Summer Zucchini Latkes

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I had a craving for latkes and since it is July I thought what better way to use our beautiful fresh summer zucchini. These delicious fritters are easy to prepare and make awesome appetizers. Using my handy small cookie scoop, I dolloped perfect appetizer size portions into my skillet. These were delicious as is, but topped with rich sour cream (yes that delicious Gay Lea Gold Premium sour cream I used last week for Cucumber Salad!) and chives made these even better and absolutely divine. These are a must make during zucchini season!

Recipe will yield you approximately 20-24 latkes/fritters using a small (2 tsp capacity) cookie scoop.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large zucchini
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, whisked
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic (1 clove)
  • 1/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • Canola oil or light olive oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Using a box grater or the grating attachment on a food processor grate zucchini and onion.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and combine. Let sit for 10 minutes, then transfer mixture to a large sieve and press out excess liquid. Place back into bowl.

zuc_drain3. Add egg, Parmesan and pepper to zucchini  and combine to coat.

4. Add baking powder and flour and stir to combine until you have an even mixture.

zuc_process5. Heat a large skillet with 2 tbsp of oil to medium high heat.

6. Using a small cookie scoop (or spoon) drop zucchini latke mixture into pan and cook on each side until golden (approx 2-3 minutes per side). Press down slightly on first flip to make an even “pancake” shape. This will make it thin and crispy and cooked evenly.

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7. Remove cooked latkes to a paper towel lined cookie sheet to drain excess oil.

8. Serve immediately with topped with sour cream and chives.

Note: You can also keep warm in a toaster oven or oven until ready to serve. These reheat beautifully so you can also make ahead, store in fridge, and then crisp up in oven/toaster oven. Good luck though because once you try one fresh off the skillet it is hard to stop!

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Blackberry Mojito

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My husband makes the most delicious Mojitos and we have fun creating different combinations together. Every year I always make sure to plant a nice big pot of mojito mint so we can enjoy fresh mojitos all summer long. Two years ago I posted his delicious Raspberry Mojito, and this year he has a new creation with blackberries. Not only is this delicious but the colour is absolutely beautiful. Cheers!

Ingredients:

  • 6 mints leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 6 blackberries, plus 1 for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 shot of Rose’s Lime Cordial
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 shot of vodka
  • Club soda (roughly 1/2 can)
  • lime wedge

Directions:

  1. Place mint, blackberries, sugar, and lime cordial in a rocks glass (Old Fashioned Glass/ “short tumbler”).
  2. Muddle ingredients with a muddler (if you have one) or a utensil you have around that looks like a muddler!
  3. Add the 4 ice cubes to the glass, and pour in the shot of vodka.
  4. Top up the glass with club soda.
  5. Garnish with one more blackberry, a wedge of lime and a short straw.

Grandma’s Cucumber Salad

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This summertime salad is one that brings back childhood memories for me. This delicious crisp, cool and creamy eastern european cucumber salad was made by my grandma annually every summer to be eaten as an appetizer before your main dish, or to be served as a cool side dish.

Made by slicing english cucumber thin, then salting and draining, and finally seasoning with a sweet and sour combo of sugar, vinegar and sour cream, this dish is summertime in a bite to me.

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To make this salad extra special and creamy this #GayLeaMom used Gay Lea’s Gold Premium Sour Cream which is rich, silky and decadent. Available in a 425ml size it is nut-free and certified Kosher. Sorry everyone but it is only available in Ontario! Gay Lea’s Sour Cream also comes in Regular, Low Fat, Fat Free and Lactose Free – all of which can be used in this recipe in lieu of the Gold Premium.

My recipe serves 4 as a side dish, increase quantities as needed for more.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large English Cucumber, ends trimmed and peeled
  • 3/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1  1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Gay Lea Gold Premium Sour Cream

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Directions:

  1. Thinly slice cucumbers using a mandoline or a sharp knife.
  2. Place cucumber in a sieve, sprinkle with salt, stir to combine, and let sit for 15 minutes to drain.
  3. Remove cucumbers from sieve and onto a clean dish cloth. Gently squeeze cucumbers to remove excess liquid. Place cucumbers into a bowl.
  4. Add sugar, vinegar, and sour cream to cumbers and combine gently. Serve immediately or store in fridge until ready to serve.

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This month there is Reader Giveaway! You have a chance to win one Gay Lea “BBQ Kit” that also includes a one year supply of Gay Lea product coupons! The contest runs from July 1-July 31st, 2015.

Link here to the Reader Giveawaya Rafflecopter giveaway

The reader giveaway has the following rules:

  • Readers may enter across many blogs, they may only win from one participating blog
  • Entrants must be a resident of Canada, excluding Quebec
  • The winner can expect their prize in approximately 4-6 weeks!

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Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

My Favourite Summer Suppers

Hi everyone! I hope you all have had a great start to summer and very happy Canada Day and Independence Day celebrations over the past week. It has been a little busy here at home with me. My oldest daughter had her tonsils out just under two weeks ago and we have been helping her recover and feel better. With that I was banned from creating or baking anything too yummy so she wouldn’t be left out! She is a key contributor and taste tester so I promised I wouldn’t create without her. Instead, over the past couple weeks I have been depending on some of my go-to summer favourites for family meals (and let’s be honest – some take-out too!).

So to help you with some of your summer meal-planning here are ten of my favourite go-to summer suppers:

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Summer Spaghetti – year after year, this is one is delicious and a family favourite.

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Andrew’s BBQ Pork Chops – Dad’s go-to, we just love this recipe with an nice salad and garlic bread.

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Quinoa Penne Toss – Perfect for Meatless Monday’s

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Fast, Fun, Pita Pocket Wraps – Love this recipe, and super using leftovers from the grill

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Melon & Prosciutto Salad – One of the first recipes I posted on the blog and still love it

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Fiesta Burger – a new favourite burger recipe that you are sure to love!

