Seasonal fresh produce spells summertime flavour

Staying out on the water until the sun goes down, strolling along the shore and feeling the splash on your feet, or simply watching the stars on a warm summer night. This is the season to kick back, relax and enjoy what a Canadian summer has to offer.

The intoxicating aroma of purple petunias, sweet peas and evening stocks in full bloom are my reward for planting in the spring. Outdoor gatherings around a campfire or new comfortable patio furniture allow for catch-up conversation with family and friends, filled with laughter, chatter, sharing and good summer music to top off the summer mood.

The summer experience is not complete without great food. Delicious grilled or roasted protein, teamed with seasonal fresh produce provide flavours to get your taste buds into the summer spirit as well.

As always, fresh-cut watermelon, garden peas, an offering of fresh vine-ripened berries, peaches and sweet cherries are a staple.

These ingredients make our plates works of beautiful art. Enjoy the fresh tastes of summer.

Peach bars

  1. Baked fresh peaches are one of my favourite ingredients in summer sweets.
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour 750 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar, divided 375 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • dash ground cinnamon
  • dash ground nutmeg
  • 1 c. butter 250 mL
  • 1 large egg 1
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 5 mL
  • 9 medium peaches, peeled and chopped 9
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 5 mL
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch 20 mL
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Combine the flour, one cup of sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; cut in butter until crumbly.
  2. In another bowl, whisk egg and vanilla until blended; add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork until crumbly.
  3. Reserve 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) crumb mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture onto bottom of a greased 13×9 inch (22 X 33 cm) baking pan.
  4. Toss peaches with vanilla extract.
  5. In another bowl, mix cornstarch and remaining sugar; add to peaches and toss to coat. Spread over crust; sprinkle with reserved topping.
  6. Bake until lightly browned and filling is bubbly, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 20 to 24 bars.

Watermelon salad

  1. Perfect on a summer day, it is sure to send those who try it back for seconds. On a hot day, serve with cold meat or a grilled option of your choice.
  • 8 c. loosely packed torn head lettuce 2 L
  • 2 c. seedless watermelon chunks (1 inch) 500 mL
  • 1 c. quartered cucumber slices 250 mL
  • 1 small red onion, sliced and separated into rings 1
  • 1/2 c. poppy seed dressing of your choice, (I prefer Kraft Creamy Poppyseed) 125 mL
  1. Combine first four ingredients in large mixing/serving bowl.
  2. Add dressing; toss to coat.
  3. Note: You can substitute some of the head lettuce for a different type such as romaine. Serves six to eight.
  4. Source: adapted from

Fresh saskatoon crumb muffins

  1. It is berry-picking time. Saskatoon berries make the best pie, and you will never taste anything better than saskatoon pie paired with creamy vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of sugar on top.
  2. At times though, I like them in a muffin to be enjoyed on the go or in packed lunches or picnics.
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 375 mL
  • 3/4 c. sugar 175 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 2 tsp. baking powder 10 mL
  • 1/3 c. oil 70 mL
  • 1 egg 1
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL
  • 1 c. fresh saskatoons or blueberries (you can add more if desired) 250 mL
  • Topping:
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. flour 60 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon 1 mL
  • 2 tbsp. butter 0 mL
  1. Directions:
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C), and prepare muffin pans. Add flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl. In a one-cup liquid measuring cup, measure out the oil, then add the egg to the oil and stir. Top with enough milk to fill the cup, stir again. Mix into flour mixture until well blended, don’t over mix. Gently fold in berries and vanilla.
  3. The batter will be quite thick.
  4. Fill each muffin tin to the top.
  5. In another mixing bowl, add all the ingredients for the topping. Sprinkle on top of each muffin. Bake for 20 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
  6. Source: adapted from

Bundt pan roast chicken

This is an interesting use of a bundt pan. Roasting in this way allows for the chicken juices to flavour the fresh-roasted garden vegetables. Not much seasoning is needed. Use the watermelon salad above as a side dish or serve fresh-picked garden peas in the pod.

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled 3
  • 3 large carrots, chopped 3
  • 1 onion, quartered 1
  • 4 large potatoes, red or Yukon Gold, quartered 4
  • extra-virgin olive oil or oil of your choice
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • seasoning salt
  • 1/2 c. fresh chopped parsley 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. fresh chopped dill greens 125 mL
  • 2 lb. whole thawed chicken .91 kg
  • 1 lemon, sliced into quarters 1
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C) and cover the hole of the Bundt pan with foil.
  2. In the bowl of a large Bundt pan, combine garlic, carrots, onion, and potatoes. Toss with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and seasoning salt.
  3. Sprinkle fresh chopped dill greens and/or fresh parsley over the vegetables.
  4. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Season the inside of the cavity generously with salt and pepper, then stuff it with the lemon quarters. Rub olive oil (some like butter) all over the skin of the chicken, then season to personal taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Place the chicken in the middle of the Bundt pan, breast side up (it will look like it is standing with the neck side up).
  6. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and skin is golden, about one hour and 15 minutes.
  7. Check doneness with a meat thermometer.
  8. Let chicken rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with roasted vegetables and extra pan juices. Serves six.
  9. Note: You could substitute some of the carrots for fresh parsnip if desired.
  10. Source:


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