We’re at the peak of summer’s bounty of produce with a wide range of locally-grown fruits and vegetables available to inspire us to put fresh, local, healthy meals on the table.
A quick tour of the local farmers’ market is enough to make a food lover swoon, with the variety of fresh foods, from corn and melons to tomatoes and greens, berries and cherries to the first summer apples and peaches.
It’s been hot the past six weeks or so, which melons, peppers, tomatoes and lots of other produce love, so many of them are early this year and sweet as can be.
It’s a grand time of year to enjoy eating healthy, with all the makings for various salads fresh and full of flavour, and lots of fruit and vegetables calling out to be eaten for every meal of the day.
Harvest continues in the valley through September and this year you’ll be able to harvest more than just fresh produce. The first Okanagan Food, Wine and Film Festival is set for Sept. 13 to 15 at the Rotary Centre’s Mary Irwin Theatre, where you’ll be able to taste the food and wine from each film at the event.
Over the weekend, there’ll be a series of award-winning food and wine documentaries, beginning with the master sommelier exam film SOMM, with an introduction by Ingo Grady, director of wine education at Mission Hill Family Estate.
Other features include Betting the Farm, A Matter of Taste, The Restaurateur and Pressure Cooker, which will be introduced by Chef Geoffrey Couper, culinary arts instructor at Okanagan College.
For details, go to: www.okfoodwinefest.com
Tickets are available exclusively through the film festival office at: Christina@okfoodwinefilmfest.com
For more recipes using fresh, local ingredients, in season, pick up a copy of my book, Jude’s Kitchen at bookstores or wine boutiques.
Den’s Seafood Salad
Crisp and fresh, lean and light, this salad is perfect for hot summer days and it’s very flexible. Make it as a dressed salad over big salad leaves, or a mix of greens or lettuce; or wrap it up in a lettuce leaf or a tortilla for a fist food dinner. Pair this with the fruit-forward Intrigue Wines 2012 Riesling with its delightfully luscious flavours, and well-balanced acidity.
2 green onions
1 stalk of celery
2 tbsp. (30 ml) fresh parsley
1 tbsp. (15 ml) mayonnaise
1 tbsp. (15 ml) cream cheese
1/2 tsp. (2 ml) lemon juice
sea salt and fresh-ground pepper, to taste
1/4 lb. (120 g) crab or shrimp
2 tbsp. (30 ml) fresh raw peas
Mince green onions, celery and parsley.
Combine mayonnaise, cream cheese, lemon juice and parsley until well-mixed in a medium-sized bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Mix in the green onions, celery and parsley and then gently fold in the crab meat, shrimp or other seafood and most of the peas.
Garnish with a few of the fresh, raw green peas or some parsley.
Ham, Spinach & Spud Casserole
This is very tasty and can very easily be varied according to what’s available and what your family likes. It’s a meal in one dish so very convenient. You could add grated carrot and other vegetables if you like.
1/2 lb. (227 g) ham
1 large russet potato
2 c. (500 ml) spinach
1 c. (250 ml) cheese
1 tbsp. (15 ml) butter
1 tbsp. (15 ml) flour
pinch of paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 c. (125 ml) milk
dash of Worcestershire sauce
Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
Chop ham into half-inch dice; thinly slice onion, scrubbed potatoes and fresh spinach; and grate cheddar or other cheese of your choice.
Lightly spray a casserole dish with oil and arrange one-third of the potato slices on the bottom of the dish, followed by half the onions, half the spinach and a third of the cheese.
Sprinkle half of the bits of the butter over it, then half the flour and a little paprika, salt anpepper.
Repeat with another third of the potato slices, the remainder of the onions, half the remaining cheese and the rest of the spinach.
Finish off the bits of butter and the flour and a little more paprika, salt and pepper.
Top with the remaining potato slices and top with the rest of the cheese.
Combine the milk and Worcestershire sauce and pour over the top.
Bake, covered, for about 30 minutes, then remove the lid and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 or 25 minutes longer.