12 muffin cups lightly with oil.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, chives and parmesan cheese in a large mixing bowl.
In a small bowl beat buttermilk, oil, eggs and cornmeal.
Briefly, combine the wet and dry ingredients and divide amongst the muffin cups.
Sprinkle a bit of freshly-grated parmesan cheese on top of each and bake for about 20 minutes.
Remove from muffin cups and serve hot.
Makes 12 muffins.
Shrimp & Avocado Salad with Dilly-lemon Dressing
For a salad, it’s worth paying a little extra to get the fresh, hand-peeled shrimp I think, and I like the sweeter flavour of Meyer lemons, but they’re not available everywhere. There’s lots of fresh dill available everywhere now and it’s a great match with seafood. With this year’s cool, wet spring, there are also some wonderful fresh greens available for great salads.
For an extra bit of crunch you could add a handful of fresh bean sprouts or lightly-toasted pine nuts to this.
4 c. (1 l) fresh salad greens
1/2 lb. (227 g) shrimp
1 tbsp. (15 ml) Meyer lemon juice
1 tsp. (5 ml) raspberry balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil
1 tbsp. (15 ml) fresh dill
sea salt and freshly-ground pepper
Rinse a mixture of fresh greens such as a variety of lettuces, spinach, cress, arugula, rocket or whatever is available and strikes your fancy, dry them well and tear into a salad bowl.
Rinse fresh shrimp and remove any bits of shell, and set aside.
Prepare the dressing by squeezing a fresh lemon into a cruet or small jug and whisking in a bit of raspberry balsamic vinegar (available at Crescendo in Mission Park), olive oil and minced fresh dill. Add sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste.