Sunday, August 30, 2009

Please don't go, don't goooooooo!

Jozie - always wanting to help in the kitchen.

Beautiful. A beautiful day - full of cooking some of my summer favourites. I have been  holding off these dishes for some reason - but today I wanted to ensure that we were treated to them - and so I could try and take some lovely pictures.

Before I get into those - I just packed up the deck for the week - putting all the cushions away, putting all the lanterns under cover, making sure that everything is watered... I said to Chris, in the process 'Good bye weekend, good bye summer'. We're nearing the end of a lovely summer - I am starting to miss it already. But then I am gently reminded that Autumn or Fall will shortly follow. Fall is my favourite season - fall brings red and yellow leaves, pumpkins, gourds, pots of soup, heavy sweaters, long walks in the crisp and cold... I can go on and on. 

But here we are - still in summer. I started my day with a fast paced dog walk - the dogs were well behaved and Miss Joz almost kept up the entire time. Then off to my favourite - Root Cellar, where I stocked up on a bunch of fresh veggies and fruit for the week. I bought beautiful peppers, an eggplant, strawberry tomatoes, fresh brie cheese, lemons, Okanagan peaches, and a lot more goodies. 

Tonight's dinner included two dishes that I have been cooking each summer for the last 3-4 years. I am happy to share them with you and hope that you give them a try. They are easy and full of flavour.
My rosemary bush - I have plenty if you are needing some.

Rosemary vegetable stacks
1 medium sized eggplant - sliced into 1 inch rounds
1 medium sized zucchini - sliced on into 1 inch rounds on the diaganol
1 red, orange, yellow and green pepper - sliced in half
6 - 1/2 inch slices of soft mozzarella cheese
6 sprigs of rosemary

Heat the barbeque and place all of the vegetables on the grill - give them a tiny spritz of olive oil and grill until the eggplant and zucchini are cooked - but ensure that they are still slightly firm. After everything is off the grill, cut the peppers in half again or 3's depending on how large they are. With the eggplant at the bottom, start layering the vegetables. I usually do eggplant, pepper, zucchini and then a couple more peppers. Top each with a piece of mozzarella. Remove the rosemary leaves about half way down the sprig - or however high your stack is. Use the sprig like a skewer and poke it through the vegetables. Return it to the grill and let the cheese melt. 

The medley of vegetables and the rich cheese is delightful. You can make these in advance and just before you are ready to eat, return them to the grill or oven so that the cheese melts and makes everything all gooey and grand. 
We had pork chops tonight with homemade barbeque sauce. It turned out quite well. I usually just put everything in a bowl, but this time I wrote it down so that I don't forget. This is an easy sauce, nothing fancy - nothing like Beth's - which I still have to try. Check it out HERE

Sims Style BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup of ketchup
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp of worcestershire sauce 
1 large clove of garlic minced
1 tsp of cumin
1 tsp of smoked paprika
2 tbsp of brown sugar

Mix all of the ingredients together. Ideally make this in advance so that the all of the flavours can meld before coating the meat.

For dessert we were decadent. One of my favourite summer desserts (along with my new discovery of the baked fruit - check it out here) -  I don't remember how the recipe came about - I am thankful for sweet Okanagan peaches.

Grilled peaches with toasted coconut
(this recipe is enough for 2- people)

2 large ripened peaches
1/2 tsp of honey per peach
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup of whipping cream
1/3 cup of mascarpone cheese (oh ya - YUM!)
Zest of half a lemon

Slice the peach in half and gently remove the pit. Add the 1/2 tsp of honey to each peach and gently spread it over the cut side of the peach. Place the peach skin side down and grill for about 10 minutes - on medium to low heat. After 10 minutes,  you can flip them and grill them cut side down. At the same time, add your coconut to a metal pan that can be placed on the grill. While you are cooking the coconut - toss it regularly to ensure that the coconut doesn't stick and burn. 

While your peaches are grilling, whip up your whipping cream adding your lemon zest. When the cream is whipped, add your mascarpone cheese and continue to beat the cream until it thickens. This should be done very quickly. The cream becomes relatively thick and has such a creamy texture - it's delightful.

When everything is ready - simply put your peaches on a plate, top with the cream and sprinkle the coconut. So simple and fresh.

Alright, the weekend is done - oh my how I wish that they would go on and on. Summer is coming to a halt, let's hope that it leaves us gradually.

I wish you all a full week - and that we don't have anything thrown at us that we can't handle. 

Bring it.


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