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Sticky Barbecue Ribs – this is our go-to no-fail rib recipe

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Steak Salad – A dinner for two favourite for my husband and I

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Bacon, Onion, Asparagus & Pea Macaroni Toss – This recipe is light and delicious – great for picnics as well

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Lemon, Basil, Ginger, Garlic Grilled Shrimp – My fave shrimp on the barbie recipe!

 

Canada Day Strawberry-Vanilla Frozen Cocktail

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Here is a great Canada Day Cocktail recipe featuring two of my favourite Torani products that is sure to be the star of your Canada Day celebrations. The delicious combination of strawberry and vanilla makes this frozen cocktail a delicious hot summer’s day treat!

Ingredients:

  • 2 shots Canadian Vodka (omit if you would like a virgin cocktail)
  • 2 squirts Torani Vanilla Bean syrup (approximately 1 tbsp total)
  • 2 shots (1.5 oz size shot) of Torani Strawberry Purée Blend (approximately 6 tbsp total)
  • 2 cups of crushed ice
  • 4 shots of club soda
  • Strawberries for garnish

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender, and combine until smooth.
  2. Serve in two margarita glasses with a strawberry and Canadian flag!
  3. Recipe serves 2 in margarita glasses, increase quantities for more drink servings.

Fiesta Burger

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I am really excited to share this delicious burger recipe featuring VG Meats ground beef! I was lucky enough to be part of VG Meats #50BurgerDays and in round one my Fiesta Burger was the winner and will be off to the semifinals! So to celebrate I wanted to share this great burger recipe with you. Packed with your favourite “taco” flavours and seasonings this burger is a fiesta in your mouth! It is perfect for your summer bbq’s, including upcoming Canada Day celebrations.
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Ingredients:
  • 400g VG Meats Ground Beef (Lean or Extra Lean – whichever is your preference)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced yellow pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely diced orange pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • For the Fiesta Burger spice blend: 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt, 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp ground cumin, 1/8 tsp paprika, and a pinch of ground cayenne
  • 1 tsp Tabasco Sauce

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Directions:
  1. Saute peppers and onions in a small saute pan on medium heat in 1 tsp oil for 5 minutes, until softened. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  2. Place ground beef in a large bowl.
  3. Stir Fiesta spice blend together, and pour over beef.
  4. Add cooled cooked peppers and onions and Tabasco to beef mixture.
  5. Combine ingredients with your hands until everything is incorporated.
  6. Form into 4 equal patties (100g-120g each) and chill until ready to cook . . . (You can freeze them also at this point!).
  7. Grill burgers on bbq or stovetop to desired doneness.
  8. Serve on your favourite bun, topped with spicy cheese, salsa, tomato, lettuce and guacamole.
Suggested Toppings/Sauces:
  • Some great Canadian or local cheese with a kick! I found Bothwell Red Hot Chili Pepper Jack at my local Longo’s which also stocks VG Meats
  • Neal Brothers Salsa (also found at VG Meats and Longo’s)
  • Fresh Tomato and Lettuce
  • Homemade or store bought guacamole

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Individual Red Berry Pavlovas

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This month’s #GayLeaMom feature recipe is a beautiful classic meringue dessert topped with delicious Gay Lea Light Whipped Cream and fresh red berries! A perfect dessert for summer gatherings including Canada Day!

Pavlova is a meringue based dessert topped with cream and fruit, and I thought would be a great pairing with Gay Lea‘s delicious whipped cream, along with fresh summer berries. Also, I wanted to test out a new red and white dessert that would be great to serve on Canada Day, and this creation will not disappoint!

Gay Lea’s Real Whipped Cream (Regular and Light) is made with real cream, is nut-free and is Kosher and Halal certified. Gay Lea’s Real Coconut Whipped Cream (which would also be delicious in this recipe!) is made with real coconut cream and is non-dairy, lactose and gluten-free. Any of Gay Lea’s three delicious whipped cream products works perfectly for pavlova!

This was the first time I had tried to make pavlova and the results were great, with prep and baking easy.  Even better is that you can prepare the meringues in advance and have them ready to go or transport easily to a summer get-together. I love desserts that look impressive but were a breeze to prepare and this recipe is one of those gems you need to add to your repertoire!

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Recipe makes 4 individual pavlovas, double for 8, etc.

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites with the pinch of cream of tartar until they hold soft peaks.
  3. Slowly add the sugar a little bit at a time, and beat on high until the meringue holds stiff and shiny peaks.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  5. Remove the bowl of the mixer and fold in the vinegar and cornstarch.
  6. Using a large cookie/ice cream scoop, scoop out the meringe into 4 equal portions on the parchment lined baking sheet.
  7. Using a small offset spatula round each portion out into a 4 inch circle.
  8. Bake for 60 minutes, or until the outside is dry.
  9. Shut off the oven, open the door slightly (I used my roll of parchment paper to help me with this to keep the door ajar!), and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven. This should take an hour. Note that it is ok if the meringues crack slightly – don’t worry you will be covering them in whipped cream and fruit!
  10. Once the meringues are cool remove from oven and transfer to an airtight container until you are ready to use.
  11. To make the individual pavlovas, transfer a meringue to a nice plate. Top with a generous layer of whipped cream and then with your choice of berries. Serve immediately.

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Be sure to check out the Gay Lea Nordi-Cow Facebook Contest! Nordi-Cows is an interactive game on Gay Lea’s Facebook page.

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To participate, visit the Gay Lea Facebook page to pick your favourite cow, and milk her twice a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. The more you milk your cow, the more chances there are to win great weekly prizes. The contest runs from the end May through June.

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Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.